Our top 10 Wu-Tang Clan songs list presents ten of the best songs released by one of the most influential hip hop/rap groups of the early ‘90s. Formed in 1993, Wu-Tang Clan remains one of the most versatile hip hop/rap groups of all time. The group is credited as one of the pioneers of the hardcore and East Coast hip hop genres. Its members include Masta Killa, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, GZA, and RZA.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard is the only past member of the group over the years, following his death in 2004. Over the years, Wu-Tang Clan still retains its solid musicianship with songs that reflect the hardships undergone by the members and New York-related themes. The group’s lyrical style inspired other artists, including Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, Nas, and Mobb Deep.
Wu-Tang Clan turns thirty this year and still pushing strong despite not making any major releases nowadays. While the hip hop scene seemed to evolve over the years, Wu-Tang Clan stuck to its usual hardcore hip hop and East Coast hip hop vibes. The group’s de facto leader, rapper, and record producer RZA has been quick to point out that it is not deniable that the hip hop scene has evolved over the years.
RZA revealed that hip hop, as delivered by the likes of Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest was all about expressing violence without getting physical. He noted that the current generation is all about money and fame, something that is quite distant compared to most hip hop pioneers’ sole purpose for the genre. In this article, we dig deeper into the history of one of the greatest architects of the hip hop music genre to uncover the ten best releases they ever made.
Wu-Tang Clan’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
Wu-Tang Clan was incepted in 1992, with RZA credited as the group’s leader and producer. The group drew attention to its musical pursuits after issuing the hit “Protect Ya Neck” in 1993. However, few labels were ready to record music for the group while allowing its members to record music with other record labels.
Eventually, Loud Records agreed to the group’s request. The record label has at a time been home to other reputable artists, including Three 6 Mafia, Megadeth, Pete Rock, Big Pun, Project Pat, Twista, and Mobb Deep. In November 1993, Wu-Tang Clan released its debut LP, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
The LP ushered the group to newfound fame after it managed to rise to the eighth spot on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) also made it to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number forty-one. The album was Platinum-certified in the US in 1995 and currently has three Platinum certifications from RIAA.
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) has been lauded by critics for rejuvenating New York City hip hop, remaining true to the city’s culture and aesthetic vibes. The LP featured some of the best Wu-Tang Clan songs, including “C.R.E.A.M.,” “Can It Be All So Simple,” “Method Man,” and “Protect Ya Neck.”
Wu-Tang Clan’s Album Releases over the Years
After the success of its debut LP, the group would later return with a sophomore LP, Wu-Tang Forever, in 1997. The LP was issued after the group members’ successful solo releases. Wu-Tang Forever marks the band’s highest-charting LP to date, topping the Billboard 200 and Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album also topped the UK Albums chart, New Zealand Albums chart, and the Canadian Albums chart.
Wu-Tang Forever has been Platinum-certified four times in the US. Within the first week of the album’s release, Wu-Tang Forever sold over six hundred thousand copies. “Triumph,” “It’s Yourz,” and “Reunited” are some of the top Wu-Tang Clan songs from the LP. Wu-Tang Forever was nominated for the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.
However, it lost to No Way Out, Puff Daddy’s debut LP issued in 1997. Other albums that were nominated for the award include Life After Death by The Notorious B.I.G., Supa Dupa Fly by Missy Elliot, and Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival by Wyclef Jean. Wu-Tang Forever featured other reputable artists, including Tekitha, True Master, 4th Disciple, and Streetlife.
Members of Wu-Tang Clan returned to their solo projects, after which they came together for the release of the group’s third studio album, The W, in 2000. The W saw Wu-Tang Clan team up with several reputable artists, including Busta Rhymes, Isaac Hayes, Snoop Dogg, Redman, Junior Reid, and Nas. This was Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s last LP release with Wu-Tang Clan.
The W was Platinum-certified in the US, achieving Gold certification in Canada, Germany, and the UK. While the LP topped the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and UK Albums chart, it settled for the fifth spot on the Billboard 200. “Gravel Pit” and “Careful (Click, Click)” are some of the best Wu-Tang Clan songs from the LP, The W.
In 2001, Wu-Tang Clan returned to the studio to release its fourth studio LP, Iron Flag. The LP was issued when Loud Records was almost shutting down its operation. The ripple effect of the label’s closure is evidenced by Iron Flag’s poorer sales compared to the group’s previous releases. Within the first week of its release, Iron Flag sold over a hundred and fifty copies.
Iron Flag only managed to rise to the sixth spot on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The LP also peaked at number thirty-two on the Billboard 200. Some of the best Wu-Tang Clan songs from Iron Flag include “Uzi (Pinky Ring),” “Rules,” and “Back in the Game.”
Wu-Tang Clan issued its fifth LP, 8 Diagrams, in 2007. The LP was issued through SRC Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. 8 Diagrams managed to rise to the ninth spot on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. On the Billboard 200, 8 Diagrams peaked at number twenty-five. “The Heart Gently Weeps” and “Take It Back” are some of the best Wu-Tang Clan songs from the LP. 8 Diagrams sold sixty-eight thousand copies during its first week.
Wu-Tang Clan returned with another LP, A Better Tomorrow, in 2014. A Better Tomorrow managed to rise to the third spot on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. On the Billboard 200, A Better Tomorrow managed to rise to number twenty-nine. Some of the musical gems from the LP include “Keep Watch,” “Ron O’Neal,” and “Ruckus in B Minor.” A Better Tomorrow only managed to sell about twenty-four thousand copies during its first week of release.
In 2015, Wu-Tang Clan released its seventh and most recent LP, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The LP was recorded in secret between 2007 and 2013. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was limited to a single copy, which was sold to Martin Shkreli. However, it was later sold by the US DoJ to PleasrDAO for four million dollars to cover Martin’s debt. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin remains the most expensive musical art to date.
Wu-Tang Clan’s Accolades and Legacy
Wu-Tang Clan might have no list of reputable awards to showcase for their impactful music career. However, the group remains one of the legendary hardcore rap acts. Its music is an amalgam of East Coast hip hop and hardcore hip hop sonic vibes. Throughout the group’s active years, Wu-Tang Clan collaborated with tons of artists. Some of the usual collaborators include Erick Sermon, Pete Rock, Mobb Deep, Nas, Busta Rhymes, and Redman. Here we present the ten best Wu-Tang Clan songs of all time.
#10 – Uzi (Pinky Ring)
Opening our top 10 Wu-Tang Clan songs list is the raving hit “Uzi (Pinky Ring).” The song is featured on the group’s LP, Iron Flag. This five-minute track’s lyrics are credited to the group members. The song finds Wu-Tang Clan featuring intense horn riffs and tenacious drum beats, which were overly present on the LP, The W.
“Uzi (Pinky Ring)” features uncredited vocals of Polite. The song was covered by El Michels Affair. “Uzi (Pinky Ring)” samples the hit “Parade Strut” by J.J. Johnson. The song peaked at number ninety-two on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “Uzi (Pinky Ring)” also made it to the sixteenth spot on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart.
#9 – Keep Watch
“Keep Watch” is one of the best Wu-Tang Clan songs from the LP, A Better Tomorrow. The song features Cappadonna, who was by then an unofficial member of the clan. Cappadonna revealed that his approach towards his message on how to “Keep Watch” is based on the idea of putting God first.
The song’s amazing beats showcase no difference from Wu-Tang Clan’s production twenty years before its release. DJ Mathematics is credited to have produced the song. “Keep Watch” samples the hit “You Roam When You Don’t Get It at Home” by The Sweet Inspirations.
#8 – The Heart Gently Weeps ft. Erykah Badu, John Frusciante, and Dhani Harrison
Our number eight spot on the ten best Wu-Tang Clan songs is the dazzling hit “The Heart Gently Weeps.” The song is a collaborative effort by Wu-Tang Clan, Erykah Badu, John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Dhani Harrison. This musical gem is featured on the group’s LP, 8 Diagrams.
“The Heart Gently Weeps” interpolates The Beatles’ hit “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” RZA asked Dhani Harrison to play the song’s rhythm guitar. Dhani Harrison is the son to The Beatles’ lead guitarist and vocalist George Harrison. “The Heart Gently Weeps” peaked at number seventy-one on the Hot Canadian Digital Singles chart.
“Reunited” is one of the musical gems from Wu-Tang Clan’s 1997 LP, Wu-Tang Forever. The song served as a perfect notification that the group was back with a bang! Wu-Tang Clan reminds the hip hop fans that they are still the best in the game. “Reunited” was remixed by Wu-Tang Clan, featuring Ms. Roxy. The song was also sampled in the 2021 hit “Safe” by Anthony Hamilton.
#6- Careful (Click, Click)
Number six on our top 10 Wu-Tang Clan songs list is the dark and peculiar hit “Careful (Click, Click).” The song is a musical gem featured on the group’s LP, The W. “Careful (Click, Click)” has its success credited to the genius production skills of the group’s de facto leader RZA.
The song features some sense of menace in its uncompromising lyrics. RZA brings on some dark and gritty vocal delivery style that towers over most of the other member’s performances. Cappadonna and Ghostface Killah collaborate in spitting bars for the song’s chorus.
#5- Can It Be All So Simple
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is home to our number five hit on the ten best Wu-Tang Clan songs, “Can It Be All So Simple.” The song finds Raekwon and Ghostface Killah rapping over lyrics that allude to a Mafioso lifestyle. “Can’t It Be All So Simple” discusses the tough lifestyle associated with growing up in New York City back in the ‘80s.
The song samples “The Way We Were” by the R&B/soul music group Gladys Knight & the Pips. Raekwon featured a remix of the song on his debut LP, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… “Can’t It Be All So Simple” peaked at number eighty-two on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song also managed to peak at number twenty-four on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart.
#4 – Gravel Pit ft. Paulissa Moorman
“Gravel Pit” is one of the best Wu-Tang Clan songs from the group’s LP, The W. The song features singer Paulissa Moorman, who performs the hit’s hook. “Gravel Pit” features spoken parts by Raekwon and RZA. While the song might not have been overly successful in the US, it received quite a nice reception in Europe, where it was Gold-certified in Germany and the UK.
The song’s trumpet intro samples James Brown’s hit “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” It also interpolates “Back and Forth” by Cameo. “Gravel Pit” peaked at number seventy on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It also managed to rise to the twentieth spot on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart.
#3- Method Man
Our third spot on the ten best Wu-Tang Clan songs list goes to the ravishing hit “Method Man.” The song is featured on the group’s debut LP, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). “Method Man” was initially released as the B-side of the hit “Protect Ya Neck.”
The song’s refrains sample the hit “Method of Modern Love” by Hall & Oates. “Method Man” became Wu-Tang Clan’s first song to make it to the Billboard Hot 100. The song peaked at number sixty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100. “Method Man” also made it to number seventeen on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart.
“Triumph” is one of the best Wu-Tang Clan songs without a hook. The almost six-minute song is featured on the group’s LP, Wu-Tang Forever. “Triumph” finds every Wu-Tang Clan member taking on a verse except the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who takes on the song’s intro and interlude.
The song features one of the greatest verses in the hip hop scene rapped by Inspectah Deck. His rap serves as the opening verse of the song, having him quote that his disses challenge the understanding of the crème de la crème of philosophical knowledge. “Triumph” peaked at number forty-six on the UK Singles Chart. It also made it to number six on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart.
Number one on our top 10 Wu-Tang Clan songs list is the outstanding hit “C.R.E.A.M.” The song’s title is an acronym of the phrase “Cash rules everything around me.” “C.R.E.A.M.” is featured on the group’s debut LP, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The song features lyrics that allude to Inspectah Deck and Raekwon’s childhood in New York City.
“C.R.E.A.M.” was Gold-certified in the US, receiving Silver certification in the UK. While the song remains one of the best hip-hop ballads of all time, it failed to perform great on the charts. “C.R.E.A.M.” managed position sixty on the Billboard Hot 100. It also rose to the eighth spot on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart.
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