This post was inspired by the few people who told me to listen to a rap album that they all swore by as being “dope” and saying “I’d definitely mess with it”. Although they weren’t totally wrong, it did make me think and appreciate what came before as well as some of what is here now. So, it’s time we really understand and appreciate, The Wu-Tang Clan as well as respect TDE.
Sorry this is the first post of the month. Got to keep the lights on.
We could all point to a few reasons as to why rap music doesn’t sell as well as it did 10 or even 20 plus years ago but let’s focus on the crew and the rap group today. With the exception of TDE, a lot of rap crews, cliques and factions are filled with a lot of guys who sound exactly the same. They even pick the same kind of beats to rap to. I understand being influenced by sound but it’s hard to support any team where every man and woman on the roster sounds the same. Don’t let the first guy that breaks through be the best rapper, because then you are in a position where you really sound like an undesirable carbon copy and that won’t help you get a W in the music business.
This is why today, I got to take time to truly understand, appreciate and respect the Wu-Tang Clan!
No slight to the other great groups of the game like EPMD, Mobb Deep, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Pharcyde, The LOX, CNN and many many others but I want to prove a point of uniqueness with it’s greatest and hardest example.
The Wu-Tang Clan at it’s core was 9 members. The RZA, The GZA [Genuis] Ol Dirty Bastard, Inspecktah Deck, Raekwon The Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah and The Method Mad. By 1996 Capadonna was be in the fold as the 10th member. All of them could hop on 1 beat and none of them would even sound similar.
Think about that. You got 10 people on 1 beat. They don’t have the same style, delivery, cadence or bars. Even on the debut albums they sounded different. GZA sounded nothing like Dirty who sounded nothing like Raekwon and Ghostface. Yet they were a team that ran under 1 flag and 1 mission.
Yes, some members are better than others, but every member has their own style. Even the solo albums they put out were unique member to member. Cuban Link and Liquid Swords are two different vibes and stories. Same with Return to The 36 Chambers and Tical or Ironman.
Why does this not happen now? Why are we as rap fans and supporters being forced to accept a group of dudes who sound alike and basically give us lower quality versions of the best artist in the crews album? Why can’t more rap crews adopt the Wu Doctrine and give us all different flavors of what they see and experience? Why are we in a time where we basically stream or free download 2-3 versions of 1 good to arguably great album?
How did 9 men come through and do in 1994 until…, what seemingly 2-4 men or women can’t do in 2016 outside of 1? It does nothing but raise the value of the time that was the golden era, which was 90’s hip-hop. This is why I now understand why many have been saying “Wu-Tang Clan is the greatest rap group ever” and it’s hard to deny that. Original, Hit singles, Platinum albums group and solo, World Tours and over a decade of relevancy beyond music and all not sounding like someone else in the Clan. It’s seemingly unreal and impossible by the lower standard of today.
That’s why you got to respect TDE. Those 4 guys can drop all their albums in the same month and you would get 4 different albums. I don’t think there’s another rap crew outside of them that can say that today. If I’m missing anyone, please bring it to my attention. TDE is going to have a big year simply because they are about to provide the most sound of the year. You know Q is not going to drop a “TPAB” and you know Ab-Souls Bars and Jay Rocks street sermons won’t be identical. All that leaves no pressure on SZA and Isaiah to do whatever it is they do, because it can be in another direction and people will still support it cause they mess with the movement that is TDE.
Take the Wu and TDE mindset, but be yourself. Force the sound of music in a different direction from “The Big Homey” in your camp.