#27: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Wu-Tang Clan
My first album free from the prison of the highway! I listened to this while I unpacked my things.
Much to unpack with the Wu-Tang Clan themselves, whose name I’ve heard before but whose music I was wholly unfamiliar with. As it happens, right around here is when the RS blurbs stop being quite so helpful, if you’re not familiar with the albums before. RS merely points to Wu-Tang leader RZA’s description from 2005 that the group drew from “Eastern philosophy picked up from kung fu movies, watered-down Nation of Islam preaching picked up on the New York streets, and comic books.” A very cool quote, but raises more questions than answers, if you know what I mean.
So, basically: Wu-Tang Clan are a “hip-hop collective” from NYC. If you are like me and have never heard of that, a musical collective is basically a band where the membership is flexible and musicians can rotate in and out, similar to a supergroup. There were nine original members: RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, U-God, Masta Killa, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (haha), Ghostface Killah (incredible), and Inspectah Deck (…interesting). According to this old interview, the “36 chambers” refers to the “9 MCs, each with 4 chambers of the heart.”
Anyway. That’s all you need to know about the Wu-Tang Clan, other than that they’re a) essentially, at their heart, an angry noisy rap group, and b) incredible. The Wu-Tang Clan is incredible! Why didn’t anyone tell me?
“Bring the Ruckus” — Oh boy!
“Clan In Da Front” — I love me a good heavy bassline and some chaotic shouting.
“Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber” — Another rap album with lots of lengthy skits — this one is a whole minute and a half long at the beginning of the song.
“Can It All Be So Simple/Intermission” — Sample from Gladys Knight & the Pips “The Way We Were/Try To Remember.” The outtro where they all hype each other up is amazing as well. Also, I was listening to this and thought that it might sample Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor,” when in fact “Ex-Factor” samples THIS song! So I was wrong but I was close! I’m developing an ear for this, is my point.
“Da Mystery of Chessboxin’” — This was one of my favorites.
“Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin ta F’ Wit” — I just love the shouty songs!
“C.R.E.A.M.” — Get the money/Dollah dollah bills y’all. I also loved the a cappella version I listened to.
“Method Man” — Hahaha the opening skit on this is disgusting. I liked this one a lot but I actually preferred the “Home Grown Version” a little bit.
“Tearz” — Woof, a song about crying with a “Z.” This should suck but it doesn’t. It’s badass and the backbeat is sick.
“Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber — Part II — Conclusion” — I’m so glad this album ends the same way it begins — noisily and angrily.
LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:
“Protect Ya Neck” — The truth is this song rocks, but to be honest this is the only Wu-Tang song that I’d ever heard of, so I was kind of expecting to love it. Truth be told, I only like it okay.
IS RS FULL OF IT?
Well, I loved all of these songs, so no. Wu-Tang Forever!