20 years ago today (November 9th), the greatest rap posse album was released. I am mincing no words, and I am not walking back that opening sentence. The greatest posse rap album of all time! If Kanye West knows 7Poundbag exists he might have a chuckle at that last sentence, but damn it he knows that the Wu-Tang Clan Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) album was that damn good! Enter The Wu introduced a 9 man collective from a place called Shaolin to the world. Shaolin, better known as the New York City borough of Staten Island, was where these men of the Park Hill and Stapleton projects resided, and Enter The Wu was there way of telling their stories.
Masterminded by their producer, RZA, the Wu-Tang Clan consisted of members: RZA, GZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killa, Raekwon, Old Dirty Bastard, U-God, Masta Killa, and Inspectah Deck. Those 9 men released an album filled with rugged beats, and raw rhymes. It’s a true East Coast record and a seminal moment in hip-hop history. Enter The Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers) would go on to become a platinum selling record and the launching pad to solo careers for all of the men involved. Some members may have had more success than others (Method Man, Ghostface, and Raekwon as rappers, and RZA as a producer) but it’s that’s moment on 11/9/1993 that means everything to me, some of my friends, to hip-hop heads and music lovers in general.
Headlined by notable singles such as C.R.E.A.M., Method Man, Protect Ya Neck, Can It All Be So Simple, Shame On A (N-Word) and my personal favorite Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin to Fuck Wit, Enter The Wu goes down in classic status. With the exception of Method Man, most tracks feature at least 3 rappers except for Wu-Tang 7th Chamber and Protect Ya Neck which features everyone. The 13 track album gave at least one moment for every rapper in the collective to shine, and that they did. Enter The Wu built up a fan base, and that fan base, as worldwide and rabid as they can be has sustained them over a 20 year strong career. The Clan, in one form or another, have gone on to a long distinguished career in the hip-hop game. Please allow, a moment of silence for the late Old Dirty Bastard, who’s passing in 2004 turned the Wu from 9 men, to the 8 man family that they are today.
Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) will always have a place in my hip-hop consciousness. I may have been all of 11 years old at the time, and unable to officially listen to rap records (I used to sneak tapes on the side, something my mother didn’t find out until years later). So, while I was familiar with the radio edits of the album, I didn’t really get to appreciate Enter The Wu in it’s raw and true (unedited) form until I was around 16 years old. Doesn’t mean I didn’t know C.R.E.A.M. or Method Man inside out, but hearing the first curse word, hearing the songs that didn’t make it onto Hot 97, made me appreciate these guys even more. So, crank it up. Call all your Wu-Gambinos, pour out a 40, and Enter The Wu.
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