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Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

February 16, 2015

[Album 377/1001]

Q: What do the films Super Troopers (2001), We’re the Millers (2013), and the album Enter the Wu-Tang (1993) have in common?

A: These three clips.

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1. Super Troopers
The scene where the officer has to say “meow” 10 times during a roadside stop.

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2. We’re the Millers
The ‘No Ragrets’ character that finishes every sentence with the (possibly rhetorical) question, “know what I’m sayin?”

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3. Wu-Tang, Can It Be All So Simple
I assume the 2 million other purchasers of this album did the same I thing I did upon hearing the interview at the end of this track: started keeping track of the number of times “know what I’m sayin?” was asked.220px-Wu-TangClanEntertheWu-Tangalbumcover

At first, I was worried they weren’t going to make it to the elusive 10 count.  But then towards the end, the phrase started getting dropped more frequently.  After a final flurry in the closing seconds, they hit the magic #10 just in time!

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Much like the two comedies above, I think I entered the 36 Chambers with reasonably low expectations and ended up having a lot of fun.

The strength of the record & films can be attributed to the strength of the ensemble of performers, with obnoxious characters stealing the show in each case (Farva, No Ragrets guy, and ODB respectively).

And like Super Troopers & We’re The Millers, I’ll look forward revisiting this one every few years.

Know what I’m sayin?

Meow.

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From → 1990s

19 Comments
  1. Thanks for a glimpse into a mysterious alien world.

  2. Hmm, I like this one quite a lot, I think it deserves more words. C.R.E.A.M. is one of the few hip-hop songs that gets me emotional every time. I think the main strength of the album is how good the atmosphere created by the beats matches the one created by the rapping and the lyrics. 9 MC-s and they’re all used at the right times.

    • Then more words you shall receive!

      You’re spot on Ovidiu with the well timed use of each vocalist.

      On the first listen, I found ODB annoying but then I started to look forward to his sing-song, gruff delivery. I don’t think I’d ever be able to listen to a full ODB record but in those short doses, it was really effective. Sort of like successful sitcoms – the lead character has to be relatively low key but then have the wacky sidekicks (Seinfeld with Kramer, Frasier with Niles…)

      Method Man’s force-feeding threat might also be the most creative torture since Alan Rickman’s threat to cut Robin Hood’s heart out with a spoon.

      The beats were solid throughout – I couldn’t figure out why I liked the ‘can it be all so simple’ beat so much. It turns out, it’s the beat Lauryn Hill used in Ex-Factor, easily one of my Top 5 Breakup songs!
      A few Wu-Tang solo records (GZA, Raekwon, Method Man) are also on the list so I’m curious to see how they compare to this group effort.

      • Nice writing! I fully agree with your thoughts on ODB and wish I could’ve come up with the Kramer comparison myself. The Wu did the debut and then the 5 most important MC-s all went solo (Method Man, ODB, Raekwon, GZA and Ghostface Killah) with acclaimed results. So in a way, it makes sense to hear those 5 albums before hearing Wu’s 2nd, since they came earlier chronologically and they all feature pretty much every member as well as RZA beats & production.

      • Sounds like I’ll start with Tical before moving on to Only built 4 cuban linx & liquid swords – thanks for the suggestion!

  3. I’m a big fan of this one. Not many hip hop albums I rate as high as this one. It captures a real moment … tension and a load o’ fun, knowhattasayin’? Stick with the Wu – they go on to offer a lot over the next 20+ years.

  4. That “not so funny MEOW is it” scene always cracks me up. This was a clever post – I enjoyed it a lot.

  5. I never got this one. Great linkage though!

  6. I own all the Wu main albums, and a few of the solo ones too, and this one holds first place for me, i think, for number of spins. Just a classic. I usually skip over the bit with the threats of violence (that juvenile stuff is only funny the first time, maybe) but there’s so much here that’s just so classic THEM. Ovidiu Boar nailed it, in the comments above.

  7. Tremendous record, one of my favourites. Love the martial arts stuff and the grimy feel throughout. A hip hop classic for a reason.

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