on 13 March 2002
I'm seeing alot of people bad mouthing this album. They are wrong. Here's why this album deserves a whole five star rating.
Track 1. After a lovely back to basics intro with kung fu flick samples and all, " Chamber Music" starts playing. I loved the beat and the Tune made it easy for Raekwon to flow a beatiful first verse. But of course even with a catchy chorus from Method Man, the Gza steals the show.
Track 2. "Careful" takes me back to their very first song, bring da ruckus. It has a hard core, skeletal Rza beat and all the rappers, even Cappadonna, spit good verses and catchy chorus skits on this track.
Track 3. This track takes quite a long time to get used to. And what takes even longer to get used to is Ghost face spilling his heart out onto the mike. But don't worry, he does this alot on the W. The beat is slightly weak on this track but it's saved by Ghost's great lyrical flow.
Track 4. Red Man kicks us straight off with an explosive verse. One of the best beats on the album and Method Man clearly outshining all emcees in sight, this track is a classic Wu Banga!
Track 5. If you like Jr. Reid and Masta Killa, you'll love this track. They work nicely together. Masta Killa spits two steady deep throat verses inbetween an almost regie chorus. Good beat. Good tune, great track.
Track 6. I don't like Ol Dirty's style in this song. He sounds as if he's singing a hyme in church...Liven up Ol Dirty! But of course after a relativley weak track the Gza jumps in and saves it.
Track 7. You're probably all familiar with this one so I won't go into too much detail. Ghost face and Gza rule the track but with good verses from all 9 emcees.
Track 8. Nas does surprisingly well on this song. I love the beat and the lyrics of this song and feel it's a really back to basics track from the RZA. Play it loud.
Track 9. Before you completely skip this track due to Ghost face's howling. Take the time to get used to it and respect the lyrics. It has a deep recial message and with Isacc Hayes, (Chef from South Park) supplying the vocals, you can't go far wrong.
Track 10. This is, like the intro says, a Wu Banga. Meth throws the illest hook I've heard on the album and the mysterious Street Life, (who I think should have had all of Cappadonna's verses as well personally) flows a nice verse. This is a classic track.
Track 11. Short but sweet. Busta Rhymes spits Wu Lyrics like he's a pro at it. And damn nearly is! But like most tracks with the Genius on them, Gza hops in to outshine eveyone with his simple, yet scientific lyrics.
Track 12. You'll all be familiar with the Gravel Pit by now. Just incase you're not. The beat's amazing, the tune's catchy, and the lyrics are out of this world.
Track 13. Here is my first and only critisism for this album. Ghost face and Rza have already done a colaberation of racial equality on this album! And " Can't go to sleep" is better than this track so why they put it in is beyond me. But just after it comes in the illest little beat for the dopest outro on any Wu tang Album. The track isn't in the titles but it's mainly about clapping. Raekwon, Ghostface and Method Man flow all over the track, making the previous blunder un noticed.
So as a whole. This album deserves it's five stars, because all the Wu tang have done is taked their style, and altered it slightly. This shouldn't be looked upon as a mistake but as originality. Therefore, the Wu tang still have their place in my heart.
on 3 March 2003
It seems that whatever the quality of the solo albums and the many Wu-affiliated albums, when the Wu have a family get together at their hive, they seem to produce only the sweetest honey. Their debut, the hugely influential ‘Enter The Wu Tang’ is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest hip hop albums ever, and its follow-up ‘Forever’, while perhaps a little long, was another classic hip hop LP. Unlike, the previous Wu Tang LPs though, ‘The W’, was released in the wake of some pretty shoddy solo albums from some of the Wu’s key players (Method Man, Gza and Raekwon). This time though the Wu have brought along a few friends (a first for a Wu group effort). Redman, Busta Rhymes, Junior Reid, Snoop Dogg, Isaac Hayes and Nas all lend their support.
After a (now typically) kitsch kung-fu movie sample is dealt with, Method Man yells, “We’re Back!” at the start of ‘Chamber Music’. It’s a strangely cathartic moment, when the horror of his ‘Tical 2000’ album is washed away in an instant; and when Method Man (possibly the laziest member of the Wu around the release of ‘The W’) means business, you know the rest can’t be far behind. And indeed, they aren’t.
Perhaps due to the critical mauling most of their second solo albums took, or just because the pressure of rapping solo on every track is off, each MC is back to their best. It is Ghostface Killah, however, who most often stands out above his peers. On ‘Protect Ya Neck’, he spits, “taught y’all ni**ers how to rap / reimburse me.” Elsewhere, a pre-incarceration ODB is rambling more untidily than ever on, ‘Conditioner’. But for the most part this is a group effort.
‘Careful (Click Click)’ is, for me, the best Wu track since ‘CREAM’. It’s a very claustrophobic track; the eerie dungeon sounds, sleigh bells and the sound of an empty clip make it an uncomfortable listening. Those looking for something more commercial should turn their attention to ‘Gravel Pit’, the Wu’s first attempt at a truly commercial track. The 1920s swing-era opening is followed by a strangely hypnotic sample aided by Method Man’s constant, “back and forth” couplet.
The single, ‘I Can’t Go To Sleep’ is horrific and beautiful at the same time and in equal measure. Again, it is Ghostface who makes the song – it is the story of black oppression over the centuries. It marks a much more mature Wu Tang we’re hearing here as Ghostface cries, “I can’t go to sleep / Feds jumping out their jeeps / I can’t go to sleep / babies with flies on their cheeks / it’s hard to go to sleep.” Rza’s string arrangement fits perfectly and he and Ghostface seem genuinely affected as they sing (yes sing, not just rap) the lyrics. The fact that neither Ghostface nor Rza’s voice can cope leaves Isaac Hayes the task of balancing the track. Hayes’ baritone is the perfect partner to Ghostface’s soprano rap and Rza’s hyperactive nonsense.
The running story of the album is the chaos, paranoia and sadness that lies at the heart of the American underbelly. Tracks such as ‘Jah World’, ‘Let My N***ers Live’ and ‘One Blood Under W’ highlight this perfectly. These tracks allow the Wu, more than ever, to become a cohesive unit as they paint lyrical pictures of inner-city life as an everlasting nightmare. The tracks featuring reggae singer Junior Reid, in particular, allow the Wu to become more pensive and observant than ever. Reid’s calming influence the perfect foil to the troubled rhymes of Ghostface, Gza et al.
After the lazy, uninspired works that have been emanating from the Wu hive recently, each member seems to have brought their best work to the table for ‘The W’. The Wu Tang Clan will never be the same group that released ‘Enter The Wu Tang’. How could they be? They’ve achieved their goals; they’ve become a legendary, multi-platinum selling rap act. There’s no going back from here. If this LP is the start of a new chapter for the Wu Tang Clan, let’s all hope they can continue in this form. For ‘The W’ is potent reminder of just how good the Wu can be.
on 9 February 2001
The last wu solo album (Ghostface Killah's excellent Supreme Clientelle) promised great things for this album. On first listen I didn't like this album. It has now been fixed in my cd player for the last 3 months, and I have even played it more than 36 Chambers. Method Man is no longer the henchman of the clan, now it is Ghostface Killah. He delivers some of the best raps on this album in the history of hip-hop. Things don't start well with the slow Jah World, the weakest song on the album. Chamber Music and Careful (click,click) are amazing. They feature some of the best wu rapping ever. There are a few weak tracks, such as Conditioner and Let my niggas live, but everything else is pure class. Masta Killa shines on One Blood, the sheer speed of rapping to the phat beats in The Jump Off and the catchy, party piece Do You Really (Thang, Thang). This is similar to Gravel Pit, but better. Nothing has ever closed an album better than The W. I can't go to sleep is one of the best songs ever made. It is beautiful and definitely the most emotional song ever. Ghostface delivers another groundbreaking rap and the RZA adds to this with the best rap he has ever done. The closing track is fast flowing with high high speed raps. If this shows where the wu are going, then they are going to be better than ever and nobody else stands a chance.
on 23 October 2013
Quick review. This for me is possibly the weakest Wu-Tang release; the fact it was critically more successful than Wu-Tang Forever beggars belief. To be fair, two thirds of the album are actually pretty good. Tracks one to eight are a four star affair (i.e. I like the tracks) with Chamber Music and Protect Your Neck (The Jump Off) garnering five stars from me on Media Player. Unfortunately the last third of the album from I can't go to sleep to the closer Jah World are incredibly mediocre. What was a four to a four and half star album suddenly deteriorates into a filler-ridden three star and a half album.
The production is raw, which is fine, but there is a heavy emphasis on the Kun Fu/Samurai mythology with what I think are too many skits and film samples. They serve to give the album a patchy feel, even by Hip Hop standards where non musical tracks are rife. Fortunately the follow-up Iron Flag was a huge step in the right direction for the Wu; polished production, almost no filler, no distracting skits and samples, and a consistent album feel. The W is for me an okay album at best, therefore a three star to a three star and a half affair. This is not a great Hip Hop album by most standards, but may still be worth acquiring to get a fuller picture of the Wu-Tang discography.
on 10 January 2001
The long awaited album, The W, hits the shelves with more of a splash than the anticipated bang. Even still this has got to be rated their second best album pushing their double c.d. to number 3. The Wu incorporates all of the Shoalin effects as each member attacts you verse after verse with their unique styles. Method Man shines on this album as the mainstream face of the Wu while slang bosses Cappa, Raekwon and Ghostface keep you rewiding the deck after each bar. The production of this album is also top noche. The Rza didn't hold anything behind when it came to putting his heart and soul onto this album along with the rest of the Wu. "Medgar took one to the head for intergrating college" Rza cries as this brutal picture is harmonized with passion and the baritone of Southparks Chef Isaac Hayse puts down a reality check with his lines. Over all I would rate this album a 5. You get your soul, you get your groove and you get your back the f*ck up and jump feeling all on one album.
on 15 November 2001
After "Forever", a rambling, lax collection of cuts with few high points, many thought the Wu had fallen off. However, from the slammin' intro of "The W", it is clear they've pulled off a return to form. "Chamber Music", the first track, is simply genious. Excellent martial arts sound effects, followed by wicked far-east background sounds give the track an athmosphere of menace. The rapping is supremely tight, and this kind of rhyming and menacing feel are carried through, even on the worst tracks. Even on these poorer tracks, like the boring "Careful Careful", the Wu's rhymes still outclass most rappers. The Wu are definatley at their best on the faster paced tracks, such as "Redbul" and "Thang Thang", but their new and experimental soul sounds on "I Can't Go To Sleep" provide an emotional listen. All over, a quality album, with a few low points -but even these points are still better than a lot of stuff out there.
on 20 December 2000
3 years us Wu Tang fans have had to wait for the follow up to the Double CD ''Forever''. Although this never met expectations and acclaim of their debut album ''Enter The Wu Tang'', it still topped the charts around the world with little airplay. Year 2000 now and most people seem to think that Wu Tang have fallen off. But one listen to this album and you will realise what us Wu fans have been deprieved of these last 3 years. There isnt one word which can summon up just how good an album this is. ''The W'' has really answered all the haters of Wu Tang. The album is a different approach to it from the others as there is different styles from songs aimed at the commercial market to pure Wu Tang joints. My personnal favourites are CLICK CLICK, and this is the old Wu at its best with U-God coming off very nicely on it. Another is GRAVEL PIT which is getting praise throughout the music industry with Rza's production as excellent as ever and Method Man, well what can i say, this man has got to be the illest rapper ever. Other tracks that stand out is THE JUMP OFF, which is the follow up to PROTECT YA NECK. DO YOU REALLY? is another track which is aimed at the commercial side and this is a real club banger track. Ghostface also comes off strong with I CANT GO TO SLEEP which is similar to ALL THAT I GOT IT YOU. Well overall Wu Tang have come off tops with an album that they couldnt really make much better, the cameo roles by Busta Rhymes, Redman and Snoop Dogg add to the greatness of the album. All the people who was hating Wu, after they listen to this album they gonna be loving Wu!
on 28 November 2000
To those of you young or old whose musical tastes extends no further than pop/rock and feel the beatles are the most important popular musical force of the past century you may be suprised to learn that for the past seven years they have been gradually surpassed by a group of 9/10 individuals who have a greater grasp of rythym than ringo and whose leader is of a higher level of musical genius than john or paul could ever have attained. To those who have attained knowledge of the wu tang musical empire, this modern masterpiece will be conformation to you that the wu tang clan are indeed the greatest musical collective ever. This album is in many ways similar to the groundbreaking 'enter the 36 chambers' in terms of originality, mind blowing production and never before heard rhyming skills but in many ways is the better album as it feels more complete. When I first heard of the numerous guest appearances I felt the group feel essential to the clan would be compromised however if anything, Snoop, Busta, Junior Reid and the musical Legends Nas and Isaac Hayes have enhanced the quality even further. There is simply no weakness here. The reggae feel to the album present on Junior Reid's two appearances "one blood under the W" and the dark brooding "Jah World" will undoubtedly see a lotof the hip hop world following suit similar to the way in which Rza was imitated after the 1993 debut (dare I say even by the likes of dj Premier). A lot has been said about ODB's absense however although a truly magnificent mc he is not such a great loss as this album's tempo and feel wouldn't have been completely suited to him. The one track he does appearv on - the west coast inspired "conditioner" with Snoop Dogg sees his delivery more restrained than before but still effective. This track highlights Rza's production vesatility as he even produces Dre's forte (lazy, hypnotic g-funk) at a higher level. Other noticeable points on this record is the way in which Masta Killa has improved in the last three years to a rapper of high quality flow whereas before on wu tang forever he was more inclined to speak over the beats. Check out the first two tracks "chamber music" and "careful" which he makes his own. The best contribution on the album is made by Ghostface. This man is now without doubt the greatest mc on the planet and should go down in american popular music history. This man is pushing rapping to new boundarys as his verse on "I cant go to sleep" featuring Isaac Hayes proves where he delivers his verse as if he is truly crying which evokes great emotion just by listening. This track is similar in feel to "all i got is you" on ghost's first album. I feel however the best track is the last one "outro" which as if to signal while going back to the raw mc roots, the clan is taking hip hop in a new direction. The world should forever salute "The W".
on 25 November 2000
The Wu-Tang Clan are my favourite rap group of all times (I like them even more than Ruff Ryders, and I love their stuff). This album, which is their 3rd as a collective, is an attempt to get back to the "good old days" when their debut album as a collective "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 chambers)" was released. I still personally think that 36 chambers is their best album and i don't think that they'll ever quite reach that quality again, as when they created it, they were just doing their thing... but now, some 7 or so years later, they are deliberately having to "try" and replicate that album and it's whole sound. Something that can't be easy to do. I think they've done a very good job of it though. they've managed to create a mixture of sounds on the album but yet managed to brand them all with their traditional Shaolin and Wu style. The newer type of Wu-sound can be found on more party tracks like "Gravel Pits", "Do you really (thang, thang)" and "Protect ya Neck (the jump off)" which combines both original wu style from '93 with wu style of 2000. It's a softer and less hardcore version of the original Protect ya neck. I haven't been that shocked to find that "teeny boppers" (who don't usually appreciate the Wu-Tang) are snapping up this album like hot cakes, It is obviously the more commercial single "Gravel Pits" which is what is making them buy the album. Don't get me wrong though, I love Gravel pits... in fact, I love the hell out of Gravel Pits. My other favourite cuts have to include, "Protect ya Neck (the Jump off)", "Careful (click,click)" as this is classic Wu-sound. it's a really tight track with some good RZA production. In fact the whole album is tight, due mostly to RZA overseeing and producing most of the tracks. I love "Conditioner" feat Snoop as I Ol' Dirty B****** is one of my favourite rappers of all time. I was disappointed that he is only found on this track on the whole album, but i know it's to do with conflicts with the law, of which I won't go into now. The album is also dedicated to him. Whilst I give the album 5 stars, i would give it 5 1/2 if it was possible, If ol' dirty was on it more. I thought that his loose drunken, shaolin style was greatly missed, and it would have just added the icing on the cake, and made it sound more like 36 chambers. Although, i thought Cappadonna was great on the album, he's not quite a replacement for the big baby jesus. My favourite MC from the Wu-Tang is Method Man, and he always has been. As usual he sets the mic on fire with his usual johny blaze style, but I actually thought that Ghostface had to be the most impressive. His cool high voice, with rapid-fire lyrics, and Ghost/Wu slang galore, it's enough to please anyone's ear tastebuds and with the news of him and Raekwon working on Cuban linx 2, I think that the Wu-World order has already started. Other great tracks are: Redbull, One blood under W, let my n****s live, hollow bones, chamber music... oh, what am I saying, I like the whole album!!! If the wu could improve it anymore, it would be to include Ol' Dirty more and to make it longer... it only clocks in at just under an hour, about 59 mins.
on 25 November 2000
So we have stepped across the threshold of the new millenium and rap is bigger than ever. Commercial rap is riding high on a crest of multi-ethnic popularity and possible contractual duress is forcing artists to churn out 'less than inspired' pieces. This was never the case with the Wu Tang Clan.
Pioneers of a refreshing wave of 'live' hip hop in the early nineties, they injected a much-needed energy into hip hop when it was at risk of stagnating in a pool of West Coast Jheri curl juice. They now return in 2000 with a hark back to those halcyon days with a blazing new album.
Media snippets and rumours abounded as to the post-millenial direction they would take and it seems that the promise to recapture the late eighties/early nineties hip hop zeitgeist has been kept. After the slow, sombre beats and loops that dominated late nineties Wu production, we are now treated to tracks with an accelerated tempo suffused with an array of ill loops which emanates deeply industrial/uderground vibes accordingly.
Lyrically, The W hails Ghostface as possibly the greatest MC alive! 'I Can't go to Sleep' and 'Jah World' display the most emotive and expressive delivery heard in hip hop - Ghost adopts his status as the rap Marvin Gaye. He manages to simultaneously break all the established rules, yet his lyrics still fit the beats like elegant fingers in a velvet glove. This is not to say that the other clan members don't shine, it is just that the guest appearances can't seem to match the lyrical diversity of the Clan members themselves.
Rza's work in the movie realm has placed him in good stead for the production here. He runs the whole gamut, going from hauntingly eerie('Hollow Bones' and 'Careful') to party loops ('Protect Your Neck II') to orchestrally emotional ('I Can't go to Sleep').
Personally, the only thing the album is missing is the unorthodox and wild lyricism of ODB (he appears suprisingly clean and sober on 'Conditioner') then it would have received five stars. But overall it is still a must for all hip hop fans.