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Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is the debut album of American East Coast hip hop collective Wu-Tang Clan, released November 9, 1993 on Loud Records and distributed by RCA. Many critics consider Enter The Wu-Tang one of the most significant albums of the 1990s and one of the greatest hip hop albums recorded. The distinctive sound of Enter the Wu-Tang created a blueprint for hardcore hip hop in the mid-1990s and helped return New York City hip hop to national prominence. The Wu-Tang Clan's debut was a landmark album in an era known as the East Coast Renaissance. The group's leader, RZA, produced the album with heavy, eerie beats, largely based on martial-arts movie clips and soul music samples. The album is named after the 1978 martial arts film The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.

The unique sound of Enter the Wu-Tang became hugely influential in modern hip hop production. The album also marked the first appearance of a number of rappers—including Method Man, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Ghostface Killah, and Raekwon—who have collectively sold millions of solo records. The lyrics of Enter the Wu-Tang are explicit, humorous, and free-associative, and served as a template for many subsequent hip hop records. The Source declared that the first two singles from Enter the Wu-Tang, "Protect Ya Neck" and "C.R.E.A.M.", are among the 100 Best Rap Singles yet released. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) had surprising chart success, despite its raw, underground sound. Its highest Billboard 200 chart ranking was number 41, and by May 15, 1995, it was certified platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America. The style and success of Enter the Wu-Tang became influential as it helped lead the way for such East Coast rap artists as Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep, and Jay-Z.

Conception

Background

In the late 1980s, cousins Robert Diggs, Gary Grice, and Russell Jones formed a group named Force of the Imperial Master, also known as the All in Together Now Crew. Each member recorded under an alias: Grice as The Genius, Diggs as Prince Rakeem or The Scientist, and Jones as The Specialist. The group never signed to a major label, but caught the attention of the New York rap scene and was recognized by rapper Biz Markie. By 1991, The Genius and Prince Rakeem were signed to separate record labels. The Genius released Words from the Genius on Cold Chillin' Records and Prince Rakeem released Ooh I Love You Rakeem on Tommy Boy Records.

Both were soon dropped by their labels. Embittered but unbowed, they took on new monikers (The Genius became GZA while Prince Rakeem became RZA) and refocused their efforts. RZA writes in The Wu-Tang Manual that "[Tommy Boy] made the decision to sign House of Pain over us. When they dropped me, I was thinking, 'Damn, they chose a bunch of whiteboy shit over me.'" RZA began collaborating with Dennis Coles, better known as Ghostface Killah, another rapper from the Stapleton Projects apartment complex in Staten Island. The duo decided to create a hip hop group whose ethos would be a blend of "Eastern philosophy picked up from kung fu movies, watered-down Nation of Islam preaching picked up on the New York streets, and comic books."

In 1992, RZA and Ghostface joined forces with GZA, Russell Jones (newly christened Ol' Dirty Bastard), and five other New York MCs to form Wu-Tang Clan. RZA assumed leadership of the group and was largely responsible for its artistic direction. After some of the members' past experiences, Wu-Tang Clan was initially hesitant to accept a contract offer and demanded that each member retain solo recording rights. On the strength of the "Protect Ya Neck/Method Man" single, Loud Records and RCA acceded to their demands, paving the way for Wu-Tang Clan to release 36 Chambers on those labels.

Title significance

The true meaning of the album's title is not well known or understood. According to a Five Percent philosophy, known as the Supreme Mathematics, the number 9 means “to bring into existence,” and this meant everything to the group’s debut album. The group being made of 9 members, each having 4 chambers of the heart, which are 2 atria, and 2 ventricles. All of this is the root for "36 Chambers", being that 9 x 4 = 36.

In reference to the 1978 kung fu film The 36th Chamber of Shaolin that the group enjoyed watching, the Clan considered themselves as lyrical masters of the 36 chambers, and arrived onto the rap scene while appearing to be ahead, and more advanced over others with "knowledge of 36 chambers of hip hop music when everyone else in hip hop was striving to attain the knowledge of 35 lessons." Also, while the human body has 108 pressure points (1 + 0 + 8 = 9), only the Wu-Tang martial artists learned and understood that 36 of those pressure points are deadly {9 + 36 = 45) (4 + 5 = 9) The lyrics and rhymes of the 9 members are to be considered as 36 deadly lyrical techniques for pressure points. All of this is the basis for the album title, Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, being that 9 members x 4 chambers = 36.

Recording

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was recorded at Firehouse Studio in New York City from 1992 to 1993. The album was produced, mixed, arranged, and programmed by RZA, and was mastered at The Hit Factory in New York City by Chris Gehringer. Because of an extremely limited budget, the group was only able to record in a small, inexpensive studio; with up to eight Wu-Tang members in the studio at once, the quarters were frequently crowded. To decide who appeared on each song, RZA forced the Wu-Tang rappers to battle with each other. This competition led to the track "Meth Vs. Chef", a battle between Method Man and Raekwon over the rights to rap over RZA's beat; this track was left off the Wu-Tang Clan's debut album but surfaced on Method Man's debut, Tical.

Music

Lyrical content

Enter the Wu Tang ushered in a new standard for hip hop at a time when hip hop music was dominated by the jazz-influenced styles of A Tribe Called Quest, the Afrocentric viewpoints of Public Enemy, and the rising popularity of West Coast gangsta rap. Rolling Stone described the album as possessing an aesthetic that was "low on hype and production values [and] high on the idea that indigence is a central part of blackness." While the lyrical content on Enter the Wu-Tang generally varies from rapper to rapper, the basic themes are the same — urban life, martial arts movies, comic book references, and marijuana — and the setting is invariably the harsh environment of New York City. The lyrics have a universally dark tone and seem at times to be simply aggressive cries. Allmusic contributor Steve Huey praises the lyricists for their originality and caustic humor:

With the exception of "Method Man" and GZA's "Clan in da Front", every song features multiple rappers contributing verses of varying lengths. The verses are essentially battle rhymes, mixed with humor and outsized tales of urban violence and drug use. There is some debate about whether the lyrics on 36 Chambers are properly classified as gangsta rap or something else entirely. In a Stylus Magazine review, writer Gavin Mueller evokes the bleakness of the Wu-Tang world view:

All nine original Wu-Tang Clan members contribute vocals on Enter the Wu-Tang. Masta Killa only appears on one track, contributing the last verse of "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'", but all the other rappers appear on at least two songs. Method Man and Raekwon are the most prolific of the group, featured on eight tracks. Though the performers have widely differing techniques, the chemistry between them is a key ingredient of the album's success. Pitchfork Media asserts that "Half the charm is in the cast's idiosyncrasies: ODB's hovering sing-song, Raekwon's fake stutter, Ghostface's verbal tics, Method Man's hazy, dusted voice."

Production

RZA produced Enter the Wu-Tang by creating sonic collages from classic soul samples and clips from martial arts movies such as Shaolin and Wu Tang. He complemented the rappers' performances with "lean, menacing beats that evoked their gritty, urban surroundings more effectively than their words", according to Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic. The use of soul samples and various esoteric clips, and the technique by which RZA employed them in his beats, was unique and largely unprecedented in hip hop. The gritty sound of Enter the Wu-Tang is due, at least in part, to the use of cheap equipment to produce the album. Many critics argue that this plays directly into the appealing "street" quality that makes the album a classic, including Ben Yew, who wrote:

Although Ol' Dirty Bastard is given co-production credit on "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" and Method Man is co-credited for "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit", critics and admirers universally credit RZA with developing a "dusty yet digital production style [that] helped legitimize the use of more diverse sample sources to the hardcore New York rap massive, breaking away from James Brown based beats and embracing a style that turned the Underdog theme into the menacing coda for a group of underground terrorists."

Singles

"Protect Ya Neck" and "Tearz" were the first tracks recorded by the Wu-Tang Clan. "Protect Ya Neck" is a free-associative and braggadocious battle rap featuring eight of the nine Wu-Tang members, and "Tearz" tells stories of a man getting shot, and another one who contracts HIV after having unprotected sex. They were independently released as the "Protect Ya Neck"/"After Laughter Comes Tears" single, which RZA financed by demanding $100 (USD) from each rapper who wanted a verse on the A-side. The single was later re-released in a much larger pressing, with "Method Man" as the B-side.

"Method Man" reached number 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart. "Method Man" gained significant airplay partly for its catchy refrain, which copies the refrain of Hall & Oates' "Method of Modern Love" ("The M-E-T-H-O-D...Man").

"C.R.E.A.M.", featuring Raekwon and Inspectah Deck, was the second single from the album and the first new A-side to be released after the group signed with Loud/RCA. Its lyrics deal with the struggle of poverty and the desire to earn money by any means. It was the Wu-Tang Clan's most successful single, reaching number 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 8 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. The single topped the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart. Blender describes "C.R.E.A.M." as the standout track on 36 Chambers. "Can It Be All So Simple", featuring Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, was the album's third single. It failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but reached number 24 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. A remix of "Can It Be All So Simple" was later featured on Raekwon's debut solo album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… in 1995.

The group made music videos for the three A-sides and for "Method Man", "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'", and "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta Fuck Wit". As the group's profile increased, the quality of their videos improved; though the "Protect Ya Neck" video resembled a home movie, later videos were directed by rising hip hop music video director Hype Williams. The videos received almost no airplay on MTV, but were extremely popular on video-by-request channels such as The Box. Touré wrote in his 1993 Rolling Stone review that "in Brooklyn, N.Y., right now and extending back a few months, the reigning fave is the Wu-Tang Clan, who are to the channel what Guns N' Roses are to MTV."

Reception

Initial

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) received a mixed response from critics on its release. Rolling Stone's review was decidedly ambivalent, praising the album's sound, but noting that "Wu-Tang...are more ciphers than masterful creations. In refusing to commodify themselves, they leave blank the ultimate canvas – the self." Entertainment Weekly was more enthusiastic, giving the album an A, and writing that "With its rumble jumble of drumbeats, peppered with occasional piano plunking, Enter has a raw, pass-the-mike flavor we haven't heard since rap was pop's best-kept secret." Despite general critical favor of the album, Robert Christgau's review warned listeners of Enter the Wu-Tung's critical hype and expectations:

Music journalist Touré declared of the album, that "This is hip-hop you won't find creeping up the Billboard charts but you will hear booming out of Jeep stereos in all the right neighborhoods." However, Enter the Wu-Tang peaked at number 41 on the Billboard 200 chart and reached number 8 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. The album continued to sell steadily and was eventually certified platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America on May 15, 1995.

Retrospect

Since its release, Enter the Wu-Tang has risen in stature to become one of the most highly-regarded albums in hip hop. In 2003, Rolling Stone named the album among the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time", asserting that "East-coast hip-hop made a return in 1993." The magazine later listed it as one of the "Essential Albums of the 90's." The Source rated Enter the Wu-Tang as one of the "The Source Magazine's 100 Best Rap Albums", and named "Protect Ya Neck/Method Man" and "C.R.E.A.M." among the "100 Best Rap Singles". MTV declared it among "The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time." Blender named Enter the Wu-Tang among the "500 CDs You Must Own", calling the album a "spare, stunning debut of space-age lo-fi funk." Non-U.S. publications have acclaimed 36 Chambers as well: Australia's Juice magazine placed it at number 40 on a list of "100 Greatest Albums of the '90s", and Les Inrockuptibles of France ranked it number 59 on a list of "The 100 Best Albums 1986–1996".

In naming Enter the Wu-Tang one of the 50 best albums of the 1990s, Pitchfork Media staff member Rollie Pemberton summed up the album's critical recognition by writing:

Influence

East Coast hip hop

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is one of the most celebrated and influential albums in hip hop history. Adam Heimlich of the New York Press considers the album a touchstone of hardcore hip-hop, a gritty, stripped-down, dark and violent sub-genre of hip hop and the signature sound of New York City's rap scene during the mid-1990s. He writes that, "the Wu-Tang Clan...all but invented 90s New York rap, back when the notion of an East Coast gangsta still meant Schoolly D or Kool G. Rap....[They] designed the manner and style in which New York artists would address what Snoop and Dre had made rap’s hottest topics: drugs and violence." A new generation of New York rappers, many of them inspired by the Wu-Tang Clan's example, released a flurry of classic albums that later became known as the East Coast Renaissance. Allmusic indicates that Nas's Illmatic, The Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die, Mobb Deep's The Infamous, and Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt are among the records of this era that reflected the Wu-Tang Clan's influence.

At the time of the album's release, mainstream hip hop was dominated by West Coast hip hop. Enter the Wu Tang (along with the critically acclaimed Illmatic and the commercial success of Ready to Die) was able to shift the emphasis away from the melodious, synthesizer-driven G-funk and restore interest into the East Coast hip hop scene. According to one columnist, "When Enter the Wu-Tang: The 36 Chambers first graced the pages of rap lore in 1993, Dr. Dre's funk-filled, West Coast gangster rap dominated the business. Though this initial dominance was difficult to overcome, Wu-Tang still managed to carve out a piece of rap history."

Hip hop production

RZA's production on Wu-Tang Clan's debut album had a profound and significant influence on subsequent hip hop producers. Blackfilm.com asserts that Enter the Wu-Tang's production formula "transformed the sound of underground rap into mainstream formula, and virtually changed the face of contemporary music as popsters once knew it." Many successful rap producers have admitted to the influence of RZA's beats on their own production efforts. 9th Wonder, a producer and former member of Little Brother, is one of many whose vocal sampling styles are inspired by RZA. The album's reliance on soul music samples was novel at the time, but 21st century producers such as The Alchemist, Kanye West and Just Blaze now rely on this technique. The production on two Mobb Deep albums, The Infamous and Hell on Earth, are "indebted" to RZA's early production with Wu-Tang Clan.

The vocals from tracks on 36 Chambers have been extensively sampled by other artists and producers. Raekwon and Inspectah Deck's vocals from "C.R.E.A.M." have been sampled on Masta Ace's "Maintain" and Reflection Eternal's "Good Mourning", respectively. Common's "Nuthin' to Do" samples vocals from Ol' Dirty Bastard on "Protect Ya Neck". The Pharcyde's "Devil Music" samples vocals from U-God on "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'".

Subsequent Wu-Tang work

Following the success of Enter the Wu-Tang, the individual members of the group negotiated and signed solo contracts with a variety of different labels: Method Man signed with Def Jam, Ol' Dirty Bastard with Elektra Records, GZA with Geffen Records, and Ghostface Killah with Epic Records. This expansion across the music industry was an element of RZA's plan for industry-wide domination, wherein "All Wu releases are deemed to be 50 percent partnerships with Wu-Tang Productions and each Wu member with solo deal must contribute 20 percent of their earnings back to Wu-Tang Productions, a fund for all Wu members." RZA's plan proved successful: every member of the Wu-Tang Clan has released a solo record.

Wu-Tang Clan have produced four subsequent group albums since Enter the Wu-Tang, including Wu-Tang Forever, which is certified as a quadruple platinum record. None of the subsequent Wu-Tang Clan albums have garnered the critical accolades that their debut was accorded. Several songs from the 36 Chambers sessions later resurfaced on other Wu-Tang Clan releases. Raekwon's 1995 solo album, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..., features a remix of "Can It Be All So Simple". Method Man's debut album, Tical, contains a remix of "Method Man" as a bonus track. Later albums by Wu-Tang Clan affiliates refer to Enter the Wu-Tang in their titles: Ol' Dirty Bastard's 1995 solo debut Return to the 36 Chambers and the live release, Disciples of the 36 Chambers: Chapter 1.

Track listing

CD/cassette

Tracks 1–5 are on the Shaolin Sword side of the album and tracks 6–12 are on the Wu-Tang Sword side. The international version contains an additional track on the latter.
# Title Time Producer(s) Performer(s) Samples
1 "Bring da Ruckus" 4:10 RZA

  • "Synthetic Substitution" as performed by Melvin Bliss
  • Dialogue from the motion picture Shaolin & Wu Tang
  • Dialogue from the motion picture Ten Tigers from Kwangtung
  • 2 "Shame on a Nigga" 2:57 RZA

    • Intro: Raekwon
    • Chorus: Ol' Dirty Bastard
    • First verse: Ol' Dirty Bastard
    • Second verse: Method Man
    • Third verse: Raekwon
    • Fourth verse: Ol' Dirty Bastard
  • "Different Strokes" as performed by Syl Johnson; written by Johnny Cameron and John Zachary
  • "Black and Tan Fantasy" as performed by Thelonious Monk; written by Duke Ellington and Bubber Miley
  • 3 "Clan In Da Front" 4:33 RZA

    • Intro: RZA
    • Chorus: GZA
    • First verse: GZA
    • Second verse: GZA
  • "Synthetic Substitution" as performed by Melvin Bliss
  • "Honey Bee" as performed by New Birth, written by Anne Bogan, Doug Edwards, Harvey Fuqua and Dennis Walker
  • "Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are" as performed by Thelonious Monk
  • 4 "Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber" 6:05 RZA

    • Intro Skit: Raekwon, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, U-God
    • First verse: Raekwon
    • Second verse: Method Man
    • Third verse: Inspectah Deck
    • Fourth verse: Ghostface Killah
    • Fifth verse: RZA
    • Sixth verse: Ol' Dirty Bastard
    • Seventh verse: GZA
  • "Spinning Wheel" as performed by Dr. Lonnie Smith
  • 5 "Can It Be All So Simple" 6:53 RZA
    /4th Disciple

    • Intro: RZA & Raekwon
    • Chorus: Raekwon & Ghostface Killah
    • First verse: Raekwon
    • Second verse: Ghostface Killah
  • "The Way We Were" as performed by Gladys Knight & the Pips; written by Marilyn Bergman, Alan Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch
  • "I Got The" as performed by Labi Siffre; written by Labi Siffre
  • 6 "Da Mystery of Chessboxin' " 4:48 RZA
    Ol' Dirty Bastard (co-producer)
    4th Disciple

    • Chorus: Method Man
    • First verse: U-God
    • Second verse: Inspectah Deck
    • Third verse: Raekwon
    • Fourth verse: Ol' Dirty Bastard
    • Fifth verse: Ghostface Killah
    • Sixth verse: Masta Killa
  • Dialogue from the motion picture Shaolin & Wu Tang
  • Dialogue from the motion picture Five Deadly Venoms
  • 7 "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit" 3:36 RZA
    Method Man (co-producer)

    • Intro: RZA
    • Chorus: RZA
    • First verse: RZA
    • Second verse: Inspectah Deck
    • Third verse: Method Man
    • Outro: RZA
  • "Impeach the President" as performed by The Honey Drippers; written by Roy C. Hammond
  • "Hihache" as performed by Lafayette Afro Rock Band; written by Leroy Gomes
  • "Underdog Theme" as written by W. Watts Biggers
  • 8 "C.R.E.A.M." 4:12 RZA

    • Intro: Method Man & Raekwon
    • Chorus: Method Man
    • First verse: Raekwon
    • Second verse: Inspectah Deck
  • "As Long as I've Got You" as performed by The Charmels; written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter
  • 9 "Method Man" 5:50 RZA

    • Pre-song dialogue: Method Man & Raekwon
    • Intro: GZA
    • First verse: Method Man
    • Second verse: Method Man
    • Outro: RZA
  • "Synthetic Substitution" as performed by Melvin Bliss
  • "Sport" as performed by Lightin' Rod; written by Kool & The Gang and Lightin' Rod
  • "More Bounce to the Ounce" as performed by Zapp; written by Roger Troutman
  • "Method of Modern Love" as performed by Hall & Oates; written by Janna Allen and Daryl Hall
  • "Sundown" as performed by Gordon Lightfoot
  • 10 "Protect Ya Neck" 4:52 RZA

    • Intro: RZA
    • First verse: Inspectah Deck
    • Second verse: Raekwon
    • Third verse: Method Man
    • Bridge: U-God
    • Fourth verse: Ol' Dirty Bastard
    • Fifth verse: Ghostface Killah
    • Sixth verse: RZA
    • Seventh verse: GZA
  • "Tramp" as performed by Lowell Fulson
  • "The Grunt" as performed by The J.B.'s
  • "Sing a Simple Song" as performed by Sly & the Family Stone
  • "Cold Feet" as performed by Albert King
  • 11 "Tearz" 4:17 RZA

    • First verse: RZA
    • Second verse: Ghostface Killah
  • "After Laughter (Comes Tears)" as performed by Wendy Rene; written by Marianne Brittenum, Johnny Frierson, Mary Frierson and Jackson
  • 12 "Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber—Part II" 6:10 RZA

    • Intro: GZA
    • First verse: Raekwon
    • Second verse: Method Man
    • Third verse: Inspectah Deck
    • Fourth verse: Ghostface Killah
    • Fifth verse: RZA
    • Sixth verse: Ol' Dirty Bastard
    • Seventh verse: GZA

    13* "Method Man" (Skunk Mix) 3:12 RZA

    An asterisk (*) indicates international version bonus track

    The information on music that is sampled is extracted from the-breaks.com.

    Vinyl LP

    The vinyl LP has a different track order than that of the CD and cassette:
    Shaolin Sword (Side 1)

    • Bring Da Ruckus
    • Shame On A Nigga
    • Clan In Da Front
    • Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber
    • Can It Be All So Simple
    • Protect Ya Neck
    • Intermission

    Wu-Tang Sword (Side 2)

    • Da Mystery of Chessboxin'
    • Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthi' Ta F' Wit
    • C.R.E.A.M.
    • Method Man
    • Tearz
    • Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber - Part II
    • Conclusion

    Accolades

    The information regarding accolades attributed to Enter the Wu-Tang is taken from AcclaimedMusic.net.
    Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
    Blender USA 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die 2003 *
    The 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time 2002 59
    CDNOW Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980–98 1999 1
    Dance de Lux Spain The 25 Best Hip-Hop Records 2001 5
    DJMag UK The Top 50 Most Influential Dance Albums Since 1991 2006 38
    Ego Trip USA Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980–98 1999 1
    GQ UK The 100 Coolest Albums in the World Right Now! 2005 35
    Helsingin Sanomat Finland 50th Anniversary of Rock 2004 *
    Juice Australia 100 Greatest Albums of the '90s 1999 40
    Les Inrockuptibles France 50 Years of Rock'n'Roll 2004 *
    The 100 Best Albums 1986–1996 1996 59
    Mojo UK The 100 Greatest Albums of Our Lifetime 1993–2006 2006 62
    Mojo 1000, the Ultimate CD Buyers Guide 2001 *
    The Mojo Collection, Third Edition 2003 *
    Mucchio Selvaggio Italy 100 Best Albums by Decade 2002 Top 20
    New Musical Express UK Top 100 Albums of All Time 2003 82
    Nude as the News USA The 100 Most Compelling Albums of the 90s 1999 61
    Paul Morley UK Words and Music, 5 x 100 Greatest Albums of All Time 2003 *
    Pitchfork Media USA Top 100 Favorite Records of the 1990s 36
    Q UK 90 Best Albums of the 1990s 1999 *
    Rate Your Music USA All-Time Top 500 Albums 2003 51
    All-Time Top 500 Albums 2005 45
    All-Time Top 500 Albums 2007 20
    Record Collector UK 10 Classic Albums from 21 Genres for the 21st Century 2000 *
    Robert Dimery USA 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die 2005 *
    Rock & Folk Magazine France The Best Albums from 1963 to 1999 1999 *
    Rock de Lux Spain The 150 Best Albums from the 90s 2000 25
    The 200 Best Albums of All Time 2002 178
    Rolling Stone USA The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 2003 386
    The Essential Recordings of the 90s 1999 *
    Germany The 500 Best Albums of All Time 2004 453
    Select UK The 100 Best Albums of the 90s 1996 21
    Spin USA Top 90 Albums of the 90's 2005 22
    Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years 20
    Technikart France 50 Albums from the Last 10 Years 1997 *
    The Source USA The Source Magazine's 100 Best Rap Albums 1998 *
    The Sun Canada The Best Albums from 1971 to 2000 2001 *
    VIBE USA 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century 1999 *
    51 Albums Representing a Generation, a Sound and a Movement 2004 *
    Visions Magazine Germany The Most Important Albums of the 90s 1999 67

    (* ) designates lists that are unordered.

    Chart history

    Album

    Chart (1993) Peak
    position
    U.S. Billboard 200 #41
    U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums #8

    Singles

    Song Chart (1993) Peak
    position
    "Method Man" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 69
    U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 40
    U.S. Hot Rap Singles 17
    U.S. Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 42
    Song Chart (1994) Peak
    position
    "C.R.E.A.M." U.S. Billboard Hot 100 60
    U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 32
    U.S. Hot Rap Singles 8
    U.S. Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 1
    "Can It Be All So Simple" U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 82
    U.S. Hot Rap Singles 24
    U.S. Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 9

    Personnel

    Information taken from Allmusic.

    • Carlos Bess - engineer
    • Richard Bravo - set design, design
    • Inspectah Deck - vocals, lyrics
    • Mitchell Diggs - executive producer, supervisor, production supervisor
    • 4th Disciple - scratching
    • Chris Gehringer - mastering
    • Ghostface Killah - executive producer, vocals, lyrics
    • John Gibbons - supervisor, production supervisor
    • Oli Grant - executive producer, supervisor, production supervisor
    • GZA/Genius - vocals, lyrics
    • Daniel Hastings - photography
    • Masta Killa - vocals
    • Michael McDonald - supervisor, production supervisor
    • Method Man - vocals, producer, lyrics
    • Jacqueline Murphy - artwork, art direction
    • Ol' Dirty Bastard - vocals, producer, lyrics
    • Prince Rakeem - arranger, executive producer, mixing, producer, programming, vocals, lyrics
    • Raekwon - vocals, lyrics
    • Ethan Ryman - engineer
    • Mike Theodore - supervisor, production supervisor
    • U-God - vocals, lyrics
    • Tracey Waples - executive producer
    • Amy Wenzler - design

    Notes

    References

    • Weisbard, Eric; Craig Marks (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books.

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