Wu-Tang Clan Ranks No.20 on XXL’s First 5 List
Time Span Between First Five Albums: Fourteen Years.
Powered by the RZA's production, the nine-man set that comprimised Wu-Tang Clan burst onto the scene in the early '90s as larger-than-life rap characters. Buyoed by dusty recordings and Kung-Fu movie samples, their debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), was a musical tour-de-force. The street single, "Protect Ya Neck" was a buzzsaw effort, rumbling and tumbling, as each MC got a turn to weave their menancng lines through the layered production. The following singles, "Method Man," "C.R.E.A.M." and "Can It Be All So Simple" backed with strong album cuts like "Da Mystery of Chessboxin" and "Bring da Ruckus" equally showcased the Clan's deep bench. Their sophomore set, Wu-Tang Forever cemented their legacy, debuting atop the charts and selling over 600,00 copies in its frist week. The RZA slyly introduced new producers on this project and cut back on the samples, but the impact was the same; "Triumph," itself along was one, a lenghty number with no chorus that managed to be a hit. The W and Iron Flag, released only a year apart from each other, continued the group's influencial run, though in different ways; and with varying sounds. Their last effort, 8 Diagrams made headlines for the collective's disagreement over direction, however, despite RZA's introduction of live instrumentation, the key players still delievered lyrically and in the years since, the final album has earned an appreciate from fans that it lacked during its onset.
_________________________With apologies to De La Soul, five is the magic number. It’s usually the amount of albums in a standard record deal, but few MCs ever fulfill their contractual obligations with as much aplomb as they started. Whether an artist peaks early or late, staying consistent over the duration of five albums has proven challenging no matter the era in hip-hop. XXLmag.com decided to rank the best first-five album runs in hip-hop history (First 5). A new act and their ranking will be revealed each day of the week throughout the month of October and the Top 5 will be revealed on November 5th. Get in on the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #XXLFirst5.