On June 7, 1979 President Jimmy Carter decreed that the month of June would be Black Music Appreciation Month. Since then, this month has been dedicated to celebrating the African American music and musicians that have helped the country to dance, express their faith through song, march against injustice, and to defend the country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.
When it comes to legendary groups in music and specifically hip-hop, there’s no way you can have the discussion without mentioning Wu-Tang Clan. They are widely considered as one of the most influential groups in hip hop. Wu-Tang is credited with helping popularize and advancing the East coast and hardcore rap scenes.
The Staten Island, New York collective was formed in 1992. The groups members included RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Kills with longtime close affiliate Cappadonna later becoming an official member. The group quickly became household names after they dropped their independent single ‘Protect Ya Neck‘ then eventually their debut album ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ in 1993. The album has consistently been ranked as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. The success off the groups first album allowed individual members to branch off and negotiate solo deals although the collective was signed to Loud/RCA.
After solo albums from Method Man (1994’s ‘Tical’), Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1995’s ‘Return of the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version’), Raekwon (1995’s ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…’), GZA (1995’s ‘Liquid Swords’) and Ghostface Killah (1996’s ‘Ironman’), the group decided it was time to regather and release music as a unit. On this day 25 years ago, Wu-Tang Clan dropped their second studio album, ‘Wu-Tang Forever.’ The classic body of work, which was released as a double album, debuted at #1 on the US Billboard 200 charts with 612,000 sales its first week. Even with very little radio airplay and their lead single ‘Triumph‘ being almost six minutes long with no chorus, the album managed to be certified four times platinum by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). This made ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ the group’s highest selling album to date. On top of those accolades, the album was also nominated for Best Rap Album at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards.
‘Wu-Tang Forever’ is applauded for the perfect meshing of RZA’s production and the precise lyricism of all of the members of the group. The impact of the group and album are still relevant today.The subject matter and styles that are heard on the album have influenced many artists way after Wu-Tangs time. Artist such as Drake and Logic have made songs with the same title to pay homage to the group. Some members are still very active in music themselves and some others are prominent actors these days too. The merchandise that Wu-Tang sells is still very lucrative. There’s even a TV show that depicts the life of the group. To say that Wu-Tang’s legacy will live on forever would be too easy, but judging by how relevant the group still is today, it would be a very accurate thing to say.
Happy 25th Anniversary to Wu-Tang Forever. Give it a spin today!