In 1991, Wu-Tang Clan was started in Staten Island, New York, and originally composed of RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man, , Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa. In 1993 they issued they debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) which is now considered one of the greatest albums in hip-hop history. Well-known collaborator Cappadonna became an official member in 2007, becoming the final addition to the group. They have produced four gold and platinum studio albums and in 2008 they were ranked and regarded as the number one hip-hop group of all time.
From 1992-1996 the group produced their own solo projects. RZA became the first member to get really big off one is his solo projects after producing the Gravediggaz. Their work 6 Foot Deep became one of the greatest works of history and founded the subgenre of hip-hip known as horrorcore. RZA then produced Method Man’s Tical album which held the track “All I Need”; the 1995 winner of the Academy Award Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
In 1997, they debuted their highly anticipated album Wu-Tang Forever and ended up number one on the billboard charts. This was such a big deal that CNN covered their success and how they managed to climb the charts with no conventional sense of commercial appeal. The groups popularity then began t decline after constantly creating new works one after the other. The public was tired of hearing from Wu-Tang and ultimately tuned them out.
However, In 2000 the group reconvened and made the album The W. Even though Ol’ Dirty Bastard was incarcerated at the time of the production his voice was recorded through telephone lines and talks with inmates and still made it onto the album specifically in the track “Conditioner” which also featured Snoop Dogg. Shortly after in 2001, Method Man began his career as an actor starring in the comedy How High. Later in 2004, Ol’ Dirty Bastard died after collapsing in Wu-Tang’s recording studio on 34th street in Manhattan New York. This brought the group closer together and they pay him homage several times after his passing.
Wu-Tang Clan was one of the most influential group of hip-hop because of their ability to connect with the everyday hustler. This is reflected in the language they used while rapping. The group created their own language and brought listeners in. They used street euphemisms and refused to simplify the language for those on the outside. It forced the listeners who weren’t on the streets to really dig deep into them to figure out what they were saying which ultimately changed the game of hip-hop culture. Hip-hop was now becoming more about sticking true to what you know and what you are. This became a strong black rooted thing of “never forgetting where you came from” which stays present even now.