Music On Vinyl/RCA (vinyl)
By Paul Rigby
During the mid-90s, it seemed that hip hop had already reached a pivotal moment in its history as Dr Dre’s G-funk made its mark but then the Wu-Tang Clan appeared on the scene. Their entry into the music business had the insidious air of a well planned strategic plan. Falling from no-where as a collective force of nine individual MCs, almost like a mutual support group akin to the AA (“Hello, my name is Ghostface Killah…and I’m an MC [sounds of supportive applause]), the Wu-Tang take on the music business was to make as big a splash as possible with a superb album (check), then split up and make individual albums (check), then make as much money as possible (check…and mate).
Like all the best and most talented of creative artists, the Wu-Tang collective saw themselves as multi-faceted individuals with the potential to apply themselves in varying ways. Hence, each project demanded a new pseudonym. However, the most familiar names for the group included:
RZA, GZA, Ol’Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon the Chef, the aforementioned Ghostface Killah, U-God, Inspectah Deck, and Masta Killah.
The link, the spindle around which the black wax outfit rotated, the one man who held the creative force together, was RZA. Not only is his work on this album strong, it’s his production values which dominate Enter The Wu-Tang. In fact, it’s his production values that ooze out of most of the spin-off, solo projects, adding strength to his credentials as a productive force. He gave this album, which was released in 1993, an unreal yet threatening air. At the same time, however, there is plenty of space, a restricted minimalist take on the genre, that lets the song breath. Variety is the essence of the album packed, as it is, with martial arts references, pop culture, lots of violence and even more humour.
Yet, when it was released, it was not the big splash that the collective expected. It took a while to take off but, once it did, the album spread throughout the hip hop community like a virus, influencing every single artist to come. In fact, you can hear the Clan sound in every contemporary hip hop release, a sound that’s infused with the Wu-Tang collective.
Stand-out track: Protect Ya Neck
This was the very first single release by the Clan which brought so much underground attention and major record labels sniffing around. It’s full of energy, verve and passion with a bare production that is dominated by a soft-edged pulsing bass. But it’s your speaker’s ability to separate the vocal melange that will dominate this track in hi-fi terms.
Stand-out track: C.R.E.A.M.
C.R.E.A.M., like many other tracks on this album, is dominated by the vocal message – in this case a lament to poverty. This is not about guitar solos or complex drum fills, it’s all about the spoken word and so midrange performance will be paramount if your speaker is to get the best from this track.
- Bring da Ruckus
- Shame on a Nigga
- Clan in da Front
- Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber
- Can It Be All So Simple
- Protect Ya Neck
- Da Mystery of Chessboxin’
- Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit
- Method Man
- Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber – Part II