Wu-Tang Clan – The W: #452 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Wu-Tang Clan - The W

So why is Wu-Tang Clan’s The W on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

Here’s what I love about music, and hip hop music particularly.

There’s a moment in “The Monument” (featuring Raekwon, GZA, and Busta Rhymes) about a minute in, when the slow but hard funk hook deftly slides into a much faster and propulsive beat. I can never help but bob my head when this happens – it’s executed to perfection with the hallmark style that we’ve come to expect from RZA and the rest of the Wu-Tang Clan collective.

For the rest of the tight, two-and-a-half-minute song, we toggle between the two modes and I could just listen to this section on endless loop.

The W has all the signature Wu-Tang and RZA production elements going for it: a unique and hypnotically listenable hook, strangely wonderful Asian-meets-Wild West style sounds, and aggressive and ultra tight rapping across the gamut of Wu-Tang’s all-world roster.

For good reason, one of the best known Wu-Tang songs is “Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off),” which has a “featured” listing that includes a goodly chunk of the Clan: Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, Method Man, Masta Kill, RZA, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Cappadonna, and GZA.

And, like “The Monument,” there’s a fantastic switch up –around the three-minute mark in this case – which slows things down with a simple, pulsing keyboard and hip hop beat. The quieter effect, which throws a greater spotlight on the rap performances, is striking and great.

The hook and sample on “Do You Really (Thang Thang),” featuring DJ Kay Slay, Method Man, Streetlife, Masta Killa, and Inspectah Deck, “wins” within the first 30 seconds. What I mean by that is that it’s absurdly good and catchy from the jump, and you simply know the entire song is going to crush for its remaining run time.

Which of course it does. Head bobbing hip hop delight.

“Gravel Pit,” featuring RZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon & U-God, manages to sound spooky, fun, and exciting all at once, and sails through its five minutes at silly speed.

And “Jah World,” featuring Ghostface Killah, RZA, and the reggae stylings of Junior Reid, has an epic cinematic flavor to it, like you’ve arrived at the climactic scene of a three-hour crime drama that just absolutely shattered your mind.

That’s RZA, and that’s Wu-Tang.

The W can be slightly uneven at times (ahem, “Conditioner,” featuring a five members of the Wu plus Snoop Dogg), but the highs are really high, and plentiful too.

Some stats & info about Wu-Tang Clan – The W

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rap, Hip Hop, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was The W released? 2000
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #452 out of 1,000

Wu-Tang Clan’s The W on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Wu-Tang Clan’s The W that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Watch your step, kid (yo, you best protect ya neck).

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.