Halftime Leisure

The Weekly List: Wu-Tang Wednesdays

April 13, 2015


[8tracks url=”https://8tracks.com/rwm126/wu-tang-wednesday” ]

Wu-Tang Wednesday is more than just a day to listen to the Wu; it’s a mindset to adopt for a full 24 hours. I was first introduced to the phenomenon during my senior year of high school when my digital media teacher explained the concept. A day dedicated all things Wu-Tang. Although hesitant to venture into the realm of rap as an alternative rock fan, I jumped on board with Wu-Tang’s first album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

I feel the need to preface this playlist with the fact that I am in no way, shape, or form knowledgeable in the genre of hip-hop/rap. As a kid, I listened to select tracks off of the clean version of Ludacris’s The Red Light District, but I digress. Why would a non-rap fan listen to the Wu-Tang Clan? Well hopefully this playlist will show how far Wu’s influence has reached. Now that we have that out of the way, we can begin to celebrate what is my personal favorite weekly holiday, Wu-Tang Wednesday.

While some interpret Wu-Tang Wednesdays as a time for song exclusively by the entire Wu collective, I think exploring solo projects, featured artist appearances, and even tracks not affiliated at all with the Wu, simply influenced by their brilliance, can better show what the Wu-Tang Clan is all about. This playlist will feature songs off of Wu-Tang’s own albums, the members’ solo projects, their friends’ projects, and bands who the members of the Wu-Tang Clan probably don’t even know exist. Yet they all keep in the spirit of the Wu and Wu-Tang Wednesdays.

Bring da Ruckus – Wu-Tang Clan

Saying that Enter the Wu-Tang was influential would be an understatement. The first song off their debut album, “Bring da Ruckus” establishes both the aggression and genius that the Wu-Tang Clan would bring to the rest of the album and for years to come. The weird, kung fu movie narrator intro, the unabashed lyrical confidence boosting the greatness of the newly formed Wu-Tang Clan, and the sampled track providing a familiarity to the song all demonstrated that Wu-Tang had brought the ruckus.

Triumph (feat. CappaDonna) – Wu-Tang Clan

Sticking with another track by Wu-Tang Clan, “Triumph” marked the return of the whole crew after they took time off for side projects. We hear every member on the track, including an unofficial member CappaDonna. RZA said in 2005 that the fact that radio stations actually played “Triumph” in its entirety was unheard of, but this fact just goes to show though that the Wu had something special going.

Shimmy Shimmy Ya – Ol’ Dirty Bastard

ODB’s 1995 album, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, was one of the first solo projects from a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” does not venture too far away from the sound of that first Wu album though. The sampled piano track drives through the song as ODB attacks the mic just as he did two years earlier. A perfect continuation of the established sound for Wu-Tang Wednesday.

Six Degrees (feat. Danny Brown) – Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD

An experimental electro-jazz trio from Toronto is probably not on the radar for most Wu-Tang Clan fans on Wu Wednesdays, but what Ghostface Killah is doing with BADBADNOTGOOD on this track makes so much sense given Wu’s history. “Six Degrees” continues the long tradition of the members of the Wu-Tang clan using samples from non-rap genres. Although he usually elected to rap over soul songs, Ghostface Killah’s voyage into jazz delivers an amazing track.

The What (feat. Method Man) – The Notorious B.I.G.

The first track not by Wu-Tang or one of its members on this playlist, Biggie’s “The What” feels as if it could have been right off of Enter the Wu-Tang. Here’s the a classic rock song they sampled on this track. I mean if they can make Avalanche sound cool, what can’t Biggie and Method Man?

Molasses (feat. RZA) – Earl Sweatshirt

Odd Future really just feels like Wu-Tang Clan for the 2010s. Earl Sweatshirt recruited the brains behind the Wu for this track on his first solo project, and the RZA delivers. It’s simple and weirdly violent, just like Wu-Tang Clan, and it shows what the future could hold for Wu-Tang Wednesdays.

What You Do to Me (feat. Billy Danze, Jim Jones & Nicole Wray) – BlakRoc

The Black Keys and Wu-Tang Clan. What more could rock and rap want in the world? Although no member of Wu-Tang is on this specific track, members of Wu like Raekwon and RZA had a direct hand in the BlakRoc rock-rap collective. Instead of sampling the songs, I guess Wu-Tang just decided to rap right over the live track. Dan and Pat of the Black Keys, Wu-Tang fans themselves, probably could think of no cooler project to be part of.

How the Leopard Got Its Spots – Portugal. The Man

Bear with me on this one, I swear there’s an explanation. Here’s John Gourley and Zach Carother’s of Portugal talking about their love of Wu-Tang. If Wu-Tang can reach an indie rock group from Alaska influencing them to form a band, then I don’t know who can’t love the Wu. Like Gourley said in the video, he played the riff on this track one time, and then looped it simply because they wanted the Wu-Tang sound. Reaching through genres to influence a band like Portugal, Wu-Tang again shows their greatness through those that they inspire.

I hope this non-rap fan’s interpretation of Wu-Tang Wednesday satisfies your need to hear the Wu-Tang Killa Beez. Enjoy your Wu-Tang Wednesday.

 


Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller is a former news editor of The Georgetown Voice. Follow him on Twitter @MILLERdfillmore for unabashed tweets about the Sacramento Kings.


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