Saturday, September 17, 2011

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

Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Published in 1993

There is an aesthetic to great art.

The aesthetic is very important, because what it does is create an atmosphere, and create a world for you to live while appreciating to the art.  That's why great art has an aesthetic, because instead of changing the world that the album lives in, they change the world in which you live.

There was once a time when the aesthetic of the Wu-Tang Clan wasn't the model for everyone. Please, remember back to the first time you heard a Wu-Tang song.

I can tell you exactly when I heard my first Wu-Tang song.  I was watching MTV at some ungodly hour, when I couldn't sleep at my grandmother's house.  I was such a suburbs kid that my parents didn't have TV, so I got most of my music straight off the radio, and from MTV when I could.  One early morning at my grandmother's house, when they show videos on MTV, I was appreciating the incredibly over the top videos that I got to see on it.

The video art is something that I feel has been lost. I know I was watching deep into the video revolution, but I remember distinctly being impressed by some and disregarding others. I became a cinephile for the three minute movies that I got to see on the TV.  So, when something made me sit up and notice, I knew that it was good.

This is what it was.

"Tiger Style. Tiger Style. Tiger Style."

You want a fucking monster hook to your beat?  Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothing to fuck with.  You want something that will make people sit up and listen?  Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothing to fuck with.  You want to make a fucking statement about everything that you want to represent?  Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothing to fuck with.

Seriously, listen to that song right now.  It's so nasty good that it still makes me want to jump up and go crazy.  The production is so strong that everything comes through as the strongest fucking song ever.  The beat is just perfect and it just brings you in.

First off, Wu-Tang loves movies.  Most of their vocal samples are from dubbed Martial Arts movies.  So, when they started making videos, they made movies.  There was a story. There was an idea.  They created a world.  I wanted to live there, and back then, I didn't hold with rap that much.

Over time, my anti-rap stance has softened so much that it has pretty much reversed, but back then, I was pretty sure it was not that great.  I was wrong.  I was so wrong, but the reason I was wrong is a pretty interesting one.  I thought that it wasn't for me.  I thought it was for people who lived harder, who had a harder time than me, and the artists tried to reinforce that distance.  This is why Wu-Tang was a sea change.

Wu-Tang made the world sound like something to which I was able to relate.  The beats were so broken down, and beautiful, that I could completely get locked in on the beat alone.  Then, the flow was so strong that I could completely latch on.  The vocals were strong, distinctive, and filled with character.  Every time I listened to them, I was slowly brought into their fold, and following along was insane.

Everyone in the world knows that you should listen to this album.  If you want to hear the moment that hip-hop changed from straight hardcore gangster to some kind of strange mix of nerd culture, insane flows, and obscure corners, you need look no further than this album.

Seriously, go listen to it now.  I'll be listening to it too.  Crank it up, Wu-Tang for life.

"Diversify your bonds."

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