Our editorial content is not influenced by any commissions we receive. If you woke up today out of a thirty-year coma, you may be tempted to draw some conclusions from the Wu-Tang logo that graces T-shirts, bus stop stickers, and dorm room posters in every major American city from New York to San Diego. It might appear that these are the markings of a cult, signifiers of a hip-hop movement that ran counter to the mainstream and reshuffled the canon in the process. Eventually, you would figure out that this is, in fact, partially true. Aside from their creative output, they also gained respect on the inside of the music industry, as they are credited with bolstering the agency artists had when negotiating with record executives when each member was given the ability to negotiate their own solo deals apart from the group contract. And while Wu-Tang music has racked up play-counts and record sales that other rappers only dream about, their catalog both as a group and as solo artists deserves constant, careful attention, from newcomers and longtime listeners alike.
Over these surrealistic backing tracks, the MCs rapped hard, updating the old-school attack with vicious violence, martial arts imagery, and welcome warped humor. By , the sound was one of the most instantly recognizable in Hip Hop. Their debut album Enter The Wu-Tang 36 Chambers is an absolute Hip Hop classic , as are most of the clan members solo albums released in the mids. For this list, we selected 15 of our favorite Wu-Tang group tracks. Missing your favorites? Hit us up in the comments! With his trademark voice and lyrics, this track is the perfect introduction to Meth. The last track of the first album of the double album Wu-Tang Forever. Sure, Wu-Tang Forever was not quite the classic Enter The Wu-Tang was which was impossible to equal anyway of course , and it may have been a bit too long — but there were plenty of bangers on there, with top-notch lyricism and excellent RZA production. For many, this is a hate-it or love-it kind of song because of the experimental, impassioned rap style Ghostface Killah and RZA adopt.
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For a quarter of a century, a group of rappers from Staten Island have been a revolutionary force in hip-hop. Under the banner of one of the most unmistakable symbols in music — the golden W — the Wu-Tang Clan changed both the sound and the business of rap music forever. In , when West Coast rap and its summertime sound filled the airwaves, Enter The Wu-Tang emerged like a fast and furious bolt from the blue. Fusing raw sounds, grimy beats and martial arts themes, the album sounded like the past, present and future of hip-hop all wrapped up at once. RZA says the group never overlooked a chance to shout about their mission in interviews. An interviewer challenged that claim: if Wu Tang sold a million records and MC Hammer sold 10 million, how did that make them the best? And that was our goal. The brand cashed in on this obsession with everything Wu Tang by launching its own fashion label, Wu Wear, in the s, as well as other business ventures — publishing, production and management companies all have been part of the Wu Tang universe. For 36 Chambers, RZA found a label, Loud Records, that would let the individual members pursue solo careers with labels that best suited their styles and personalities: Method Man became a genuine star under Def Jam, for example.
While the titular acronym, which, as Method Man reminds us on the hook, stands for Cash Rules Everything Around Me, was quickly adopted as hip-hop slang for boatloads of dough not least by the Wu themselves — witness Raekwon admiring the C. Blessed with a husky, blunt-addled voice, agile wordplay and rugged good looks, the MC had spread his street-corner charisma liberally across Enter …, notably on his own, self-titled solo track, and this hit perfectly harnessed his rugged-yet-smooth appeal. Where earlier rap icons Big Daddy Kane and LL Cool J had come undone with their saccharine forays into romance rap, the Ticallion Stallion successfully showed us his sensitive side without taking off his Timberlands. In your face like a can of mace, indeed. Though he lacks the plus-sized personality of Ghost, Rae, Meth or the late ODB, the Genius might have all of his fellow Clansmen beaten as a pure writer. Where the video for Protect Ya Neck was a resolutely amateurish affair featuring time-stamped, camcorder footage of the Clan skulking in derelict buildings, Triumph has a Brett Ratner -directed mini-movie featuring swarming bees, hilariously bad fire effects and Inspectah Deck climbing buildings like Spider-Man rather than just rapping about him.