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Wu-Tang Clan, “Protect Ya Neck”

The sonic elements in this classic Wu track are incredible. There’s the drum loop, the bass line loop, the sporadic piano and more that pleases the ear. More than 20 years later, it's still widely considered as RZA’s best work yet.

Wu-Tang

Earl Sweatshirt, "Molasses"

Despite the vulgar hook, Earl Sweatshirt displays his wordplay skills on a crackle-like sample loop that sounds elegant. Leave it to RZA to make a beat similar to one found on Liquid Swords.

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Wu-Tang Clan, “C.R.E.A.M.”

The nine-headed rap crew spoke many truths on “C.R.E.A.M.” With RZA handling the soft, melodic instrumental, the single has grown into a memorable hip-hop classic, and the sentiment—Cash Rules Everything Around Me—has found its way into countless rhymes ever since.

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Watch The Throne, "New Day"

The driving bass drum sets the tone, with the Nina Simone sample floating over everything and lending an almost haunted aspect to the entire production. Thick keys underneath it all help things along, while the extra production behind the hook gets instantly stuck in the head. The track gains all the more relevance three years after its release, as both rappers' verses deal with protecting their future children, and now that has become a reality for Jay and 'Ye.

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GZA, "Shadowboxin'"

Laid back groove with a bass line that steals the show. The vocal sample is a quick, repetitive "oh man" that adds just enough to keep listeners on their toes, and RZA's scratches on the intro and the hook keep people guessing. It's the perfect platform for Meth's too-cool flow and GZA's old-school knowledge.

GZA

Kanye West, “White Dress”

While this track didn’t make any of his albums, “White Dress” was a highlight off the soundtrack to The Man With The Iron Fists. Featuring a looping sample of “Just me and you,” piano arrangements and light drums, ‘Ye speaks on a lover that many rap fans paralleled to Kim Kardashian.

Kanye-West

The LOX, Ghostface Killah And Raekwon, "Wu Block"

It’s the clash of the titans. "Wu Block" comes correct with hard-hitting lyricism that sounds pitch-perfect over RZA’s methodic instrumental.

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Method Man, "Bring The Pain"

Maybe the smoothest vocal sample in his catalog anchors the verses over a straightforward drum line. But it's the single piano key that comes in around the hook that sets it apart; it's so simple and so singular that it makes a bigger impact than an entire orchestra would.

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AZ, "Doe Or Die" (RZA Remix)

The powerful twin attack of AZ and Raekwon is propelled by the thumping bass drum over a quick three and four-note horn line which marks the measures. The decision to drop the horn line for the second half of each 16 breaks things up even further, giving each MC two separate beats to flow over while they trade back and forth.

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Raekwon, “Criminology”

Over booming bass and a horn-laden production, RZA serves up the right amount of grittiness for Ghost and Rae to go off.

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Gravediggaz, "1-800-Suicide" (Poisonous Remix)

The introduction is creepy as hell, but once the drums kick in you get a real taste of that classic RZA sound; dusty loops, weird keys in the background, and a beat that flat out knocks. The song's second part subscribes to another RZA staple; the descending, intimidating and commanding sample best known from Wu-Tang's "7th Chamber."

gravediggaz

ODB, "Give It To Ya Raw"

R.I.P. to a legend. Ol’ Dirty Bastard delivers that old school flavor with dense verses over some dramatic production. While every Wu member held their own behind the mic, ODB just had a unique style that couldn’t be beaten.

ODB

Wu-Tang Clan, “Triumph”

RZArector loops in a prominent soul sample for the Wu’s no-hook, all bars approach. An epic posse cut that gets constant plays.

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Kanye West, “Dark Fantasy”

After a collective of voices start off the intro with “Can we get much higher,” the motion begins with RZA’s sharpest beat of his career. ‘Ye talks about everything he’s accomplished. You better have Yeezy in your Serato.

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The Black Keys, "Baddest Man Alive"

It's classic Black Keys on first listen, but hear it again and you hear RZA's Kung-Fu flavor all over it. Plus, RZA's full-force verse sounds like it runs through the Keys' distortion pedal, adding that extra twisted element to a track that already oozes badass-ness.

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