Top 5 Tracks off Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

enter-the-wu-tang-36-chambers-back-n-the-day-buffetThe Wu-Tang Clan released their debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” on November 9, 1993.  The album dropped on Loud Records and was produced solely by the RZA.   The album was one of the rawest debuts in Hip Hop history and was a definite game changer!

The first time I heard of this crew, I was mesmerized by not only how many MC’s part of this group, but that each one of them had a different style than the next one!  Method Man introduces that we would memorize in this particular order, forever!

From the slums of Shaolin, Wu-Tang Clan strikes again
The RZA, the GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck
Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah and the Method Man

enter-the-wu-tang-36-chambers-back-n-the-day-buffet-2

Picking up the album at Tower Records in Lakewood CA, I looked at the cover and was like, “Ninjas?  I wanna know what ninjas sound like!  Bet!”.  So I picked it up on the same day I went to the record store to get Midnight Marauders!  Best double purchase I’ve ever made!

I’ve  heard this album easy thousands of times and I can say that every track is dope and there are zero fillers!  The album doesn’t stop from being dope more than 20 years later! I’ve compiled the Top 5 tracks off this album and I can tell you it wasn’t easy.  The one track I left off that had me angry as f*ck  was “Method Man“.  It’s not that the song is not a Top 5 Banger, I left it out because it’s a “solo” track and could’ve easily been on his “Tical” album.  Since almost every track is a posse cut, I had to leave it off!  Don’t send me no hate mail, it’s just MY top 5 jams off this certified classic!

5. Da Mystery of Chessboxin’

Of course, almost every track has a sample of a kung fu movie to start off the track, and this one is no exception.  The track samples the “Tramp” drum beat while 6 crazy dope MC’s flip the script and make this track one of their most memorable.  Ghostface Killah made me a believer not only with the rhymes he spits on this cut but because he was the guy with the mask that everybody wondered about in the video!

Speaking of the devil, psych
No, it’s the God, get the shit right
Mega trife, and yo I killed you in a past life
On the mic while you was kicking that fast shit
You reneged, tried again, and got blasted
Half mastered ass style mad ruff task
When I struck I had on Timbs and a black mask
Remember that shit? I know you don’t remember jack
That night yo I was hitting like a spiked bat
And then you thought I was bugged out, and crazy
Strapped for nonsense, after me became lazy
Yo, nobody budge while I shot slugs
Never shot thugs, I’m running with thugs that flood mugs
So grab your 8 plus 1, start flipping and tripping
Niggas is jetting I’m licking off son

4. Shame on a Nigga

The production on this track is a-maze-ing!  RZA takes the beat from “Different Strokes” by Syl Johnson and flips an incredible piano riff by Thelonious MonkBlack and Tan Fantasy” to bring this crisp and clean beat to life!  Method Man makes my day with his verse, and those 4 beeps while he says “First I’m gonna get ya, once I got ya, I gat ya” let’s you know his verse kills!

Yo RZA, yo razor,hit me with the major
The damage, my Clan understand it be flavor
Gunning, humming coming at ya
First I’m gonna get ya, once I got ya, I gat ya
You could never capture the Method Man’s stature
For rhyme and for rapture, got niggas resigning, now master
My style? Never!
I put the fucking buck in the wild kid, I’m terror
Razor sharp,I sever
The head from the shoulders, I’m better, than my competta
You mean competitor, whatever, let’s get together

3. Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t ta Fuck Wit

The track is self-explanatory and that clicking snapping-fingers in the beginning let’s you know that this jam is about to explode!  So where is this beat sampled from you say? RZA samples the “Theme to Underdog” to “bring the ruckus”!  Yes, you heard correctly!  A cartoon!  He also provides the most memorable lyrics on this track!

Yo, there’s no place to hide as I step inside the room
Dr. Doom, prepare for the boom
Bam! Aw, man! I, slam, jam, now scream like Tarzan
I be tossing and flossing my style is awesome
I’m causing more family feuds than Richard Dawson
And the survey said, you’re dead
Fatal Flying Guillotine chops off your fucking head
MZA, who was that? Ayo, the Wu is back
Making niggas go Bo! Bo! like I’m Super Cat
Me fear no-one, oh no, here come
The Wu-Tang shogun, killer to my eardrum

2. Protect Ya Neck

One of the greatest and hardest posse cuts in Hip Hop history is on this album.  The beat is stripped down and the rhymes complex and gritty!  GZA gives us one of the greatest verses ever recorded and at the same time destroys a whole record label while making lyrical history.  Of course Cold Chillin Records was already on it’s way out, but GZA gives us something to copy, print and cut out to frame.

The Wu is too slamming for these Cold Killin’ labels
Some ain’t had hits since I seen Aunt Mabel
Be doin’ artists in like Cain did Abel
Now they money’s gettin’ stuck to the gum under the table
That’s what you get when you misuse what I invent
Your empire falls and you lose every cent
For tryna blow up a scrub
Now that thought was just as bright as a 20-watt light bulb
Should’ve pumped it when I rocked it
Niggas so stingy they got short arms and deep pockets
This goes on in some companies
With majors, they’re scared to death to pump these
First of all, who’s your A&R
A mountain climber who plays an electric guitar
But he don’t know the meanin’ of dope
When he’s lookin; for a suit-and-tie rap that’s cleaner than a bar of soap
And I’m the dirtiest thing in sight
Matter of fact, bring out the girls and let’s have a mud fight

1. C.R.E.A.M.

What do you get when the production is clean as a whistle and the lyrics are powerful and uplifting?  You get the number one track off this unbelievable debut album!  The song samples a beautiful piano riff from The CharmelsAs Long as I Got You” and mesmerizes us from the start.  Funny how you can take an R&B ballad from 1967 produced by Isaac Hayes and turn it into legendary Hip Hop track!  The verses are from Raekwon and Inspecktah Deck while Meth runs the hook and to say that one was better than the other would be a shame!

[Verse 1: Raekwon]

I grew up on the crime side, the New York Times side
Staying alive was no jive
Had secondhands, Mom’s bounced on old man
So then we moved to Shaolin land
A young youth, yo, rocking the gold tooth,’Lo goose
Only way I be gettin’ the G off was drug loot
And let’s start it like this son, rolling with this one and that one
Pulling out Gats for fun
But it was just a dream for the teen who was a fiend
Started smoking woolas at 16
And running up in gates, and doing hits for high stakes
Making my way on fire escapes
No question I would speed for cracks and weed
The combination made my eyes bleed
No question I would flow off and try to get the dough all
Sticking up white boys in ball courts
My life got no better, same damn ‘Lo sweater
Times is rough and tough like leather
Figured out I went the wrong route
So I got with a sick-ass clique and went all out
Catching keys from across seas
Rolling in MPV’severy week we made forty G’s
Yo nigga respect mine or here go the TEC-9
Ch-chick-POW,move from the gate now

[Hook: Method Man]
Cash rules everything around me:
CREAM, get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y’all
Cash rules everything around me:
CREAM, get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y’all

[Verse 2: Inspectah Deck]
It’s been twenty-two long hard years of still struggling
Survival got me bugging, but I’m alive on arrival
I peep at the shape of the streets
And stay awake to the ways of the world cause shit is deep
A man with a dream with plans to make cream
Which failed; I went to jail at the age of fifteen
A young buck selling drugs and such who never had much
Trying to get a clutch at what I could not
The court played me short, now I face incarceration
Pacin’ – going upstate’s my destination
Handcuffed in the back of a bus, forty of us
Life as a shorty shouldn’t be so rough
But as the world turned I learned life is hell
Living in the world no different from a cell
Every day I escape from Jakes giving chase,selling base
Smoking bones in the staircase
Though I don’t know why I chose to smoke sess
I guess that’s the time when I’m not depressed
But I’m still depressed and I ask what’s it worth?
Ready to give up so I seek the old Earth
Who explained working hard may help you maintain
To learn to overcome the heartaches and pain
We got stickup kids, corrupt cops, and crack rocks and
Stray shots, all on the block that stays hot
Leave it up to me while I be living proof
To kick the truth to the young Black youth
But shorty’s running wild, smoking sess, drinking beer
And ain’t trying to hear what I’m kicking in his ear
Neglected for now, but yo, it gots to be accepted
That what? That life is hectic

This album is legendary and cannot be compared to anything ever made before and after it’s release.  If your favorite track is not on this list, don’t worry!  Any song off this album is classic, this is just my favorites according to rhymes and beats.  Simple as that!

-Al E.

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