Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers)
Released: November 9, 1993
Charted: November 27, 1993
Peak: 41 US, 8 RB, 83 UK
Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.3 UK, 3.3 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: rap > hardcore
Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 58:26
4.190 out of 5.00 (average of 10 ratings)
Quotable: “One of the most influential rap albums of the ‘90s.” – Steve Huey, All Music Guide
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
“New York brings the ruckus (back). The Wu-Tan Clan’s debut had all the earmarks of cult-dom-masked rappers, a backstory shaped by comics and kung-fu flicks and grimy beats. Yet the octet’s output was so badass, it drew gangsta rap – and jaded hip-hop fans back to New York.” BL
“Along with Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, …Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), was one of the most influential rap albums of the ‘90s. Its spare yet atmospheric production – courtesy of RZA – mapped out the sonic blueprint that countless other hardcore rappers would follow for years to come. It laid the groundwork for the rebirth of New York hip-hop in the hardcore age, paving the way for everybody from Biggie and Jay-Z to Nas and Mobb Deep. Moreover, it introduced a colorful cast of hugely talented MCs, some of whom ranked among the best and most unique individual rappers of the decade. Some were outsized, theatrical personalities, others were cerebral storytellers and lyrical technicians, but each had his own distinctive style, which made for an album of tremendous variety and consistency. Every track on Enter the Wu-Tang is packed with fresh, inventive rhymes, which are filled with martial arts metaphors, pop culture references (everything from Voltron to Lucky Charms cereal commercials to Barbra Streisand’s ‘The Way We Were’), bizarre threats of violence, and a truly twisted sense of humor.” SH
“Their off-kilter menace is really brought to life, however, by the eerie, lo-fi production, which helped bring the raw sound of the underground into mainstream hip-hop. Starting with a foundation of hard, gritty beats and dialogue samples from kung fu movies, RZA kept things minimalistic, but added just enough minor-key piano, strings, or muted horns to create a background ambience that works like the soundtrack to a surreal nightmare. There was nothing like it in the hip-hop world at the time, and even after years of imitation, Enter the Wu-Tang still sounds fresh and original. Subsequent group and solo projects would refine and deepen this template, but collectively, Wu-Tang have never been quite this tight again.” SH
Notes: “BMG International's 2004 import edition…included one bonus track,” SH an alternate version of “Method Man.”
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Last updated 4/18/2022.