Monday, January 5, 2009

January 5: Wu-Tang Clan, "Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers"

Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
Album: Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers
Year: 1993
Label: Loud

Having nine
rappers on the same record and managing to have them all check their egos at the door would be pretty much impossible nowadays. The fact that such a feat was achieved, with brilliant results, is just one of the reasons why the debut album from The Wu-Tang Clan is an essential record for your collection.

Produced by the legendary RZA, the album, at different times, spotlights each and every member of the Wu-Tang Clan. For those of you scoring at home, the original lineup consisited of RZA, GZA, U-God, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, Masta Killa, Ghostface Killah, and of course, 'Ol Dirty Bastard and Method Man.

The record is filled with tales of the streets of various buroughs of New York City. None of the tracks on the record are done to inflate the ego of the MC's or to even glorifiy the life that they lead. They are dirty, graphic acedotes and can be viewed more as cautionary than anything else. While most "street tales" end up falling into the "gangsta rap" category, the jarring delivery and grittiness of the lyrics set the record aside as the first "hardcore" rap record.

36 Chambers provided a blueprint for later artists on how to properly write, deliver, and produce a "hardcore" rap record. Each MC is given their moment(s) to shine, and there is not a poorly executed rhyme anywhere on the record's 35 minute run. RZA's production are a peek into the work that would make him the most sought after hip-hop producer of the decade.

While some will say that records from RUN-DMC, Dr. Dre, or even Grandmaster Flash were the keys to the rise of hip-hop and rap music, one is kidding themselves if they don't beleive Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers does not belong alongside those other pivotal records

Standout tracks: "Da Mystery Of Chessboxin," "C.R.E.A.M." and "Protect Ya Neck."

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