Wu-Tang Clan – “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” review

The Wu-Tang Clan were at the time an octuplet composed of RZA, GZA, the Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Method Man (who was actually a replacement for the then-incarcerated Cappadonna) & U-God & this is their full-length debut. The album kicks off with “Bring da Ruckus” which starts off with samples from Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang & 10 Tigers from Kwangtung but then it transitions to some explosive drums & some hard ass battle rhymes. The next track “Shame on a Nigga” features some triumphant horns at the beginning & the end as well as a nice Thelonius Monk piano loop, but it’s really the verses form Ol’ Dirty Bastard that starts & ends the track. The next track “Clan in da Front” is a GZA solo track with a catchy piano loop as well as some hard drums & GZA sounds angry as fuck on here. Especially on the 2nd verse. The track “Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber” starts off with a skit but then we get a haunting beat & some angry ass bars from almost every single member. The track “Can It All Be So Simple” has a beautiful vocal sample & it’s basically Rae teaming up with Ghost to vividly & sincerely describe their desires to escape the hardships of the ghetto. The track “Da Mystery of Chessboxin'” starts off with a Kung Fu film sample which sets the tone for the entire track. The beat on here has some hard drums & the keys throughout give the track a more martial arts feeling to it. The opening verse is the only proper verse from U-God due to his incarceration at the time & the closing verse is the only occurrence where Masta Killa appears on the album. An inexperienced MC at the time, the right to become the 9th member of the group was contested between him & Sunz of Man member Killah Priest. Masta Killa stayed up all night writing his verse while Killah Priest fell asleep & the rest is history. You can tell Masta Killa had never really rhymed before & while his verse isn’t my favorite on the album, it was a perfect way to close out the track. The next track “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta Fuck Wit” is basically discussing how impeccable they are & the beat is just as sinister as the deliveries on here. The following track “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)” is easily the group’s most well known song & it features these really gloomy piano chords throughout as well as 2 verses about life in the ghetto. If you couldn’t tell by the title of the track after that, it’s a solo cut from Method Man & he cleverly throws pop culture references throughout the entire track over some nice boom bap drums & some menacing keys. The next track “Protect Ya Neck” gets the whole crew together to deliver some hard verses over an eerie ass beat but every member does it in their own specific way. The final track “Tearz” sees RZA & Ghost telling 2 individually sad stories over a gloomy beat & a beautifully sped-up vocal sample that fits with the stories like a glove. To me, not only did this album solidify the group as the greatest hip hop group of all-time but I truly believe this is a must have for ANY hip hop head. Every single member stands out from one another & the Clan’s de facto leader RZA was able to craft his very own unique sound. Luckily this would only be the beginning for them, as they would give us many more hip hop classics in the future

Score: 5/5

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