DAR Hip Hop: The Top 5 Wu-Tang Solo Albums

(Compiled by @CherchezLaPorsh, @IUseCondoms, @JADBeats, and @TrueGodImmortal)

Introduction By @CherchezLaPorsh 
Twenty four years ago, we'd learn of a hip hop group consisting of 10 members from Staten Island, New York. They would be lead by the founder and producer The RZA and the group would be known as The Wu-Tang Clan. Each member brought with him a specific style of rapping, a story and a talent that work to shape the grimy gangster rap subgenre, which was just emerging at the time. The group debuted their first album as a collective that same year. They incorporated martial arts in everything they did and made their signature that of original beat creations, minimal samples and raw uncut bars. "Enter The 36 Chambers" was a huge success and The Clan became an industry favorite almost instantly.

After the success of their group debut album, they decided that one by one, the Wu members should release solo albums and they did. Over the next few years, each member would release their own debut and prove that they could perform well on their own also. Today, DAR takes a look at our five favorite Wu solo albums. This is one of the most difficult lists for to decide on as we all have a profound appreciation for each member, their solo work, and their contributions to hip hop, so with that said, let's get into it. Before we hit the top 5 however, let's get a few Honorable Mention choices in. 

Honorable Mention 

*ODB- Return To The 36 Chambers (1995)
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh)

-For my personal 4th selection on my list, I chose Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version". ODB has always been unique. His original rapping style, his over the top aggression, his rawness and unmatched delivery make this album notable. ODB was the embodiment of the emerging grime-style that New York was undertaking in hip hop and put together an album that is a classic. With tracks like "Protect Ya Neck II The Zoo", he kept the familiarity of the Clan's debut album intact. To infuse his own craziness, he included "Shimmy Shimmy Ya", "Brooklyn Zoo" and of course featured Wu members to maintain the cohesion. This really was a brilliant release and gave fans his best work before his untimely and unfortunate passing in '04.

*Raekwon- Only Built For Cuban Linx 2 (2009)
(Editor's Pick)

-As a standalone album, this could be a near classic. Honestly. Does it live up to the first? No, not at all, but that was impossible, as the first one is one of the greatest albums of all time. However, songs like "New Wu", "House Of Flying Daggers", "Have Mercy", and my personal favorite "Pyrex Vision" make this all round a very solid album . 

*Ghostface Killah- Fishscale  (2006)
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal)

-Many people slept on this album when it dropped, but I was an instant fan. This is the third best Ghostface solo album and I like it better than ODB's solo debut and Tical, Method's solo debut. It definitely has a place in my top 5 Wu solo albums and has one of the last official Wu collabos with ALL members. Songs like "Momma", "Whip You With A Strap", "Clipse Of Doom", and the Raekwon featured heater "R.A.G.U.". This was a really really great album and probably the most slept on in the Wu solo catalog. It's a near classic. 

Top 5
With this top 5, we'll have a different format. There will be opinions from multiple writers on why the album was so solid and enjoyable, as well as a top 5 sing list for each project. Let's get into it. 

5. Ghostface Killah- Supreme Clientele
(Chosen By @JADBeats, @TrueGodImmortal, and @IUseCondoms)

-Released right as the year 2000 was getting underway, this Ghostface album brings us some of the best music we've ever heard in the Wu catalog. There was a playful vibe in some of the songs as expected, but there was also a stylish feel to every verse, as Ghost continued to set himself apart, 

JADBeats- This was my no. 1 pick personally. One of the best albums to come from the Wu brand and my personal favorite. The top 5 tracks here? This is a tough one, but here we go:
"Saturday Night"
"Mighty Healthy"
"We Made It"

4. Method Man- Tical (1994)
(Chosen By @IUseCondoms, @CherchezLaPorsh, and @JADBeats)

-Method Man was the perceived star of the Wu. He seemingly broke out a bit and had people really captivated so he would be the first solo release from the group, and the result was a solid solo debut. I'm not the biggest fan of the album myself (young True did like "Bring The Pain" and "All I Need" a lot), but I recognize the impact of it, and it also received a good amount of votes, so it rests within the top 5. 

Porsha- After the success of the track "M.E.T.H.O.D M.A.N" from the 36 Chambers album, it was in the Clan's best interest to start off the solo releases with this one. While this isn't a perfect album, it is a great one. From "Release Yo Delf", "Bring The Pain" and "All I Need" to "Meth vs, Chef" and "Biscuits", Method Man gives us a full range of enjoyable songs and his incredibly smooth delivery and wit. He features his fellow Wu members but makes sure to be the one who carries the album. The RZA did a fantastic job on production and gave us a dope release that year.

JADBeats- The most charismatic of the Wu at one point, Meth came with one of those albums that was necessary. The top 5 tracks here? Let's see:
"Bring The Pain"
"All I Need"
"What The Blood Clot"
"Meth vs Chef"

3. Ghostface Killah- Ironman (1996)
(Chosen By @JADBeats, @CherchezLaPorsh, @IUseCondoms, and @TrueGodImmortal)

-This is my personal no. 2 pick. It's really an amazing listen and the best album from Ghostface. The production, the lyricism, the concept, it all flows perfectly and works very well, showcasing the ability of Ghostface to make great solo albums. Not only does he have the best solo discography in the Wu, he has one of the best discographies ever in hip hop. This is where it all began. 

Porsha- I love everything about Ghostface. From his comic book superhero title approach to his rap style, this guy is a gift to the Clan and to the industry. This album has a perfect tracklist although somewhat lengthy. He features almost all the Wu members so we get so much variation and his incredible and unique storytelling is appreciated. He gives us a candid and vulnerable track in "All That I Got Is You" and some animated ones in "Camay" and "Daytona 500". Ghost has one of the most imaginative styles of all the members and we hear it  track after track on here. Although I think the RZA is an absolute genius producer, I do love that Ghost had a hand production on this. Some consider this the best solo album from the Wu and they wouldn't be wrong to think this honestly. Ghostface is a gem and this album is an example of that.

JADBeats- The solo debut of one of the most prolific MCs in the game. This was a classic from top to bottom. My pick for the best 5 songs would be:
"Winter Warz"
"Motherless Child"
"All That I Got Is You"

2. GZA- Liquid Swords (1995)
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal, @IUseCondoms, @CherchezLaPorsh, and @JADBeats)

-The album from the Genius is widely acclaimed as one of the best albums to be released in hip hop in the 90s. There are so many classic tracks here, and the lyrical composite from GZA here is beyond special. It deserves to be in the top 3 without a doubt. 

Porsha- My personal second favorite Wu-Solo goes to GZA and his "Liquid Swords" album. There really isn't enough I can say about this album. It's just laced with so much insight, wisdom and GZA's smooth and soothing rap style to make this perfect. For those of us who love Wu-Tang for their unique martial arts infusion, you will appreciate it here also. "Liquid Swords" takes every aspect of Wu philosophy and adds another level of lyricism and flow that only the GZA could bring ("Shadowboxin' " and "Duel Of The Iron Mic" are great examples). This was a perfect addition to the solo list and a confirmation of why the GZA is referred to as "Genius". 

JADBeats- A true classic from the Genius. If I had to pick my 5 favorite songs from this one, they'd be as followed:
"Cold World"
"4th Chamber"
"I Gotcha Back"

1. Raekwon- Only Built For Cuban Linx (1995)
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal, @IUseCondoms, @JADBeats, and @CherchezLaPorsh)

-Was there REALLY any other choice for no. 1? Rae is accompanied by Ghost on a number of tracks here and they create one of the greatest albums we've ever heard in the history of the hip hop genre. Every song is a classic in its own right and there's nothing but flawless lyricism and flow here. Without a doubt, no. 1 in the entire Wu catalog, not just solo wise. Period. 

Porsha- At the number one spot for me is my favorite of the Wu Solos and my favorite hip hop album of all time, Raekwon's "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx". There's not much I can say here that I haven't said before. It's 17 tracks of flawless rapping, incredible lyricism and perfect themes and concepts. From the incorporation of the Wu-Gambinos (mafioso personas) to his storytelling of New York street living, this album has something for everyone. It's incredibly engaging, so easy to listen to and the variation from track to track with beats, flow and features makes it brilliant. OB4CL proved to be groundbreaking and Raekwon proved he was a powerhouse.

JADBeats- There aren't many albums that capture the hip hop world quite like this one. A true classic. The top 5 songs on this particular album were tough to pick, but here are my choices:
"Knowledge God"
"Incarcerated Scarfaces"
"Verbal Intercourse"
"Ice Cream"

This list was fun to compile, and I think we've done a good job ranking these albums. No matter what your order personally or your ranking, one could not deny all these albums are vital to the Wu of course, but more importantly, vital to hip hop culture. 



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