Wu-Tang Clan records have always reflected the kaleidoscopic nature of the group itself, which consists of nine members, each with at least three identities of their own. It's no surprise, then, that Wu-Tang albums vibrate with the energy of a raucous crowd, as unpredictable rhymes gust back and forth. The collective of NYC-area rappers banded together as a unit to most effectively launch solo records, with 1993's ENTER THE WU-TANG (36 CHAMBERS) acting as the springboard. While many classic albums have emerged from the pact (including Method Man's TICAL and Ghostface Killah's SUPREME CLIENTELE), when the group comes together, something wonderfully chaotic ensues.
Fittingly, Wu-Tang Clan's first hits record, LEGEND OF THE WU-TANG, has a wandering nature, with remixes thrown in haphazardly, adding to the anything-can-happen feel always surrounding the outfit. The album opens with the three tracks that began its reign, "C.R.E.A.M.," "Method Man," and "Protect Ya Neck," the latter two intriguingly reworked. Elsewhere, two of the unit's finest mid-career singles--"Triumph" and "Gravel Pit"--are placed back-to-back. As a whole, the collection is a reminder of the excitement and genius that has made the group so enduring.
Arriving in the early 1990s, when rap was split between gangstas and bohemian jazz-rappers, Staten Island's Wu-Tang Clan promptly reinvented intelligent hardcore hip-hop. A unique contract deal, allowing the group's individual members--including Ol' Dirty Bastard, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, and chief sonic architect RZA--to pursue solo careers on the side, made them the most prolific rap crew of the late-'90s and beyond. In addition to their various individual projects, Wu-Tang's love of Asian martial arts cinema led to them presenting various Hong Kong classics and to RZA's collaborations with filmmakers Jim Jarmusch (GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI) and Quentin Tarantino (KILL BILL).
Spin (p.120) - "This is a quickie reminder of their greatness..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.120) - "The Wu's gritty, lo-fi rhymes sound gloriously anachronistic."