Revist The Wu: Thoughts On “Wu Tang Forever” 20 Years Later

20 years ago today The Wu Tang Clan dropped what many consider their best body of work as a unit. The album Wu Tang Forever. It was a double CD and for some, it solidified The Wu as the greatest rap group of all time.

When “Triumph” dropped, I knew I was copping the new Wu album. When I realized it was on disc 2. I played disc 2 first. Let “Triumph” rock for like 2 solid days before really getting into the entire album. To be honest, in real time. A lot of the Wu Tang Forever album wasn’t that dope to me. Especially when you take into consideration Life After Death was a double CD and whether Biggie lives till June 97 or not, it’s just a better album. By 1997, the main Wu members had made us all buy into their solo careers. Outside of “Triumph”, I bought this album to hear more GZA and Raekwon than anything. What I can say though, is that 20 years later, while the state of specifically “New York hip-hop” is getting a resurgence, this albums highlights sound terrific! The Wu collective have always been the most unique in what they did. This album solidifies that.

It’s 27 tracks and I won’t go through all of them. I just want to highlight some moments and spark some new conversations.

  • The Wu Revolutions intro is way too long, but it does have the greatest “Drunk Uncle Singing” ever on it. I got to meet Uncle Pete.
  • I feel like “As High As Wu Tang Get” is the best song on the album. If not that one “Dog S**t”. Yes better than Triumph. Sorry.
  • Inspectah Deck really gave us all he had on Triumph. No other verse of his compares on this album.
  • I’ve been saying “You gotta get some Chuckka’s F**ker” for 20 years and it has not gotten old, lol!
  • Ghostface Killah really did emerge as the best Wu Rapper on this album. I was just hating. His verse on “Projects” and “Cash Still Rules/Scary Hours” are the brightest spots on this project.
  • A lot of women that are called “Femcee’s” Rap like The RZA
  • RZA really produced the ISH out this album.
  • Maria is a sleeper song on this album.
  • Black Shampoo….No thanks dog…Why was this okayed?
  • Masta Killah still doesn’t impress me lyrically or energy wise. They could have cut some songs short.
  • The Disc 2 Intro is timeless! How was De La Soul the first ones to every try rapping to that sound/sample the RZA is talking over? Dope De La song by the way.
  • 27 tracks. They probably only needed to give us 17. The highs are extremely high and if you take off U-God and Masta Killah, some songs improve. We needed more Old Dirty and I think a Rae and Ghost album should have happened. Yes, they are all over each others albums, but a real official Rae and Ghost album should have happened. They are what make this album great track to track.

Sonically, the sound of this album could “Save New York Rap” right now. Much like 1997, it sounds like nothing else out. The replay value of it’s highlights is great and it would give New York at least 5 rappers to check for the rest of 2017. It’s street music, its gives New York a face lift and peaks interest in their pocket of the state. Not many albums and artist accomplish that today.

The Wu Tang Forever album is proof that 9 rappers putting out one album is tough. It should never be tried again. Wu Tang Clan is an anomaly. Even within that anomaly it’s surviving off half the group at best. Rae, Ghost, Dirty, Meth and RZA Production. GZA and INS have dope moments but you forget they’re on this album as songs play. Cappadonna should have replaced U-God and Masta Killah after “Camay” and “Winter Warz” in my humble opinion. I still have Wu Tang Forever as the third best Wu album behind 36 Chambers and The W. You can tell money and fame were starting to change some things within the Clan. Some for the better and some for the worst. The changing of the guard is solidified with this album. Method Man might have been the front man of the team and the one to watch in the beginning, but boy did Raekwon and Ghostface steal every second of that thunder on this album and moving forward. Cuban Link and Ironman weren’t flukes and they showed that by a large margin.

Listen to this album today. Give me your thoughts. How has it aged to you? I’d honestly like to know. If you were a person who felt this album was classic and the best Wu album. How do you feel now? Let Me Know Something.

Be Safe. Be Humble. Live Hip-Hop.

 

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