By Michelle Locke | @mishtheishh
The RZA, The GZA, Ol Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Ghost Face Killa, Method Man, Raekwon the Chef, and Masta Killa. If these names do not sound familiar to you they may have been a little before your time. No worries though, on the 21st anniversary of their debut album we got you covered.
Coming out of Staten Island, NY around the Dr. Dre Era of Hip-Hop, these 9 MC’s proved to be one of the most revolutionary rap groups of the 90s. They started off based on the concept, said to be created by the visionary member RZA, of a powerful, magical kung fu sword used by a group of warriors to conquer and slay their enemies. All of their MC’s nicknames are derived from old kung fu film references. These nine separate MC’s took this imagery to show they would be more than just a group, but instead a powerful hip-hop army. And together, each with their own set of skills and lyrical weaponry, they lay waste to the rest of the rising hip-hop groups of their time whether through their own group albums, collabs, or solo projects.
Their financial success was not immediate, but after the releases of their first two singles “Protect Ya Neck” and “C.R.E.A.M” their fan base was well established and it was only upwards from there. Their sound was one that was quickly recognizable and distinguished them from the rest of the competition—one that remains unduplicated to this day. Nothing can really imitate its hardcore flow and powerful tone.
Let’s rank the tracks off the first album of the one and only, the Wu-Tang Clan.