What happens when you mix Wu-Tang with Jazz and a former MTV and VH1 diva with some singing chops? You get Amanda Seales, formerly known as Amanda Diva, bringing the Wu-Tang classics back to life but with Jazz.
Seales stars as Killandra Bea in Mo’ Betta Wu, a collaborative live music project backed by a four-piece band that performs hits from the legendary hip-hop crew to honor the 20th anniversary of debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).”
The singer’s approach to the rap hits in the Blue & Silver Creative Group-produced showcase, which is arranged by Kris Bowers, is deeply emotional and intriguing.
“I was randomly singing a Wu-Tang song in jazz form and I threw it up on my Instagram,” she recalled in a previous interview. “It got a really, really strong response. I mentioned it to Q-Tip and he was like, ‘You should talk to Kris Bowers.'”
Seales redefines Wu songs such as “C.R.E.A.M.,” “All I Need,” and “Rainy Dayz” by transforming the boom bap to bebop and has received the stamp of approval from Wu-Generals RZA and Power.
Blending theatrics, jazz elements, humor and legendary Wu-isms, she interprets some of the most memorable lyrics in hip-hop without compromising its street cred.
“As a lover of both hip-hop and jazz, I feel like much of the latter community still doesn’t truly embrace hip-hop as a musical extension,” Seales said in a statement to the Daily News. “Something authentically done in this context could help to bridge that gap the world over.”
Although the New York City shows are currently sold out, Seales hopes to bring the show to other cities soon.