The Saga Continues

Monday, November 9, 2015

22 years ago… Enter The Wu-Tang


Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is the debut studio album by the American hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan, released November 9, 1993, on Loud Records and distributed through RCA Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during 1992 to 1993 at Firehouse Studio in New York City, and it was mastered at The Hit Factory. The album's title originates from the martial arts film The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978). The group's de facto leader RZA, also known as Prince Rakeem, produced the album entirely, utilizing heavy, eerie beats and a sound largely based on martial-arts movie clips and soul music samples.

Upon its release, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) received rave reviews from most music critics. In an article for The Source, The Ghetto Communicator wrote "This record is harsh, but so is the world that we live in. For B-boys n'girls who come from the core of the hard, this is the hip-hop album you've been waiting for".Rolling Stone's review was decidedly ambivalent, praising the album's sound, but noting that "Wu-Tang...are more ciphers than masterful creations. In refusing to commodify themselves, they leave blank the ultimate canvas—the self." Entertainment Weekly was more enthusiastic, giving the album an A, and writing that "With its rumble jumble of drumbeats, peppered with occasional piano plunking, Enter has a raw, pass-the-mike flavor we haven't heard since rap was pop's best-kept secret."Robert Christgau found the Wu-Tang Clan "grander" and "goofier" than their West Coast contemporaries and concluded, "Expect the masterwork this album's reputation suggests and you'll probably be disappointed--it will speak directly only to indigenous hip hoppers. Expect a glorious human mess, as opposed to the ominous platinum product of their opposite numbers, and you'll realize the dope game isn't everyone's dead-end street".
Music journalist Touré declared of the album, that "This is hip-hop you won't find creeping up the Billboard charts but you will hear booming out of Jeep stereos in all the right neighborhoods." However, Enter the Wu-Tang had surprising chart success, despite its raw, underground sound. It peaked at number 41 on the Billboard 200 chart and reached number eight on Billboard‍ '​s Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. The album continued to sell steadily and was eventually certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on May 15, 1995.

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