The term “36 Chambers” is as indelibly imprinted in the history and DNA of hip-hop as turntables and microphones, as the subtitle of Wu-Tang Clan‘s debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang, released November 9, 1993. Now, 25 years later, the Clan has returned to the chambers with a new documentary detailing their classic, game-changing album’s creation, For The Children, which makes its own debut 25 years to the day of its subject’s release, November 9, 2018, on Youtube. You can watch the trailer above.
When Enter The Wu-Tang and its singles “Protect Ya Neck,” “Method Man,” and especially “C.R.E.A.M.” came out in the yearlong span surrounding that pivotal November release date, it upended the expectations and sounds of hip-hop and rap in a way no one could have expected. With their wild, grimy aesthetic, they created a lane for both unconventional artists with unusual influences like comic books and kung-fu movies as well as more rugged, hardcore styles that were as gritty as the New York streets from which they hailed.
The production on the album changed the game as well. With soulful, scratchy beats crafted by de facto group leader the RZA, they transformed the practice of sampling in hip-hop — along with branding, album sequencing, and record deal negotiation (their unusually-structured deal with RCA/Loud masterminded by RZA allowed for each group member to seek other, more lucrative offers under other imprints). Enter The Wu-Tang truly changed the game in so many ways and has left a lasting impression on rap music that is still felt today. For The Children, which takes its title from Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s amusing Grammy Awards speech, is likely worth checking out. Hopefully, it at least addresses this: