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Desert Island Thursday • Enter The Wu-Tang

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Wu-Tang Clan and their phenomenal first official release, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) changed the rap game altogether.

Aside from the explosion of Alternative, the 1990’s were also important for another genre of music. Rap. By 1993, rap music was on a steady climb to overtaking the airwaves. One of the major rap groups of the era were the Wu-Tang Clan. The Wu were composed of New York natives from Staten Island and Brooklyn respectively. The Wu-Tang Clan were: The RZA, The GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon The Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah, and Method Man. With the rise of the Wu, Hip hop saw a shift. Gone were the days of the message rap as brought to you by the likes of groups like Run-DMC. Wu-Tang Clan and their phenomenal first official release, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) changed the rap game altogether. The production of the album was overseen by Wu overlord, The RZA. The beats on this album are street and gritty just like the group itself.

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Every song on Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) has one message and one message only: Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuthin’ to fuck wit’.

Before Jay-Z and Kanye West started rapping about money and bitches, The Wu-Tang Clan took the approach of hype and rode that hype train to bring us their monster of a first album. Every song on Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) has one message and one message only: Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuthin’ to fuck wit’. Every single track is an ode to the awesomeness of the Wu; and for those of us who were around when this album exploded onto the scene, we wouldn’t have it any other way. No one questioned the Wu-Tang Clan when they said that they were that damn good, because they were and we believed them.

The Wu-Tang Clan were the first rap group to glorify the grittiness of the streets.

Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) placed the death nail in the coffin of the old guard and heralded a new type of hip hop. Hip hop has always been about the streets because it was born there. The Wu-Tang Clan were the first rap group to glorify the grittiness of the streets. They showcased New York in a whole new light. There wasn’t anything glamourous about Wu-Tang’s vision of New York, but the Wu’s fan base saw the beauty in the world that the Wu-Tang Clan created in their rhymes. In 1993, this was the Wu’s world, we just lived in it. The Wu-Tang Clan didn’t look for acceptance from the outside world, they played for themselves and the world took notice and followed them through the depths of the rhymes signifying their self-importance.

the Wu were basically telling you that if you’re stepped to, then you best retaliate the best way you know how: with your fists.

Wu-Tang Clan was never able to repeat the success of their first album, but that wasn’t for lack of trying. We all knew who the members of the Wu-Tang Clan were from Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and even now whenever I listen to the group’s first offering, I know that hip hop will never be as good as this. The production value for rap albums have almost doubled but even with stellar production, one can’t help but feel that the rawness of the rap game is now a cliche’. Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was rough and real. It was the other side of New York that this album triumphed. In the 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan weren’t uplifting their respective neighborhoods; they were slums and the Wu were slum dwellers. The Wu-Tang Clan wasn’t preaching unity; through their rhymes, the Wu were basically telling you that if you’re stepped to, then you best retaliate the best way you know how: with your fists.

I get nostalgic every time I listen to 1990’s hip hop because I know that it has seen its day in the sun and that it will never be like this ever again. Hip hop acts of today are too comfortable in their own skin. They’re not hungry anymore. Nowadays whenever a new rap album drops, the message is one of contentment. The Wu-Tang circa 1993 were not content, they were reporting on the world as it was: rugged and raw like the group themselves. If in reading this, you agree that rap is not all it’s cracked up to be, fear not, the Wu-Tang Clan left a legacy of truth that unfolds itself in the form of Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Now, feel free to bop your head this way and that to the sounds of a gritty New York and let the streets overtake you.
Feel free to hook yourselves up to the streets right here.

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