U-God performing in Paris in May 2013
|Birth name||Lamont Jody Hawkins|
|Also known as||Golden Arms, Universal-God|
October 11, 1970|
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Origin||Staten Island, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Years active||1991 - present|
|Associated acts||Wu-Tang Clan, Wu-Tang Killa Beez|
Lamont Jody Hawkins (born October 11, 1970), better known as U-God (short for Universal God), is an American rapper and member of the hip hop collective Wu-Tang Clan. He has been with the group since its inception, and is known for having a deep, rhythmic flow that can alternate between being gruff or smooth.
Hawkins was born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York. However he moved to Staten Island as a youth. He was originally a beatboxer for Cappadonna, and was friends with future members Method Man, Inspectah Deck and childhood friend of Raekwon. Sometime before the members united, U-God was mentored in rap by Cappadonna. He soon became friends with RZA and Ghostface Killah, and he began rhyming under the alias Golden Arms, based on the Kung-Fu movie Kid with the Golden Arm. Later on he changed his name to U-God (which is short for his Five-Percent Nation righteous name "Universal God Allah").
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) / Wu-Tang Forever
U-God was convicted of criminal possession of controlled substance on April 17, 1992 and was paroled on January 1993. His incarceration prevented him from featuring heavily on the group's debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), his input the seminal LP consisting of only a short bridge on the group's debut single "Protect Ya Neck" as well as the now-famous opening verse of "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'". Nevertheless, after his release he quickly became known to fans for his rugged flow and bass-like voice on Wu tracks such as "Winter Warz", "Knuckleheadz", "Investigative Reports", and "Black Jesus". He was featured heavily on the group's second album Wu-Tang Forever, on which he was one of only four of the group to get a solo track - "Black Shampoo" (the others being Inspectah Deck with "The City", RZA with "Sunshower" and Ol' Dirty Bastard with "Dog Shit"). Around this time his young son was accidentally shot and injured, an ordeal the rapper documented on the Wu-Tang Clan track A Better Tomorrow.
Golden Arms Redemption
U-God was the eighth member of the group to record a solo album, releasing Golden Arms Redemption in 1999 on Priority Records, which displayed a wide variety of sounds from gritty blaxploitation funk to urgent string sections, and featured guest appearances from several Wu-Tang members and affiliates. It had two singles in "Dat's Gangsta" and "Bizarre". The song "Rumble" was used as the main song for the video game Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style. Bizarre debuted #7 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles, but soon after Priority Records was on the verge of shutting down. Still, the album managed to go Gold in sales. Based on the initial success, U-God was able to open his own label, Suppa Nigga Productions. He released his second album Mr. Xcitement in 2005.
Dopium and The Keynote Speaker
In 2009 U-God released the album Dopium and had the lead single "Wu-Tang" featuring Method Man. The album featured guest appearances by Sheek Louch, Jim Jones, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, GZA, Cappadonna, Method Man, Killah Priest and Scotty Wotty with production by Bloody Beat Roots, Felix Cartel and Large Professor. In 2013 U-God announced a new album The Keynote Speaker with production by RZA who also served as the albums executive producer. The album was released on July 23, 2013 by RZA's Soul Temple Records with guest appearances from Styles P, Kool Keith, Method Man, RZA, GZA and Inspectah Deck.
Venom and autobiographical book
On December 13, 2016, U-God released through Babygrande Records' SoundCloud account a song "Venom" and announced that his new album, also called Venom, would be released soon. On September 25, 2017, he added a tweet in which he announced that he had finished his autobiography entitled Raw: My Journey Into The Wu-Tang and it would be released along with his new album in March 2018. On February 2, 2018, he released a free mixtape Bring Back God II through DatPiff platform. Venom was released on March 30, 2018 and debuted at #34 on the U.S. Rap Albums Chart.
- Studio albums
- Golden Arms Redemption (1999)
- Mr. Xcitement (2005)
- Dopium (2009)
- The Keynote Speaker (2013)
- Venom (2018)
- Collaboration albums
- Huey, Steve (May 20, 2008). "U-God > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved April 19, 2010.
- "Inmate Population Information Search". New York Department of Correctional Services (DIN: 92A3131). Archived from the original on April 20, 2010. Retrieved April 19, 2010.
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- "PodOmatic | Best Free Podcasts". Conspiracyworldwide.podomatic.com. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "The Keynote Speaker | Soul Temple Music". Soultemplemusic.bandcamp.com. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- "U-God Releases Fiery New Track 'Venom,' Announces New Album: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- "U-God Announces New Memoir 'RAW: My Journey Into The Wu-Tang Clan'". Okayplayer. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- "U-God Delivers New Mixtape 'Bring Back God II' - XXL". XXL Mag. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- "U-God Shares Release Date and Tracklist for 'Venom' Album - XXL". XXL Mag. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
- "Rap Music: Top Rap Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
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