by Leo Sipowicz
Wu-Tang Clan, the legendary New York based golden-era rap outfit, is the greatest rap group to exist up to this point in hip hop history. The group consists of 11 of the most influential members of hip hop (RZA, GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa). Wu-Tang has put out 7 Studio albums in the past 25 years, and have sold over 40 million records, and have gone Platinum on 3 of them.
Incredible rap groups have come before Wu-Tang like NWA, Run D.M.C, and OutKast. These are all incredible groups and deserve immense respect from any Hip Hop fan but none of them can touch the influence and success of Wu-Tang.
Wu-Tang Clan's success is due to each of the members individual contributions. In 1992, Wu-Tang Clan dropped their debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” it became an instant success and went Platinum. Instead of following it up with another album like most groups would do, they took a break so that each member of the Wu-Tang had a chance to work on his solo career, an unprecedented idea at the time. Raekwon dropped “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...” Ol’ Dirty Bastard dropped “Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version” and GZA released my favorite Wu-Tang album(Not officially a Wu-Tang album but it features every member of the group) ever, “Liquid Swords”. Raekwon and Ol’ Dirty Bastard both went Gold and GZA went Platinum, two years later, the group returned with their second studio album “Wu-Tang Forever” and it went four-time Platinum. This shows both how dominant Wu-Tang was in the music industry in the 1990s and the immense amount of talent of each of the members. Wu-Tang’s first two albums completely changed the rap the game forever and their success is unmatched even by later releases from the Wu.
Wu-Tang over the years has put out some of the realist songs about life in the some of the poorer neighborhoods, of New York. In songs like “impossible” on the album “Wu-Tang Forever”, Ghostface Killah delivers heartbreaking lyrics about holding his friend Jamie dying in the street in a melodic clunky Wu-Tang flow this verse seeps with emotion and is a perfect embodiment of hip hop in the 90s. After this verse, Raekwon talks about murder rates in America and the corrupt police tying the song together to make one of the most beautiful and heart wrenching songs by Wu-Tang Clan.
Wu-Tang deserve 100% of the successes they have received over the years and new groups like Pro Era, A$AP mob, or the now broken up Odd Future don't have a chance to catch up. The amount of ground that Wu-Tang broke in any genre is unprecedented and unrivaled. Any rap crew that wants to have a chance at taking Wu-Tang’s throne has to completely change the Hip Hop scene and culture just like Wu-Tang did in 1992 with the release of “Enter the Wu-Tang.” But for now, Wu-Tang Clan is untouchable.