There is no doubt that the Wu-Tang Clan was one of the most influential hip-hop groups in the music industry. But their history is one of the least discussed topics. In hear, I’m gonna uncover their interesting history and hidden facts to you.Table of Contents
Founding of the Wu-Tang Clan – How it all began.
Long story short, In the late 1980s A group of 3 Cousins called Robert Diggs, Gary Grice, and Russell Jones decided and created the Force of the Imperial Master, also known as the All in Together Now Crew. Grice was known as The Genius, Diggs as Prince Rakeem or The Scientist, and Jones was known as The Specialist. The trio was never signed to a major label, but they did get the notice of the New York City rap scene, and at that time artist Biz Markie recognized them.
Later The Genius and Prince Rakeem were signed to different record labels by 1991. On Cold Chillin’ Records, The Genius released Words from the Genius (1991), and Prince Rakeem released Ooh I Love You Rakeem (1991) on Tommy Boy Records. But their labels quickly dropped both of them, unfortunately. After The Genius was renamed GZA, while Prince Rakeem was renamed RZA and Ol’ Dirty B became the Specialist’s new identity.
After that time RZA began working with Dennis Coles, later known as Ghostface Killah, a rapper from Staten Island’s Stapleton Houses. The two decided to form a hip hop group with an attitude inspired by “Eastern philosophy learned through kung fu movies, Five Percent Nation teachings learned on the streets of New York, and comic books.” The Wu-Tang Clan was formed in late 1992, with RZA serving as the group’s leader and producer. After seeing the movies Shaolin and Wu-Tang, RZA and Ol’ Dirty B came up with the name for the group.
History since the Wu-Tang Clan was formed.
As the RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty B, and Ghostface Killah there are other local MCs that became a part of the crew including Method Man, Raekwon, U-God, Inspectah Deck, and Masta Killa. The nine rappers agreed to build an artistic and financial community, and the Wu-Tang Clan would become its own enterprise rather than just a group. To accomplish so, they chose to start with a collaborative effort and then spread the word through solo projects, gaining more partners and getting stronger and more influential in the process.
The hard-hitting “Protect Ya Neck,” the Wu-Tang Clan’s first single, was released on their own independent label and became an underground hit. Record labels needed to give them pricey contracts soon after. The group held out until they were offered a deal that allowed each member to record solo albums for whichever label he wanted, effectively making each rapper a free agent. The band signed a deal with Loud/RCA, and their debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), was released in November 1993.
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was critically acclaimed as well as commercially successful; yet, its financial success was earned through time rather than overnight. The single album “C.R.E.A.M.” from early 1994 was the one that pushed Wu Tang Clan to fame and earned them a cult status. As a result of the popularity of “C.R.E.A.M.,” five of the group’s members — GZA, RZA, Raekwon, Method Man, and Ol’ Dirty B — landed solo contracts. RZA was the first to return to the studio, this time as a member of the Gravediggaz, a group he created; the group included De La Soul producer Prince Paul, Stetsasonic’s Frukwan, and Brothers Grimm’s Poetic, in addition to RZA, who was rechristened RZArecta. The Gravediggaz album 6 Feet Deep was released in August 1994 and acquired a huge success.
Method Man was the first Wu-Tang member to make off as a solo artist. Tical, the first official Wu-Tang solo album, was released in November 1994. Return to the 36 Chambers, released in March 1995 on Elektra Records, was Ol’ Dirty B’s follow-up to Method Man’s breakthrough triumph. The record went gold because of the songs “Brooklyn Zoo” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” It sounded the most like entering the Wu-Tang of all the solo albums, although this did have a more apparent comic bent thanks to Ol’ Dirty’s hysterical vocals. Inspectah Deck’s debut solo track is on the soundtrack of the film Tales from the Hood.
Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and GZA’s Liquid Swords were released later in 1995, and both were critically regarded Wu-Tang albums. In August 1995, Raekwon released his album on Loud/RCA, which contained major contributions from Ghostface Killah (a total of 12 songs) and gave him his greatest recognition yet. Geffen Records released GZA’s solo album in November 1995.
The Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While You’re Drinking Your Juice in the Hood soundtrack featured Ghostface Killah’s first solo track, “Winter Warz,” in February 1996. In June of 1997, the Wu-Tang Clan reformed and released their second album, Wu-Tang Forever, a double CD. The album debuted at number one on the charts, selling over 600,000 copies in its first week alone, and rapidly produced the smash single “Triumph.” Cappadonna (born Darryl Hill), a guest associate who’d appeared on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Ironman and would later become the tenth member of the Wu-Tang Clan, made several contributions. The band went on a long tour in promotion of the album, engaging in a few small legal conflicts along the way.
In 1998, Ol’ Dirty B began a long and twisted narrative of erratic behavior and run-ins with the law, which saw him making headlines on an alarmingly regular basis. He protested the Clan’s loss in the Best Rap Album category at the Grammy Awards in February, interrupting Shawn Colvin’s acceptance speech; shortly after, he said he was changing his name to Big Baby Jesus. ODB would be jailed for a litany of charges over the next year and a half, including assault, stealing, making terrorist threats, wearing body armor after being convicted of a felony, carrying cocaine, and missing several court appearances. Furthermore, in early 1999, the entire Clan was accused of orchestrating a gun-running operation between Staten Island and Steubenville, Ohio, allegations that were never shown to be true.
In late 1998, the Clan began a stage of solo projects during this legal saga. RZA’s presence was limited this time around, and he typically delegated the majority of the production tasks to his associates. Despite this, he released his own solo debut, the soundtrack-styled RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo, on V2 in November 1998; Method Man’s second album, Tical 2000: Judgement Day, landed at number two on the charts the same month. RZA Hits, an outstanding singles compilation that covers the first Wu-Tang album and the first round of solo albums (1994-1995), was released in June 1999; the following week, GZA’s second album, Beneath the Surface, was released.
There was plenty of new Wu music in September, including Ol’ Dirty B’s N Please, which was released while the rapper was in rehab; Method Man’s highly acclaimed duo album with Redman, Blackout; and Inspectah Deck’s first-ever solo album, Uncontrolled Substance, which was released on Relativity. U-God, another Wu member, released Golden Arms Redemption on Priority in October, and Raekwon followed up with Immobilarity the following month. In January 2000, Ghostface Killah released his well-received sophomore album, Supreme Clientele.
However, neither critically nor commercially, this second round of Wu-Tang solo albums received as much attention. True, Method Man remained a popular solo artist, and Ghostface Killah attracted attention. The Wu franchise, on the other hand, was troubled by inconsistency, overexposure (they’d created a clothing brand, a video game, a comic book, and more), and a constant stream of musical products that even hardcore fans struggled to keep up with.
After that time RZA was commissioned by independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch to provide a soundtrack for his widely praised film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, which was released in early 2000. Aside from that, the Clan reunited for a new record in 2000 and remained relatively silent for the rest of the year except Ol’ Dirty B, who continues to spiral out of control. He served time in a California jail for breaching his probation’s terms, but he appeared on the stage in October unexpectedly, escaped, and spent a month on the run from the law. Fans were surprised when Ol’ Dirty B appeared onstage at the Clan’s new album, The W, which was released with far less hype in November 2000. After his surprise performance, Ol’ Dirty B was able to leave the club but was quickly caught by police and faced cocaine possession charges. With this incident, he reached an agreement with authorities in April 2001 that resulted in a sentence of 2 to 4 years in jail time.
RZA released his second Bobby Digital album, Digital Bullet, in 2001, and Ghostface Killah and Cappadonna released solo albums in November. However, there was no full round of individual tracks in between Wu albums during this period. Apart from various solo projects, Wu-Tang only released one live album in the following five years, 2004’s Disciples of the 36 Chambers. Before Ol’ Dirty B died of a heart attack in November 2004, that project was one of the final places to hear about him. In early 2007, Nature Sounds published the Mathematics compiled, a collection of new remixes and difficult-to-find, previously unreleased songs from the Clan and some of its collaborators, in advance of the Clan’s forthcoming album, 8 Diagrams.
If several members released solo albums, but the Clan stayed inactive until 2011, when the Wu-related compilation Legendary Weapons was released, featuring new songs from the whole clan. The Clan also stated that they were working on a new studio album for their 20th anniversary, which would be released in 2013. However, when 2013 came and went, the album’s development was delayed by a feud between Raekwon and RZA over the new album’s aesthetic direction. They eventually reconciled, and the record was completed in 2014. It was published in December under the title A Better Tomorrow by Warner Bros. However, when 2013 came and went, the album’s development was stymied by a new public feud between Raekwon and RZA over the new album’s aesthetic direction.
They eventually reconciled, and the record was completed in 2014. It was published in December under the title A Better Tomorrow by Warner Bros. In the same year, the Wu Tang Clan Clan made history by claiming that they had produced a secret album called Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, of which only one copy would be pressed and sold as a one-of-a-kind artwork, housed in a custom-made hand-carved nickel and silver box, to the highest bidder. The Clan released “People Say” alongside Redman in addition to providing “Don’t Stop” to the Silicon Valley soundtrack. In May of this year, the soundtrack EP Of Mics and Men was released.
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