Staten Island rapper HeeSun Lee has always been proud to represent her borough and Logic’s 2018 song “Wu Tang Forever” featuring the members of the legendary Staten Island Wu Tang Clan hip hop group inspired her to pen her own tribute.
The Staten Island native raps, “Shout out to Wu Tang, you the reason I keep on believing, Shaolin is breathing, kept this borough’s heart beatin’.” In the video directed by Jomil Nazario, HeeSun references numerous landmark locations in Staten Island, the district Wu Tang Clan have dubbed Shaolin for their love of Shaolin Kung Fu. Those familiar with the area will recognize mentions and visuals in the video of the Staten Island Ferry, Richmond Ave., Victory Blvd., Bay St., Ralph’s Ices, Denino’s pizza restaurant, the Verrazano bridge that connects Staten Island to the other boroughs and Fenix Studios.
HeeSun’s motivation to make the cover was two-fold. The artist who released her fourth set, “Flying Cars,” in March, was a big fan of Logic’s song and secondly, she wanted to big up her city. “I thought Logic’s song was dope,” she says. “I mean, he killed it as soon as he started rapping. I think that was also one of the reasons why I decided to do a verse on it because I was so hyped after hearing the song.”
Also, Staten Island deserves more recognition. “I made this cover because I felt it was time to have a song out about Staten Island. You hear all of these rappers shoutin’ out where they come from, and especially in NYC, we hear a lot of ‘Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem, BX’ references, but never really Staten Island. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to rap about it now, and there’s no better way than on a Wu Tang track. Staten Islanders don’t really talk much about their ‘pride’ in living here, but I think once the song is out, I’m hoping it’ll be something to be proud of.”
The Wu Tang Clan have always inspired HeeSun. “I believe that I subconsciously always told myself that Wu Tang is from Staten Island and that’s a good look,” she says. “So, whenever I would rap at places, Wu Tang would always be the point of reference whenever people talked about my borough. It’s like they gave me credibility without me ever meeting them. People would have respect for me because Wu Tang was from Staten Island too. And who can hate on that? Wu Tang was everywhere when I was growing up in the 90s. My brother would blast their music in his car when he was driving me to school. I never realized how much of an impact they’d have on my rap career.”