The Wu-Tang Clan is probably the best-known, most-revered rap group in the history of Hip-Hop. Sportin 9 members who could really tear it up at any second–not just three or four good members and the rest being hype-men or selling points–Wu entered the game in 91 and took shit to a whole new level, gaining the respect of the entire industry in the process.
1) Bring da Ruckus
Intros the album with a really short skit and Ghost Face jumps on to kill it. The beat is a hard drum track, with random blats and horns thrown in. Raewon jumps on for the second verse; his early shit seems more hype, rather than the dark, raw style of Cuban Linx and his various Mobb Deep appearances. Regardless, he kills it. Inspectah Deck jumps on third and really stands out, killin an in-and-out scheme (AB, BA type shit). GZA’s verse is the last, and he kills it with his metaphorical symbolistic style. (Great)
2) Shame On a Nigga
ODB shines over a beat in the same style as the last, cept with a nice piano chord thrown in. Method comes on second and just kills shit, one of his best verses which made the song so big. Raekwon comes on third and spits pretty nice, but can’t ***** with Meth’s verse, and neither can ODB’s finisher, tho Dirty’s playful style pretty much makes up for it. (Great)
3) Clan In da Front
This beat is more creepin, a string beat with a buzzing in the background to symbolize the Killa Beez swarmin. RZA talks an intro for a while, introducin the Killa Beez, then the beat changes to a slightly bouncier dyslexic piano loop. This cut was GZA’s shine track, and he comes pretty nice with an aggressive take-no-shit style. (Good)
4) Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber
Starts with a short skit about the Clanites chillin, till they get the news a homie just got deaded, and they’re on their way for revenge. This cut is actually 7 verses long, the only Wu-fam left out is Masta Killa and U-God. The bumpin drum track starts in and then comes the sporadic xylophone-type instrument. Raekwon starts off the rappin with a nice, hardcore verse; Meth follows up with trademark siccness, and so-on. RZA breaks the chain, always bein in my opinion the least lyrical of the Clan, but that’s irrela. (Great)
5) Can It All Be So Simple
A Raekwon/Ghost Face dual cut that showed for the first time how compatible the were rhymin together. The beat is seriously funkified, a thumpin base with a harp strum in the background and a smooth hook. Raekwon comes more familiar here, layin back a little and spittin that shit. Ghost sounds here like a tighter version of Freeway; same loose scheme and high voice, but better lyrics and flow, not as whiny. (Excellent)
Short skit explaining the various alter-egos and nicknames and ways of the Clan.
6) Da Mystery of Chessboxin
A faster-paced but still bumpin beat, with squeaky horns in the background. U-God and Masta Killa both finally make appearances here, wit a nice verse and a solid flow. Deck’s verse is solid but not his usual shit; Rae comes with the nicest verse on the shit, IMO, but Ol Dirty’s a runner-up with his funny-ass flow an lyrics. Ghost’s shit isn’t his best, but Killa’s verse also seriously kills it. (Great)
7) Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin Ta F’ Wit
This beat is catchy n complex, with an Arabic-type whine and shit. RZA actually kills the first verse with lyrics and straight energy, Meth takes over with a sicc verse. Killa track, a standout in an album of illness. (Excellent)
Another one of the album’s best tracks. The drums are bumpin, the piano melody is sicc, sounds like something off Illmatic. Rae spit’s an autobiographical verse first, killin it; Meth comes with the catch-as-hell hook, and Deck comes with another bio verse, reflecting on some of the revelations of his life. (Excellent)
9) Method Man
The infamous cut that introduced Meth as the Wu-Tang’s Ace card. It starts off with a sickly-funny skit about ‘methods’ of torture. The beat is a jumpin, energetic piece, which supports Meth’s playful, energetic style. Of course Tical lets off some illa lyrics. (Excellent)
10) Protect ya Neck
The album’s first single (I think), one of those that got the shit so much deserved hype. The beat sounds more like a Cuban Linx or Liquid Swords style, a more dark and constant piano loop over the now-typical jumpin drums, with a little whine and some trumpet in the background. The only Clanite that doesn’t make even a small appearance here to kill it is Masta Killa. (Excellent)
This beat is definitely different, type bouncy, takes some getting used to but still pretty good. RZA and Ghost Face put it down for homies they seen taken down. RZA’s verse is pretty nice and emotional, but Ghost is a bit off here. Still a good, emotional song with a message, though. (Good)
12) Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber pt II
In the last joint on the CD, the beat becomes dark, heavy and bumpin, with random high horn blats. Rae, Tical, Deck, Ghost, ODB, RZA, Deck and Genius all kill it here, though Deck’s flow seems the best out of all’em. Not as good as the original. (Good)
My Rating: 5/5 (Classic)
So much shit was accomplished with one CD, listening to it is nearly impossible to believe the Wu would become fractured and distracted later on. First of all, this should be the definition of a group album; the group doin cuts together, various members together, solos, duos, the inhouse producer going crazy on the beats with every member killin it. Second of all the album is a reminder that a beat just needs to be little more than a thumpin drum and bass with the barebones of a tune, a real MC will take it and make it great. Thirdly this introduced the Wu as we know it to the world; Method Man sewin ya asshole closed and feedin you, Ghost and Rae killin shit together, RZA’s beats, ODB’s crazy style & singin, their amazing chemistry together…everything the Clan is famous for was represented to the fullest in these 12 cuts. Seriously one of Hip-Hop’s few true classics.
My Recommendation: Buy this or cut your own ears off and never listen to rap music again.