In honor of the 20th anniversary of Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)…
1. The VCR-quality recording of Shaolin and Wu Tang dialogue.
2. “Bring da motherf*cking ruckus.” Great opening line, or greatest opening line?
3. Unless you count “Ghostface catch the blast of a hype verse” as the first verse, in which case, same question.
4. The finger snaps.
5. Raekwon sounding like the monster from a great cheesy horror movie.
6. The album’s first pop culture reference: “Bust this, I’m kicking like Seagal, Out for Justice.”
7. Arguments about the group’s best member. (Actual: Raekwon; Personal Favorite: ODB.)
8. The kung-fu fight that precedes the scratches in “Shame on a N*gga.”
9. The way it sounds like the entire Wu-Tang family is pushing to the front of the line to grab the first verse, and how Ol’ Dirty Bastard actually gets it, of course. HOW YOU LIKE HIM NOW.
10. But everyone eventually gets a verse, minus U-God obviously, before the first repeat. In order, it goes: RZA, Ghostface, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and Method Man before hitting up Raekwon again.
11. U-God jokes.
12. The mad brilliance of ODB when he rhymes “diarrhea” with “gonorrhea.”
13. The “UP FROM THE 36 CHAMBERS” laugh.
14. The buzzing hornet that accompanies the family tree shout-outs (“The true Robocop coming through”).
15. “On 34th Street, in the Square of Herald/I gamed Ella, the bitch caught a Fitz like Gerald-/-ine Ferraro, who’s full of sorrow cause the ho didn’t win.” That might be the greatest line ever.
16. “Killer Tape Skit” being one of the very few non-awful skits in rap history.
17. The album’s high quality grittiness, courtesy of RZA.
18. “Peace, I’m out, jetting like a runaway slave” as a way of signing off a verse.
19. The nostalgic sadness of “Can It Be All So Simple,” proving Wu-Tang aren’t just a band of goofs.
20. The dedication section.
21. U-GOD GETTING A VERSE IN “DA MYSTERY OF CHESSBOXIN.”
22. ODB’s guttural moans, sounding like a gargling ghost.
23. How “Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuthin’ ta f*ck wit” is still fun to shout.
24. “I’m causing more Family Feuds than Richard Dawson.”
25. The geography lesson at song’s end (“The whole f*cking West coast”).
26. Cash. Rules. Everything. Around. Me.
27. Inspectah and Raekwon, and only Inspectah and Raekwon, giving “C.R.E.A.M.” the regard it deserves.
28. And now the three best threats: “I’ll f*ckin’ tie you to a f*ckin’ bedpost with your ass cheeks spread out and sh*t, right, put a hanger on a f*ckin’ stove and let that sh*t sit there for like a half hour, take it off, and stick it in your ass slow like tsssssssss.”
29. “I’ll f*ckin’ lay your nuts on a f*ckin dresser, just your nuts layin’ on a f*ckin dresser and bang them sh*ts with a spiked f*ckin’ bat.”
30. “I’ll f*ckin’ sew your asshole closed, and keep feedin’ you and feedin’ you, and feedin’ you…”
31. Picture it: Hall and Oates, whose “Method of Modern Love” is sampled as the hook to “Method Man,” listening to “P-A-N-T-Y-R-A-I-D-E-R mad raw.” I bet they love it.
32. “Protect Ya Neck,” a track at least partially about how terrible labels are, being the song that brought Wu-Tag national attention and a record deal.
33. The escalation of badassery, from “call me the rap assassinator” to “matter of fact, bring out the girls and let’s have a mud fight,” not just in “Protect Ya Neck” but everywhere.
34. The “After Laughter (Comes Tears)” sample.
35. “So after the laughter I guess comes the tears.” Sh*t.
36. Without Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), would we have The Man of All Rainbows in our lives?