Celebrating 25 years of “Wu-Tang Forever”


Wu-Tang Source: press release / Live Nation

Ffirst recognized in June 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, Black Music Appreciation Month celebrates African American music and musicians. Black performers set the pulse of the country, getting people dancing and providing the marching anthem against injustice and championing the country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.

Black artists and bands have dominated multiple genres, innovating the game and changing the way the music business is done. But when it comes to legendary bands in music and specifically hip-hop, it’s impossible to have the discussion without mentioning Wu-Tang Clan. Widely considered one of the most influential groups in hip hop, Wu-Tang are credited with helping to popularize and advance the East Coast and hardcore rap scenes.

Wu-Tang Clan Portrait Session

Source: Al Pereira/Getty

The Staten Island, New York collective was formed in 1992. Band members included RZAGZA, Yo dirty Bastards, method man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa with long time affiliate Cappadonna later becoming an official member. The group quickly became a household name after releasing their independent single “Protect your neck» then finally their first album « Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) » in 1993.

The album has consistently been ranked as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. After the success of the band’s debut album, several individual members negotiated solo deals although the collective was signed to Loud/RCA.

After the solo albums of Method Man (1994 “Tical”), Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1995 “Return of the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version”), Raekwon (1995 “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…”), GZA (1995 “ Liquid Swords”) and Ghostface Killah (“Ironman” from 1996), the band decided it was time to come together and release music as a unit.

It’s been 25 years since the Wu-Tang Clan released their second studio album, “Wu-Tang forever.” The classic work – released as a double album – debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 chart with 612,000 sales in its first week. Even with very little radio airplay and their lead single “Triumph” lasting nearly six minutes without a chorus, the album managed to be certified four times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This made “Wu-Tang Forever” the group’s best-selling album to date. In addition to these accolades, the album was also nominated for Best Rap Album at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards.

“Wu-Tang Forever” is applauded for the perfect mesh of RZA’s production and the precise lyricism of all the members of the group. The impact of the band and the album is still relevant today. The subject matter and styles heard on the album influenced many artists long after Wu-Tang’s time.

Artists such as Duck and Logic made songs with the same title to pay tribute to the group. Some members are still very active in music themselves and some are also top performers these days. The merchandise that Wu-Tang sells is always very lucrative. There is even a TV show that depicts the life of the group. To say Wu-Tang’s legacy will live on forever would be too easy, but judging by the band’s relevance even today, it would be a very accurate thing to say.

Wu-Tang Clan Portrait Session

Credit: Bob Berg/Getty

Happy 25th anniversary to “Wu-Tang Forever”. Listen to it today!


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Black Music Month Excellence: 25 Years of “Wu-Tang Forever”
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