Wu-Tang Is Forever. Check The Mathematics Behind The Clan’s 20 Year Old Double LP
This weekend (June 3) marks 20 years since Wu-Tang Clan released its sophomore album, Wu-Tang Forever. While GZA may have kicked the science to “Make it brief, son: half short and twice strong” on album cut “As High As Wu-Tang Get,” this 1997 album was indeed potent, but far from short. A sprawling double LP, the nine-person collective (with strong additional involvement from Cappadonna) made up for time lost since their classic ’93 debut with enough verbal chessboxin’ to tire Bobby Fisher.
In celebration of the anniversary, Mass Appeal put together some mathematics on the Loud Records album. Although Wu-Tang Forever indisputably lives in the shadow of its ancestor release, this was the Clan during their commercial peak. The LP went to #1, earned quadruple platinum, and bridged the gap between early Clan soloists (GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Ol’ Dirty Bastard) with the second wave coming (RZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa).
Mass Appeal points out some of the facts that Heads can’t simply get from a birthday re-listen. Notably, Chef Rae’ made the most appearances (15, including 12 verses) on the double-disc, while O.D.B. was the most scarce (6 tracks, totaling 7 verses).
The video featured acknowledges the two international-release-only tracks, the fact that Disc 2 is more than 20 minutes longer than Disc 1, and that Rebel I.N.S. joins RZA, True Master, and 4th Disciple as a producer.
In other data, there are seven Kung-Fu samples used. Three times “The Wizard Of Poetry” (as he’d be known 12 years later) makes references to “Dorothy.” Meanwhile, Golden Arms U-God bests his brothers by kicking a 57-bar verse on “Black Shampoo.” Overall, there also a staggering 63 mentions of the word “God.”
In so many ways, Wu-Tang Forever was a triumph. Less than a year after the sudden deaths of Tupac and Biggie Smalls, the Clan stood in the front to make Hip-Hop exciting, technical, and a lean-back experience in this massive double dose of dope. Drake and The Game know.
#BonusBeat: One of those aforementioned international tracks, “Sunshower”:
If counting, RZA’s verse is technically the longest on this expanded edition.