Act 1, Scene 1 of Robert Diggs’ infamous five-year plan to take over the world: Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
Introducing Diggs (a.k.a. The RZA), The GZA, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Raekwon, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa and Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
Raw, harrowing beats and jazz samples laden with elaborate, striking, voluptuous lyricism; Wu-Tang Clan’s 1993 debut personifies the lifestyles of nine Kung-Fu aficionados from New York, constantly hustling, grinding, and fighting for a day in the life. Now incredibly notorious, Wu-Tang was simply a gambit piece for the chess-obsessed RZA to have the group break through into every facet of modern society and culture. And it worked.
To the casual auditor, this album appears to be a constant slew of obnoxious remarks tied together by clever hooks and simple garage-beats.
To those drinking the juice: 36 Chambers is the four ventricles of the nine hearts of the Wu, 3 + 6 also being the 9, artery numerical values representing the Five-Percenters in the group as Gods, some denoting the veined Earth’s, kung-fu capillaries, reverse-engineered aortic street theorems, pulmonary vernacular and alphanumeric symbolism coursing the cardiovascular verses of a very deep Wu-Tang theology best described as Harry Potter plus Lord of the Rings plus Game of Thrones meets a turntable in a dark alley in Shaolin, the name Wu claims as their home of Staten Island… In other words, you wouldn’t understand.
What is entirely attainable is the amazing way this deeply introspective vignette so wonderfully works on an auditory level. Opener “Bring da Ruckus” does exactly that. “Method Man” and “The Mystery of Chessboxin” are addictively catchy, and “Protect Ya Neck” is one of the most famous hip-hop hymnals. “Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber” parts 1 and 2 act as intermission and conclusion to their respective sides, dividing the mentalities of “Shame on a Nigga” (ODB’s precognitive eulogy to their present state) and “C.R.E.A.M.” (Tical’s profound visionary exclamation that “Cash rules everything around me.”). “Clan in da Front” and “Can it Be All so Simple” represent the collective in true form, while “Tearz” a celebration of gritty clan affiliation.
36 Chambers quintessentially terra-formed the topography of rap music, forever solidifying the era of The Wu as an atypical hemorrhage in the bloodstream of hip-hop talent and mastery. The Abbot, The Genius, Ticallion Stallion, Raekwon the Chef, The Rebel INS, Mr. Now-you-see-me-now-you-dont, The High Chief, Golden Arms, and the one and only Dirt McGirt Big Baby Jesus Dirt Dog Osirus Ason Unique The Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Undeniably a force to be reckoned with, an empire was built out of an idea-that, much like inception, Robert Diggs made us create ourselves.
To summate, “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin Ta Fuk Wit.”
Listen to: “Bring Da Ruckus,” “C.R.E.A.M.,” Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin Ta Fuk Wit”
Kiefer is a writer, musician and zealous record collector. He started hoarding vinyl because mp3s weren’t convenient enough, cassettes were too expensive, and he couldn’t turn a CD over. The soundtrack of his life is chronicled every week as #KiefersMusicMondays on Instagram (@key_fur). Currently residing in Lubbock, TX—home of Buddy Holly—he’s an avid music enthusiast by day and a mixologist by night, fighting the good fight for all things artistic. He started writing for MMC in 2019.