Because I'm a furious worker bee and, additionally, my lovely wife has been out of town for the last 72 hours, I got this done. Geez, that might be record time. Hopefully, I didn't short you on quality. Anyhow, I present The Root Down Guide to Wu: 1993-1996. I'd be remissed if I called it a "hits mix" because, admittedly, not all of them were hits. In fact, some's obvious choices for a definitive mix might be shockingly absent. Yep, there's no "C.R.E.A.M." There's no "You're All I Need" or "Can It Be All So Simple." Instead, I substituted with Meth's "I Get My Thang in Action" and ODB's banger "Cuttin' Headz" which still remains one of my favorites. And, as always, there's a few surprises like a Gladys Knight appearance (although true Wu heads wouldn't be surprised by her poppin' up), uber-dope Bob James, a couple of Al Green cameos and others. You'll take off with the sounds of New Birth and end with the beatboxing of Rahzel and, in between is close to an hour forty five of Wu. I invite you to enjoy. For non-Wu heads, I hope you will find it as a nice introduction, although it's difficult to fathom there are hip hop heads that don't like Wu. I suppose kiddos that were both in 1990 might not be so well-versed.
Geez, I'm old.
And for non-hip hop heads, well, what can I say? In 1993, Wu was the sickest, most formidable crews hip hop had ever seen or heard. Under the careful direction of producer and mastermind RZA, some of the earliest Wu as heard here represents maybe the illest streak for a producer in hip hop's history. What RZA and the Wu did in these four years gave them all a pass forever in many fan's eyes. It's like Stevie Wonder, James Brown when he did Rocky IV, DJ Shadow going hyphy, Isaac Hayes doing voiceover on South Park. I suppose I'm victim to the same apologistic behavior. I see RZA posing on the red carpet with Vivica Fox and my mind tells me, "Well, he did produce Enter the 36 Chambers. Good for him." Others might not get the same pass. Raekwon's been on a downward slide since his first release (which was classic). Ghostface has seemingly improved until Big Doe Rehab. U-God is always up in something--usually suing the Wu. Ol Dirty Bastard died. Method Man started hocking deodarant. GZA's recording on the Fontana/Koch circuit. There's probably more affiliates of the Wu and third generation members than any one person can count. It's dissolved out from some sort of secret society to a library card. But whatever.
In 1993, no one had ever heard that sound before. Those dusty drums that people think Madlib created, sheesh, RZA was doing Madlib before Madlib was doing Madlib. What would El-P sound like if there was no Wu? Those grimy and gravelly verses, that deafening bass, those piano loops. You would wipe out 95% of Babygrande's roster if there was no Wu because that's all they do is bite Wu. Regardless, in its historical context, Wu's contributions during this time helped put the exclamation on hip hop's Golden Age just before it would morph once again into the Jiggy Era. Label's shifted from a focus on quality to goals of quanity. It wasn't how good the recordings you were selling were, it's how many you could sell of that particular recording. In a way, that mentality took over the Wu as a tidal wave of side projects began popping up everywhere (even on the import circuit) and, even harder to bear, a clothing line and even select hygienic products.
For old Wu heads, recalibrate yourself. For new Wu heads, welcome. For non-hip hop heads, listen to y'boy Sully: buckle up and brace for impact for your about to enter one of the most incredible string of recordings in the history of the Wu. I commend you on being so daring. But really, what better do you have to listen to? Guess as Gladys says, "As bad as we think they are, these will be the good ol' days of our children." Amen. They will indeed. Here's the tracklisting and the link--over 40 shots to the dome. As always, duck when you see the thongy things.
New Birth "Honeybee"
Wu Tang Clan "Clan in Da Front"
Black Ivory "I Keep Asking You Questions"
The Sweet Inspirations "Why Marry"
Ghostface Killah "Box in Hand (Unreleased)"
Wu Tang Clan "M.E.T.H.O.D. Man"
Willie Mitchell "Groovin'"
GZA "Liquid Swords"
Gladys Knight "The Way We Were"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Baby C'mon (Instrumental)"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Cuttin' Headz"
Wu Tang Clan "Bring Da Ruckus"
The Charmells "As Long as I've Got You"
Gravediggaz "1-800-Suicide (Acapella)"
Al Green "Gotta Find a New World"
Ghostface Killah "Iron Maiden"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Hippa to Da Hoppa (Instrumental)"
Gravediggaz "2 Cups of Blood"
Ghostface Killah "Daytona 500"
Bob James "Nautilus"
Wu Tang Clan "7th Chamber (Part II) (Intro)"
Raekwon "Ice Cream"
Method Man "I Get My Thang In Action"
Gravediggaz "Constant Elevation"
Allan Toussaint "Louie"
GZA "4th Chamber"
Wendy Rene "After Laughter (Comes Tears)"
Wu Tang Clan "Tearz"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Brooklyn Zoo"
Eugene McDaniels "Jagger the Dagger"
Gravediggaz "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide"
Al Green "You Ought to Be With Me"
Ghostface Killah "260"
Wu Tang Clan "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'"
Ol' Dirty Bastard "Protect Ya Neck II: The Zoo"
Wu Tang Clan "7th Chamber"
Raekwon "Incarcerated Scarfaces"
GZA "Duel of the Iron Mic"
Wu Tang Clan "Ain't Nuttin' to _uc_ Wit"
You've been Wu'd, fool. Comments and criticisms not only welcomed, but encouraged so speak ya' clout.