Artist: Wu-Tang ClanTitle: Legend of the Wu-Tang: Wu-Tang Clan’s Greatest HitsRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Jason Newman
Given the uneven career of Wu-Tang Clan, ranging from undeniable classics like Enter The Wu-Tang 36 Chambers to weak (at best) efforts like Iron Flag, compiling a greatest hits package is bound to present some problems for its creators. The biggest question to answer: what can you offer to both people satisfied only owning their introduction, 36 Chambers, and those looking for an introduction to the group?
While creating a comparison to 36 Chambers would be impossible, Legend of the Wu-Tang: Wu-Tang Clan’s Greatest Hits (BMG) serves a dual purpose: both as a Wu-Tang primer for the uninitiated and necessity for the diehard fan. Predictably, Legend draws heavily from the group’s seminal debut 36 Chambers. Few groups, including Wu-Tang itself, would be able to top the success of 36 Chambers and it contributes nearly half the songs on Legend. To sweeten the deal for owners of 36 Chambers, alternate mixes of “Protect Ya Neck” and “Method Man” are provided. While the former is virtually indistinguishable from the original, the latter replaces the original with alternate verses and proves to be a highlight of the album.
In addition to the usual suspects from the “other three albums” – crowd bangers “Triumph,” “Gravel Pit,” etc. — three more obscure songs previously released on non-Wu albums show up. The group sleeps through “Diesel” from the Soul in the Hole soundtrack, but fares slightly better on “Shaolin Worldwide” from the
soundtrack to Next Friday and a cover of Run-D.M.C.’s
“Sucker M.C.s” from 1997’s In the Beginning…There
Was Rap compilation.
In a perfect world, 36 Chambers goes the Ready to Die/Illmatic route and gets re-issued with remixes and rarities. But as it stands, Legend provides a solid overview of the Wu’s career to date. Just make sure 36 Chambers is in your collection already.