Stayin’ Alive Was No Jive: 36 Chambers at 25

Wu-Tang Clan truly is for the children

36 Chambers on cassette, the way we used to rock it back in the mid-90s

Bring the muthafuckin’ ruckus.

What a way to start an album. When Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers by Wu-Tang Clan came out on November 9th, 1993, it literally turned the rap world on its head, waking up the game from its weeded out gangsta daze with some hardcore Staten Island grime rooted in a collective love for the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa and Kenji Misumi, a wild lifestyle and the grit of hard Blaxploitation funk and wrapped it into that strife life, that street life, which they were living in real time. Like when Eric B. and Rakim hit with Paid in Full back in ’87, it was like nothing anyone ever heard or seen before. The uncut raw, ya heard?

Ghostface Killah. Raekwon the Chef. Method Man. Inspectah Deck. The RZA. The GZA. Ol’ Dirty Bastard. U-God. Masta Killa. Cappadonna. They were a tentet, like J.J. Johnson’s mid-60s jazz band. The beats provided by the group’s Abbott, The RZA, were so simple and so cutting, and you can get the instrumental versions by checking out the mixtape site DatPiff right now.

Just listening to these songs again–“7th Chamber, “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’,” “C.R.E.A.M.,” the criminally underrated “Tearz” and always, always “Protect Ya Neck” forever–it gives you that shot of adrenaline like the first time you heard Fugazi or Metallica.

But enough of my jabbering. In honor of today being the 25th anniversary of Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, the Certified Classics imprint put together this celebratory short film featuring members of Wu-Tang, family, and friends discussing the impact of the iconic album. Directed by Shomi Patwary, this film explores each song via untold stories from Wu-Tang Clan members, alongside personal reflections from artists like A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, Joey Bada$$ and more.

Wu-Tang Clan is for the children! And two and a half decades later, they are still putting out vital rap music. Recognize, kids!


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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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