Shaolin Island, N.Y.
25 years ago the greatest posse rap album was released to the world by the RZA, the GZA, Raekwon The Chef, The Ghostface Killah, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and the M-e-t-h-o-d Man. Well known throughout the world as the Wu-Tang Clan.
Enter The Wu-Tang: The 36 Chambers was unlike anything heard. It sounded cheap and dusty yet also dense, atmospheric and ambient. It was the first rap group to have as many rappers (actually one or as time went on half dozen more) as old school legends the Furious Five and all the rappers had distinctive, innovative rhyme styles.
The brilliant production by RZA drew it’s musical influences mostly from the classic Stax/Volt 45’s, Gladys Knight, Hall and Oates, and of course classic kung-fu movie scores and dialogue, the latter giving the album a Pink Floyd type vibe. And the singles wound up being iconic too. Particularly and obviously Meth’s theme song (the flip side of their indie single above, B-side wins again!) and the universal anthem for money earning under problematic conditions and environments, C.R.E.A.M.
The album was solid from start to finish and was one of the last albums to come from Rap’s Golden Age when it was strictly album-oriented format from 1986 to 1993. It would lead all of it’s members to release classic albums on their own too. There will never ever be another one like this. (Thanks to fucking streaming and downloading, and the fact that their million dollar album still has not been released for free to the public after it’s douchebag price gouging criminal owner got incarcerated)
Whoever still owns this classic, and there are about 4 million of you, give it another replay. And remember when creativity was once a priority in making music.