Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers) – Wu-Tang Clan

Released November 9, 1993 this debut album of the new super group broke boundaries and put east-coast rap back on the map. It was greatly influential and created a blueprint for ’90s rap. It initially sold 30,000 copies in its first week and has since gone 3x Platinum in the U.S. It has received amazing accolades around the world. It is considered one of the most influential rap albums of all time.

Jason: You know that meme where the woman tries kombucha and goes through the 4 phases of “Nope! Well maybe? Um… nah. I get it but not for me.”? That is how I feel about this album and band.

Brad: That’s a perfect description for this album! Or should I say DesGIFtion?

Jason: Ha. Also, how many people are in this band? I will try to name them all without looking it up: RZA, GZA, JZA, SHZA, Method Man, Redman, ODB/BBJ, um…Ghostface Killah, Shawty, Ronnie, Donnie, Ricky, and Mike.

RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, Cappadonna. (Those names aren’t in any order in relation to the photo.)

Brad: Lol. You almost got em all!

Jason: Take a look at all the affiliated groups as well! How do they make money?

Brad: The funny thing is that I’ve seen so many of the members of Wu-Tang at festivals. I’ve seen Method Man, Ghostface, RZA, GZA, Raekwon all solo at festivals. There are so many members. I’ve also seen Wu-Tang as a group. In fact, I just saw a little bit of their set at Riot Fest in September. So you would think that I would be a huge fan but I’m not. I totally appreciate them and I don’t hate it when I listen to their stuff. Although, I have to admit, I had to force myself to listen to it this time around. It felt like a chore. I just wasn’t in the mood. 

Jason: The first listen-through I hated it. The second and third times I at least found myself tapping my foot. I do hate the skits of course.

Brad: Yeah, skits still suck. I was trying to pay attention to the lyrics but found myself losing interest and drifting off. So I do feel like a student writing a book report without reading the book. 

Jason: Same. I have a hard time paying attention to rap lyrics a lot of the time. I don’t think I heard a “fag”, though.

Brad: Yeah, I was bracing myself for homophobia but didn’t hear it. There was misogyny and violence though. One revelation I had this time around. I used to hate ODB. Partially because he just always got on my nerves in every interview. But when I listen to this album now, I find him to be the most interesting member. Probably because he has such a different style of rapping. He would get me to pay attention again after I had drifted off.

Jason: Is he the one that I thought was Busta Rhymes when I was listening to this? 

Brad: Yes, that’s him.

Jason: I wish Spotify had an incognito mode because my recommended songs is all jacked up now. 

Brad: Do they give you the option to train it by giving things “thumbs down”? One big question I had when listening to this was “Do they have to pay Daryl Hall for the way Method Man sing-spells his name in the “Method Man” song?”

Jason: You can’t thumbs down. I do wonder if Daryl Hall was like “Hey, I spelled ‘method’ first?” or if he thought “Oh, Method Man is a secret Hall & Oates fan.” Why do you think Wu-Tang caught on so much? Especially with white college bros in the 90s?

Brad: I’m not sure. They do have a great logo. So I understand why they sold so many t-shirts. 

Jason: Well, Cash rules everything around them and merch is important. Here is what I will say about Wu-Tang. I would rather listen to this entire album on repeat for an entire day then even 10 minutes of some Eminem garbage.

Brad: I agree with that. Although, they both have a “rap battle” style that I don’t really enjoy.

Jason: Here is what some critics have said about this album “One of hip hop’s true landmarks, this ferocious, startling album rescued New York hip hop in a time dominated by the relaxed sounds of the West Coast.”

Brad: That makes sense I guess.

Jason: Were I to pick a song I liked it would be “Shame on a N****”. I like the beat. That’s a toe-tapper. I am well-aware that makes me sound like an old white suburban dork.

Brad: Yes. And I just said ” they both have a rap battle style that I don’t really enjoy.” which also sounds really old and white. 

Jason: So will you watch the Wu-Tang TV show on Hulu?

Brad: Probably not but maybe I should to get a better understanding of them. I think it helped my appreciation of N.W.A. when I watched their biopic movie “Straight Outta Compton”  and the HBO documentary series “The Defiant Ones”. Both were pretty good. 

Jason: Well that’s a maybe. Any last thoughts on 36 Chambers? Or are you ready to grade this one?

Brad: I’m ready to grade it. I’d give it a C+. Not really the album for me. How about you?

Jason: I will go with the same, a C+. I wasn’t looking forward to this but I was able to listen to it a few times. 

Click here for the complete 100 list.

Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.

COMING SOON! Brad’s WFH today and the poster is in the office. I’m sure it’s something like this…

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  1. Pingback: 100 Albums Bucket List | Jason S Steele

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