The album that changed everything. This is Rap's mission statement.
We’re gonna be talking about rap for the next few months, and this is the best place to start. For a debut and a seminal genre work, there is no better embodiment of what rap represents than 36 Chambers.
It’s a masterpiece and one of the greatest records of all time.
Wu-Tang Clan formed in the early 90s with members across the five burrows of New York and recorded their debut by simple survival of the fittest where the best made the tape. The result is a cut-throat and raw debut that maintains a vital energy that laid the foundation. It’s a record that must be experienced as words fail the sheer adrenaline rush that is the 11-tracks here.
The album blasts off with ‘Bring Da Ruckus’, which remains one of the best openers of all time. The ruthless bars and kung-fu samples drive hard for ‘Clan In Da Front’ and ‘7th Chamber’ It’s all out lyrical carnage and fairly unrelenting until the cruisy mid-point of ‘Can It Be All So Simple’ with its smooth soul sampling. A lesser album would stop here, but it kicks back harder than before with ‘Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ and then the iconic ‘Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing Ta F’ Wit’.
The rest is history. ‘C.R.E.A.M’, ‘Protect Ya Neck’ and ‘Tearz’ close out the masterwork with a run to rival its perfect opening. This album is not only a classic in its own right, but births ‘Only Built for Cuban Linx’, ‘Liquid Swords’, ‘Ironman’ and ‘Return to the 36 Chambers’.
The cumulative influence of these five records lays the blueprint for contemporary rap from the underground to the mainstream. Music would not exist in its current form if not for this album.
Of course, there’s ‘The Low-End Theory’ and ‘Paid In Full’ technically beating all these records to the punch, and that’s before anything from Massive Attack. Regardless, this is where to start and a cornerstone for contemporary music.
Essential listening for all. Wu-Tang is for the children.
‘Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers’ is available in the store now alongside ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Only Built for Cuban Linx’.