Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang / Priority Records, 1999


REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Perhaps the most innovative of the gangsta rap genre, the Wu-Tang Clan have combined the mysticism of a Saturday afternoon marathon of "Kung-Fu" with the grim reality of racism and urban violence.

And if the phrase "strength in numbers" proves true, it is definitely with the Wu. Because the group has so many members, they have been able to make an impact on the music world every year since they formed . That's mainly due to the solo projects each band member has released since the band's inception.

Fortunately for casual Wu fans, Wu-Chronicles is now available. The "best of" collection features highlights from each of the band members' solo outings along with a couple unreleased tracks thrown in the mix.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The album kicks off with "4th Chamber" from one of the better MCs of the group, Genius. Their fascination with the martial arts is immediately evident as a sample of a martial arts movie is laid out before a harsh, throbbing stacatto beat hits the listener.Less talented rappers may obsess over filling every blank air space with a relentless beat, but each member of the Wu-Tang, especially Genius and Method Man, make effective use of silence.

Fans of the late Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Christopher Wallace, will no doubt want to check out track three, "The What," as he trades off boasts with Method Man.

Though each member of the Wu-Tang has a chance to show off their certain strengths by putting all their songs on one album, it leaves the collection somewhat disjointed. With the exception of the unreleased tracks, "Latunza Hit," by the Wu-Syndicate and "96 Recreation (Demo) by Cappadonna, The RZA and O.D.B., Wu-Chronicles comes off as nothing more or less than a nicely packaged mix tape.

Critics of the gangsta rap genre will have plenty of their arguments reaffirmed with Wu-Chronicles. While the musical styles may be varied, the lyrical subjects are fairly universal. Glocks, double breasted suits and tales of enemies taken out in a litter of gunfire litter all the tracks on Wu-Chronicles along with the typical misogynistic banter associated with gangsta rap.

The only other major gripe about Wu-Chronicles is that most of the tracks come from albums that were more focused and realized than their last collaborative effort, Wu-Tang Forever. Taking them out of their context and pasting them together with the works of another group member is sort of like having an album full of Breeders and Frank Black singles. It may be a decent mix to do at home, but released on a large scale and it doesn't quite gel.

Still, for casual fans, it's definitely worth the purchase. If only due to the simple realization that you're going to bankrupt yourself trying to buy each members' one or two solo albums they have released. So, pick your favorite tracks off of Wu-Chronicles and choose your own Wu adventure.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 1999 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Wu-Tang / Priority Records, and is used for informational purposes only.