November 9th 1993 Marks As One Of The Greatest Days In Hip Hop History...
Midnight Marauders brought forth a sonic, but cerebral jazzy sound at the same time. Others like Gangstarr and Diamond D had fused jazz masterfully into Hip Hop’s conscious before; but the tracks were usually of the more mellow variety. Now with Marauders, there was a different vibe. It’s like the horns made you want to jump into action; but at the same time the bass and vibes made you want to just relax, chill, and burn a little something. To the contrary, Enter The Wu had a grimy and dark sound beat-wise, that was matched with the type of raw and highly descriptive lyrics that we would see define the era for at least the next four years. Add on top of that, it was nine of them-all with a different style of their own. This, in and of itself was a groundbreaking first; but The Clan actually break an even bigger barrier down as they were the first group to have the freedom to branch out its individual members to sign with whatever other labels they chose. Previously, and still mostly today, the group’s label held control over every member. If you wanted to go solo, you had to sign with that same label, or leave the group all together.
As awe-inspiring as Enter The 36 Chambers was, few remember that success actually came pretty slow for The Wu-Tang Clan. Both RZA and GZA had seen disappointment as solo artists before uniting with the others and forming like Voltron. And while “Protect Ya Neck” and “Method Man” took underground hip hop heads hearts and minds immediately, the rest of the hip hop world was still in the dark. It wouldn’t be until 1994’s release of “C.R.E.A.M.” that everyone else caught on. And from there the bees began to swarm and takeover. Each member would go on to release solo albums and side projects, while proteges like Killarmy, Sunz Of Man, Cappadonna, Killah Priest, Theodore Unit, and dozens of others would feed us for the next twenty-five years. For awhile, the recently relaunched Wu-Wear clothing brand would be a must have-and clan members would be featured constantly in movies and tv. Meanwhile, for A Tribe Called Quest, perhaps their greatest album would be the peak for them, and signal the sadly inevitable decline that comes once groups hit the mountaintop. Internal friction between Phife Dawg and Q-Tip would negatively impact the group from here on out; and after releasing an EP called “The Jam” in 1996, ATCQ would announce that 1998’s “The Love Movement would be their final album ( a long eighteen years later we would finally see a final reunion, with the critically-acclaimed “We Got It From Here” album in 2016). Both Q-Tip and Phife would put out solid solo work, it was never as good as the two of them together with Jarobi and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Phiife died of complications from diabetes in 2017.
Far from being immune to some of those same internal struggles, The WTC has continued on. Their struggles have often played out loudly for all to see in books, documentaries and interviews. But the family bond has been just strong enough to keep bringing them together from time to time. Hopefully the forthcoming and untitled album, executive produced by Ghostface Killah, in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the debut of The Wu World Order, will provide the heat that we remember them for…
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