So why is Wu-Tang Clan’s Wu Music Group Presents Pollen: The Swarm, Pt. 3 on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
What exactly defines a “Wu-Tang Clan album”? We know that the iconic hip hop collective has produced (mostly brilliant) albums that involve quote-unquote “members of the Wu-Tang Clan.” And then we also have individual members of the Wu-Tang – the RZA, the GZA, Ol’ Dirty… you get it – who have in aggregate released a large number of albums, almost all of which also involve collaborations with some (and typically many) fellow alums of the Wu-Tang Clan.
And then let’s head further out, into the suburbs and exurbs of Shaolin, if you will. Wu-Tang has many friends and up-and-comers that they also collaborate with in various formats and projects.
Thus, we get albums like the “Wu Music Group” series. Some sources, such as Spotify, consider these albums to be “by” the Wu-Tang Clan while others list it as “Various Artists,” while still others (see: Pitchfork) label it as by “Friends of Wu-Tang.”
All of this stuff is semantics, of course. What matters is the music, and this album, the wordily titled Wu Music Group Presents Pollen: The Swarm, Pt. 3, with its mix of mostly up-and-comers sprinkled in with appearances by Wu-Tang members proper, is replete with hip hop gems.
“No Game Around Here,” credited to the Killer Bees (which, if my research is to be believed, consists of Suga Bang Bang, Timbo King, 9th Prince, Shyheim, Remedy, and Solomon Childs) is a pulsing, sinister, exciting track that gets more addictive every time I throw it on. The mix of that minimal, repetitive bass line and shouts, calls, and some kind of high-pitched horn sample are a propulsive combination.
“The Testimony” has the feel of a mainstream r&b rap song that I might not ordinarily gravitate to, but it’s exceptionally well produced, and the rapping by way of Remedy and Killah Priest completely win me over.
I love that RZA checks in on “You Must Be Dreaming,” crediting himself by his Bobby Digital moniker, along with Kinetic. It sounds like a high-end weirdo Bobby Digital track and the full on warped hip hop trip that that entails.
“Headline,” featuring Armel, P Sunn, 12-O-Clock, and Rev Burks, is a bouncy, upbeat good time.
And I’m always down for a harpsichord-ish sample on a hip hop track, and “Roll With Killer Bees,” featuring the Yellowjackets*, fully delivers.
* No, not the crazy Showtime show about the high school soccer team that gets stranded in the wilderness; we’re talking the Yellowjackets who comprise another full contingent of Wu-Tang Nation here.
Some stats & info about Wu-Tang Clan – Wu Music Group Presents Pollen: The Swarm, Pt. 3
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Hip Hop, Rap, Hardcore Rap, East Coast Rap
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 1.5 out of 5 stars (editor’s note: uh… this is ridiculous)
- When was Wu Music Group Presents Pollen: The Swarm, Pt. 3 released? 2010
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #422 out of 1,000
Wu-Tang Clan’s Wu Music Group Presents Pollen: The Swarm, Pt. 3 on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Wu-Tang Clan’s Wu Music Group Presents Pollen: The Swarm, Pt. 3 that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
In the hood, it’s against all odds, you spit 16 bars.
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.