Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
I remember starting to listen to it when I was in the sixth grade, so I was probably a little bit late from when it first dropped, but once I found it, it became the soundtrack to my entire existence. The styles were just so different than anything that I had ever heard before. I grew up on a lot of West Coast gangsta rap up until that point, and when I first got introduced to Wu-Tang, it was like all these different voices and cadences and personalities, and the charisma was completely different. You had Snoop with this really silky, pimp delivery, and then you had somebody that’s a complete, polar opposite like an Ol’ Dirty Bastard or a Method Man, where it was grimy, where it sounded like four-track recordings of spitting saliva.
It brought a level of grime to the game. It brought a raw, malt liquor, my hair half-braided element of “I don’t give a fuck.” That’s what was refreshing about it to me. There was something that Wu-Tang grabbed onto that felt real and organic.
They felt very free. It wasn’t manufactured. They were capturing a moment in their recording and doing it in a way that was completely innovative in its own way, and no one really had a sound like that when Wu-Tang came out. “Protect Ya Neck” was one that stood out, “C.R.E.A.M.” But the whole project, I could literally listen to the whole thing. What’s crazy is that these guys still do Rock The Bells damn near every year, and there’s always a new generation of Wu-Tang fans. They’ve solidified their place as the greatest hip-hop group of all time.