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Curt McGirt

Rating the Wu-Tang solo debuts

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Liquid Swords is bound to be #1 and I don't even think internet snarkiness or people that really love Cuban Linx are gonna beat it, but anyway, what are your ratings? 

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My number 1 is Return to the 36 Chambers. That is my number 1 for the entire genre of rap/hip hop. Possibly even number 1 if I did a top 100 90s list for the projects done here. I didn't do one for the 90s so I am not 100% sure. It would be in the debate for number for sure though. I owned a GZA album I thought was before Liquid Swords. Don't remember the name of the album though. Hopefully someone else can clarify. Can't check at the moment.

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Are we talking about the best Wu-Tang solo debuts in the moment they were released, or are we ranking them based on how much they have held up over time?  Liquid Swords was great when it came out, but I haven't felt compelled to listen to it in years.  Cuban Linx holds up a little better, but the Wu-Tang solo debut that I seem to listen to the most is Ironman.  I don't know if it is, but that album sounds just as good right now as it did when it came out to me. 

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01. Liquid Swords -- Still bump this one to this day: front-to-back classic.

02. Cuban Linx -- A touch overlong but laced with killer tracks

03. Iron Man -- A touch overlong, a couple weaker spots but lots of great stuff too

04. Tical -- Took a long time to grow on me, super-grimy, Meth laces it

05. Return To The 36 Chambers -- Wildly inconsistent, like the man himself, but when he spits fire, look out

06. No Said Date -- Supremely underrated, took forever to come and so feels more cared for than the shoddier stuff below

07. Uncontrolled Substance -- It's okay, a few bangers, not what I expected from his group appearances

08. Golden Arms Redemption -- See above, though I didn't expect as much from U as Deck

09. Bobby Digital In Stereo -- I never liked the BD persona

 

If we were including affiliates, Heavy Mental would make my top five.

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  • Liquid Swords - made me run out and find Shogun Assassin for the samples
  • Only Built For Cuban Linx - It had a purple cassete and was awesome.  Raekwon had some serious heat.
  • Ironman - Ghostface is probably the most consistent member of the Clan
  • Return to 36 Chambers - ODB does what he does best , makes it dirty
  • Tical - Method Man surprised me the most with this album, very put together
  • No Said Date - Masta Killer was a pleasant surprise.
  • Bobby Digital - A little too quirky and experimental

Didn't really listen to the U-God, Cappadonna, or Inspektah Dek solo albums

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To me it's a tie between LS and OBFCL. Tical is good the best kind of Meth just gritty beats and dense rhymes. Ghosts album is good I'm a huge Ghost fan and while I like Ironman I feel he didnt come into his own until Supreme Clintele. And Return of the 36 Chambers is from another fucking planet.

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You have forced me to go back and listen to some old Wu-Tang Clan, I don't know if I'll ever forgive you.  I'll also never forgive the world for not inventing a sarcasm font. 

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I listened to Liquid Swords and Only Built for Cuban Linx yesterday and the thing that has struck me even more than how good both of those albums still are is that the Rza is a fucking genius.  Liquid Swords is one of the bleakest, moodiest, sounding rap albums I've ever heard and it is still fucking excellent.  It sounds like the last thing you would want to hear while walking down a dark alley.  Only Built for Cuban Linx on the other hand sounds like a movie.  Every beat could score a scene in a movie, Raekwon is a self-confessed movie buff and it shows in the way the album is put together.  There are peaks and valleys, action and drama, and every single beat sets the appropriate mood for the song.  The fact that all of these beats were made by the same person is incredible.

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Liquid Swords is number one and the best. 

 

I loved Tical but Jesus, all of the indie remixes were light years better than the stuff on the album.  The Prodigy remix of Release Yo Delf just smokes the original track like a blunt.

 

This shit will tear a hole straight through the speaker in your trunk.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uivw43LOwKo

 

Why did it take Hip Hop over a decade to hook back up with the Bass & Drum / Big Beats guys and House Music masters of electro?  They had a lot to learn from each other.

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My initial reason for posting this was because I (shamefully) hadn't had all the OG solo Wu-Tangs and had just downloaded Bobby Digital. It didn't strike me well at all, but I had Liquid/Cuban/Return/Iron Man and wanted to get input on where next to turn. Return I've had forever and has been great from the jump, yeah it's inconsistent and yeah Nigga Please can crush it at times but it's still awesome. Cuban Linx and Liquid Swords might be even. Yeah, I said it. Iron Man I need to listen to more of, and I guess Bobby Digital and all of the rest too. Don't know why I don't have Tical, that has to be next on the list.

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Liquid Swords isn't just the best Wu Tang album, it isn't just one of the best rap albums, it is arguably one of the best albums in any genre by anyone ever. There, I said it. If you can get a 60-year old white, Irish-American dude to love your album that much you are doing something very, very right.

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this thread being bumped made me put all my Wu-Tang albums on and just let 'em play for like 9 hours. i'm not disappointed at all.

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Posted (edited)

Purple Tape > Liquid Swords > Return to the 36 > No Said Date > Iron Man > Tical > Uncontrolled Substance > Golden Arms > Bobby Digital

And I'm firm on those.

Always thought Tical was overrrated, I don't know why Meth has never really put together a great solo album. At least I have Blackout! Same goes for Iron Man, but  I always chalked that up to OB4CL coming out first and being the true "first" Ghost record, even if the split with Rae reads more 60/40.

Liquid Swords is the most cohesive and has the best movie dialogue samples but there's just enough questionable philosophy in it to keep it off my top spot. Perfected free association spaghetti-coke drama beats out anything that's explicitly anti-abortion and tells me that all white people come from a cursed tribe of Israel. I know dealing with wacky Five Percent Nation stuff is part of being a Wu fan but Liquid Swords lays it on a bit thick.

Edited by John E. Dynamite

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3 hours ago, John E. Dynamite said:

Purple Tape > Liquid Swords > Return to the 36 > No Said Date > Iron Man > Tical > Uncontrolled Substance > Golden Arms > Bobby Digital

And I'm firm on those.

Always thought Tical was overrrated, I don't know why Meth has never really put together a great solo album. At least I have Blackout! Same goes for Iron Man, but  I always chalked that up to OB4CL coming out first and being the true "first" Ghost record, even if the split with Rae reads more 60/40.

Liquid Swords is the most cohesive and has the best movie dialogue samples but there's just enough questionable philosophy in it to keep it off my top spot. Perfected free association spaghetti-coke drama beats out anything that's explicitly anti-abortion and tells me that all white people come from a cursed tribe of Israel. I know dealing with wacky Five Percent Nation stuff is part of being a Wu fan but Liquid Swords lays it on a bit thick.

For me it's Purple Tape > Liquid Swords >Ironman>Return to the 36>Tical...and I'm not sure about the rest.  

I'm 100% with you on Tical.  Method Man is in the conversation for best "group" rapper of all time.  He's great once verse at a time, which is fine when he's rapping with the Wu-Tang Clan or with Redman, but I don't need to hear an entire album from him.  The funny thing about it is that Inspectah Deck may actually be better than him one verse at a time.  

Liquid Swords is a great album, one of my favorite of the entire Wu-Tang catalog, but I'm going to have to agree with you.  It is as good as an album gets while being completely and totally head assed.  I honestly don't know if I know a single person who would call that album relatable.  I don't know what 70% of what Ghostface Killah says on Supreme Cliente even means, and I find it more relatable than Liquid Swords.  

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