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Is Enter the Wu-Tang → Wu-Tang Forever the greatest winning streak in rap history?

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Is Enter the Wu-Tang → Wu-Tang Forever the greatest winning streak in rap history?

Old 04-24-08, 10:09 AM
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Is Enter the Wu-Tang → Wu-Tang Forever the greatest winning streak in rap history?

OK, so here's what I'm talking about:

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Tical
Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
Liquid Swords
Ironman
Wu-Tang Forever




Each of these albums is considered to be a critical if not commercial success and at least two (Swords and Cuban Linx) are considered to be among the best albums in all of hip-hop.

Now, Wu-Tang certainly had good albums afterwards, but there were stumbles as well. I can usually find something good to say about most post-Forever albums but when compared to the albums above, they fall short.

The only person/group that could come close to achieving this is Jay-Z, but some of the Vol. albums are a bit weak and Roc La Familia wasn't really that great (or even really a Jay-Z album). From a commercial perspective, he was certainly more succesful but critically and among fans, I think more people are still listening to / discussing Wu's early albums than Jay's Vol-era output. That, and the production is dated as hell. "Can I Get A..." is ground firmly in the mid/late-90's. RZA's production, on a lot of tracks, seems timeless to me.

So... discuss.
Old 04-24-08, 10:24 AM
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Hmmm...I wouldn't really argue with your assertion (except Wu-Tang Forever is bloated and should've been a single CD, and I'd add the Gravediggaz album to your list).

But as far as collectives go, I'd throw the Native Tongues out there:

1988:
Straight Out of the Jungle - Jungle Brothers

1989:
Three Feet High and Rising - De La Soul
Done By the Forces of Nature - Jungle Brothers

1990:
People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm - A Tribe Called Quest

1991:
The Low End Theory - A Tribe Called Quest
De La Soul Is Dead - De La Soul
A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - Black Sheep

1993:
Midnight Marauders - A Tribe Called Quest
Buhloone Mind State - De La Soul

Sure, they may not have sold Wu-Tang numbers and their albums after 1993 are spotty, but that's a damn fine run of hip-hop right there.

Last edited by DJLinus; 04-24-08 at 10:33 AM.
Old 04-24-08, 11:45 AM
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Jay-Z's albums have all been pretty hot
Old 04-24-08, 12:27 PM
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I would take Wu-Tang Forever off there, not really a big fan of that disc. I do like The Native Tounge anthology (but I think I could even narrow that down more and leave it as just A Tribe Called Quest 3 albums there).
Old 04-24-08, 12:57 PM
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DJLinus, Forever is perfect as a double album. its one of the few 2-cd i can listen to all the way through. i do agree with your list of TCQ/delasoul,ect. list however

a better example of a 2-cd needing trimming is Streets Diciple.


also jay-z's volumes 1&2 were good. 3 wasnt up to par, but in jay's defence he has only released a few stinkers in his career (blueprint 2, volume 3, and dnasty)


the bus - your Wu speech is very much true, post forever shit hasnt really made the "classic" feel. the only albums i can kind of consider are maybe "No Said Date", "Blackout!"


i might get flammed for this but i think the last real winning streak, not so much in terms of classic material towards the middle/end but by becoming internationally known and making tons of money goes to:
(too lazy to post dates, just going in a ruff order)

Eminem: SSLP
Dre: 2001
Eminem: MMLP
Eminem: eminem show/8mile soundtrack
50: Get rich or die trying
g-unit: beg for mercy
banks: hunger for more
buck: ..outa cashville
game: documentary
50: massacre
Old 04-24-08, 01:45 PM
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Yes it is.

That said..... Bobby Digital in Stereo > Return to the 36 Chambers so you could extend the winning streak until that one.
Old 04-24-08, 02:07 PM
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I totally agree with Bus. My friends and I weren't really hip-hop fans, but all through high school we rocked every Wu album. The RZA's production was flawless on anything he touched in that era. Liquid Swords is one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. No question. Every one of those albums you mentioned is rife with classic tracks that a metalhead like me can recite line for line. I'd also add Gravediggaz: 6ft Deep and RZA: Bobby Digital to that list.
Old 04-24-08, 02:53 PM
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No love for Fishscale? That's a good album.
Old 04-24-08, 07:49 PM
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That's good but that's soooo far off from the peak era that you can't argue that it's been any good. The problem is that right after Forever you had stuff like The Swarm etc. which is when I think there was maybe too much Wu stuff out there. RZA also admitted that all he did from Chambers to Forever was work on production. After that, he decided to be less than 100% involved in everything.

BTW, Wu-Tang Clan Meets Indie Culture is pretty good.
Old 04-25-08, 10:10 AM
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I dont know how the 3-5 bad songs on forever ruined the other 20+. Lyrically that's their apex on that double cd. If you took the top 15 songs on that album it would be one of the greatest albums of all time. But then you have a few filler songs and couple bad songs(black shampoo, horrible IMO, but some people actually dug it) Production wise thats when it started to transition/decline it started to get less basement/grimy and more digital. But in hiphop if you dont reinvent yourself you'll have a 3 album career.

If you add the first 2 killarmy albums. Killah Priest's Heavy Mental, La the darkman's heist of the century and the first Bobby digital album you could extend the streak even longer. But you have U-god's solo and raekwon's 2nd album mixed in messing things up.

You could also say Ghostface's run of solo albums is amongst the best. Every album he has put out except for bulletproof wallets(IMO) would be considered a top 10 album of that year, often a top 3 album.

Method Man has to be considered one of the best artists when it comes to guest appearances but his solo albums have always missed the mark. I mean the Tical album was good, but it was worse than Dirty's solo and Dirty couldnt rap to save his life.
Old 04-25-08, 10:48 AM
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dirty is better than you think^
Old 04-25-08, 10:53 AM
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I was never a hip-hop fan either until Wu-Tang came along. They really did rock my world. And I love them to this day. Eight Diagrams was decent.

Incredible album runs and think of all the solo careers that launched.
Old 04-25-08, 11:02 AM
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I'm trying to think of a better streak, and I really can't. You could even argue that the streak went a bit further than Forever.

The only others that come to mind, outside of Native Tongues, (and I admit this is cheating a bit), is the whole NWA and Bad Boy camps. If you count Bad Boy as a "camp" instead of a label, they had a really solid run in the mid to late 90's. I didn't like it all, but they definitely were on the top of the game. Same for NWA, when you add in the solo records. But neither can really touch Wu.

For individual artists, on a critical success scale, Ghostface is the only member of the Wu who hasn't seemed to have lost a step. Pretty much every album he's released has been a critical darling. Another individual artist like this has been Common. For my money, both of these guys have better/deeper catalogs than Jay-z, even if they aren't as popular as him.
Old 04-25-08, 11:18 AM
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Dirty has charisma, lyrically he is horrible. He would never have received a record deal on his own. He had a decent verse on Diesel, Ive heard a hundred verses from him.

Lyrically Id grade him a 2-3, the rest of the clan lyrically are 6-10s. U-god would probably be a 6 as he often rambles. GZA, RZA, Meth, INS are close to 10s. Rae-7. Masta Killa 7.5, GFK-8
Killah priest-10
Killa Sin-9
La The Darkman-9.5
Cappadonna-7.5

Wu gained a fan base because of RZA's production and their lyrical content. So to have a member like odb part of the clan was a bit strange. I always predicted him to be the first to break apart from the clan just cause his head wasnt on straight. Always having drug and prison issues. If he wasnt the cousin of the rza and gza he wouldnt have a rap career. I still like dirty for what he brought to the table, but lyrically he wasnt that good. Had a few hot songs, but I'll post 5 hot verses of any other member for every 1 of dirty's
Id also say the wu's profanity-laced lyrics helped popularize them. There wasnt that much cursing in hiphop when they started. You had NWA, Onyx and WU.
Rakim, KRS, Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, PE, LL, Tribe, De La, Big Daddy Kane none of these people cursed as much as NWA, Onyx and WU. They might have a few curses throughout the album, but not 50 curses per song. 2 live crew was raunch rap.
Old 04-25-08, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Jacoby Ellsbury

If you add the first 2 killarmy albums. Killah Priest's Heavy Mental, La the darkman's heist of the century and the first Bobby digital album you could extend the streak even longer. But you have U-god's solo and raekwon's 2nd album mixed in messing things up.
I totally agree with this. LA the Darkman's album was good but slept on. Has he had any other albums?
Old 04-25-08, 12:01 PM
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A couple mixtapes and a bunch of guest appearances. Last I heard he was on the "think differently" label and his album keeps getting pushed back.
Old 04-25-08, 01:26 PM
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Yeah, he had a verse or two with Rass Kass and GZA on "Verses" from that Wu-Tang Meets Indie album.

The thing about Wu's streak is that the music is still good and still sounds fresh. Sometimes I listen to tracks that are 3 years old and it just sounds really dated. And some of these tracks are 10+ years old. Put it against anything from that time period and they completely destroy anything is, production wise. Not that those songs aren't good but if you pick a random song from that time period, you're more likely to like it because it's retro or old school. As an example, anything Puffy produced. I swear, that man ruined Biggie. Listen to DJ Cappel's mixtape Blue Eyes Meets Bed Stuy. Big rapping over Sinatra beats. The beats are pretty simple and let Big's lyrics come through much better. I listen to some of the originals now and just cringe at what that shiny-suited goon did to the music. He's like rap's Phil Spector. Trust me. In ten years we'll see Ready to Die... Naked and it will be great.

OK, so I kinda rambled off-topic there. But RZA's production stands the test of time. Same thing with, for example, Enta Da Stage. But some tracks from Illmatic sound like the product of their era.

All I know is this morning while I was getting ready for work I was listening to "Daytona 500" and that track is just as much of a banger as it was when it came out.
Old 04-25-08, 02:17 PM
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I remember listening to Daytona 500 with me and couple boys, it was blasting in my 89 blazer and I had a couple JBL 12's in the back. We were speeding trying to get somewhere quick. That song would get you amped. Sometimes you associate songs with a certain moment in time, thats one song I can do that with.

Gravediggaz- Trippin, that song got played over and over again. "how yall feel out there"

Another thing about this era is it coincided when music was most important to me. I graduated in 94 and 36 chambers, doggystyle, and tribe's album got alot of play that year. I got 36 chambers back in late 93, but it wasnt until I got Tical for christmas of 94 that I really started to become a wu-head. After that I was picking up everything on release day, for Forever I waited in line for a midnight release. After Rae's and GZA's album and then the ironman album in 96 the forever double album, wutang reuniting was the most heavily anticipated album for me, the only time I ever did a midnight purchase.
Old 04-25-08, 04:28 PM
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La the Darkman just released a mixtape not too long ago. His flow is still really good but his lyrics never change from guns and drugs. Also the beats are really South flavored. Overall I wasn't too impressed.
Old 04-25-08, 11:51 PM
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It's hard to argue with your logic. The only other artist/group that I can think of that comes close is Public Enemy, starting with their first album Yo! Bum Rush the Show and going through It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Fear of a Black Planet and Apocalypse 91....

They fell off a little bit with their next album. Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age but they've remained pretty solid throughout their 20 years. They certainly aren't as popular or relevant as they were back in those early days though...
Old 04-26-08, 12:16 AM
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la the darkman's first album is oop and definately hard to get- as I've been looking for it for my little brother and myself.
Old 04-26-08, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by uncle-frank
dirty is better than you think^
I thought ODB was great as comic relief, but still don't think much of his MC skills. That said, the following are some of my favorite hip-hop lyics ever:

I don't have no trouble with you fuckin' me
But I have a little problem wit you not fuckin' me


Originally Posted by The Bus
Listen to DJ Cappel's mixtape Blue Eyes Meets Bed Stuy.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention; I'd never heard of it. Last night I downloaded it and have only listened to "My Way" so far, but I'm impressed. (I'm a sucker for album-length mash-ups of two disparte artists - when they're done well, that is. But there are a whole lot of shitty ones out there.)
Old 04-26-08, 11:33 AM
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It is the greatest winning streak in rap history, but at that time, rap music was really in its best period all around. The Death Row/G-Funk era was in full swing (this is really the only album for album movement that can compare with Rza's output of that era). OutKast and Goodie Mobb were coming into prominence down south along with Scarface (before he got fat and lazy). Timbaland and Missy Elliott were beginning to make great music. The midwest was represented by Bone Thugs. Aside from the Wu collective, New York had the emergence of Jay-Z, Biggie, Nas, Mobb Deep, and Black Moon. A Tribe Called Quest was still in their pre-Love Movement mode of brilliance. In today's music climate (nursery rhyme call and response hooks splattered across 4-note, single instrument loops), there will never be another a period in rap music as across-the-board great as this. I mean seriously, when Lil' Wayne is the most anticipated artist, the industry's outlook is looking bad.
Old 02-04-09, 08:42 PM
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Re: Is Enter the Wu-Tang → Wu-Tang Forever the greatest winning streak in rap history

Have you guys heard "Wu Ooh" the new song off the alleged Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2? It's pretty great.
Old 02-04-09, 10:10 PM
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Re: Is Enter the Wu-Tang → Wu-Tang Forever the greatest winning streak in rap history

Ya I really like it. Sounds like vintage Wu. Criminology 2 wasn't bad either just the beat sounds a little unfinished.

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