The success of a musical act these days is measured by the number of albums sold, its debut on music charts or the extent to which an artist is popularized or scandalized in the media. Rewind to 1993 when the Wu-Tang Clan made its unapologetic debut to the world with “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).” This group of rappers hit the scene with something the genre had never seen before, setting the standard for what raw lyricism should sound like.
Wu-Tang Clan, comprised of nine members from Staten Island, N.Y.,brought their own distinct style and personality to “Enter the Wu-Tang.” In a time when rap music was dominated by West Coast rap artists such as Dr. Dre and the “G-funk” sound, the debut of “Enter the Wu-Tang Clan” flipped the genre on its head, presenting a new, New York City style.
The album incorporates martial arts sound clips and samples of soul music in conjunction with raw, creative rhymes by each of the group’s members. “Protect Ya Neck,” the album’s debut single, features a loud, gritty battle rap that showcased the rappers’ unique styles. Other tracks are shamelessly obscene, another reflection of urban New York City style, but the album is more intricate than its seemingly unassuming style may suggest.
“Enter the Wu-Tang” introduced the world to real hip-hop, where talent is found in the intricacies of the lyricism and production of beats mixed with unlikely sound clips and samples. Each track on the album is a lyrical masterpiece, and has influenced countless other rap artists.
With every artist who credits their inspiration to the Wu-Tang Clan comes proof that a group’s success is not based on album sales or chart rankings alone.