That’s My Jam is a weekly feature where one person from the Selective Hearing staff goes to wax poetic about music that is pivotal to their musical tastes. Whether that would be an album, a song, or anything in-between. We all had to start somewhere. This week: Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Released November 9, 1993
- Bring Da Ruckus
- Shame On A Nigga
- Clan In Da Front
- Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber
- Can It Be All So Simple
- Da Mystery of Chessboxin’
- Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta Fuck Wit
- Method Man
- Protect Ya Neck
- Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber – Part II
- Method Man (Skunk Remix)
If we were talking about favourite hip-hop acts, I put the Wu-Tang Clan in my number one slot. 36 Chambers is exhibit A. RZA’s production with classic Kung-Fu film samples and the grimy, dark, yet eclectic sounds combined with nine distinct and unique rhyme styles and personalities create one of the most important and pivotal albums in hip-hop history.
There are straight-up hardcore street songs like Bring Da Ruckus and Protect Ya Neck, but there are also deeply personal records of struggle on C.R.E.A.M. and Can It Be All So Simple. You don’t need to go any further than Method Man for a not-too-serious, good-time kind of song.
36 Chambers and the Wu changed my life. I ended up learning more than I expected to when I first discovered the album. The Wu exposed me to what it meant to be a part of the Five-Percent Nation, which revealed another level to the album. 36 Chambers spawned two books, both of which presented thoughts and ideas I still apply to this day.
The Wu-Tang Clan movement is a monolith. The sheer amount of influence in the hip-hop and other mediums and fields is awe-inspiring. Many people owe a lot to the W, from movies, comic books, television, academia, and everything else that intersects with it. I certainly do.
I’ve been asked over the years why I love hip-hop. Along with other reasons, one of the biggest reasons I devote so much of my life to the culture is that I found and cultivated a sense of identity and self-confidence. As a skinny, small, and shy Cambodian-American growing up, it was difficult for me to stand up for myself. Simply saying no took a lot of effort for me.
Hip-hop gave this small kid the confidence of a seven-foot-tall person with a megaphone. While others may question it, I firmly believe that hip-hop saved my life. Entering the 36 Chambers is core to my salvation. Everything I love and admire about hip-hop is embodied by the Wu-Tang Clan and this album.