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Wu Tang Clan Biography

Home > Music > W > Wu Tang Clan > Biography

Birth Place: Staten Island, New York, U.S.
Years Active: 1992 – present
Genres: East Coast Hip Hop, Hardcore Hip Hop

The Wu-Tang Clan is a hip hop group from New York City that consists of RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard. They are frequently joined by fellow childhood friend Cappadonna, a quasi member of the group. They were formed in (and are associated with) the New York City borough of Staten Island (referred to by members as "Shaolin"), though some of their members are from Brooklyn and one is from The Bronx. One of the most critically and commercially successful hip hop groups of all time, Wu-Tang Clan have introduced or launched the careers of numerous other artists and groups, and by in 1994 had been credited with over 300 Wu-Tang Clan affiliates, known as the Wu-Tang Killa Bees, consisting of rappers, producers, and record label CEOs.

Their debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” was released November 9, 1993 on Loud Records and distributed through RCA Records. Despite its raw, underground sound, the album had surprising chart success, peaking at number 41 on the US Billboard 200 chart. By 1995, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of one million copies in the United States. "Protect Ya Neck" and "Tearz" were the first tracks recorded by the Wu-Tang Clan. "Method Man" reached number 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart.

The double album “Wu-Tang Forever” followed, being released June 3, 1997 on Loud/RCA Records. “Wu-Tang Forever” debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 612,000 copies sold in its first week. The album was certified 4X's platinum by the RIAA on October 15, 1997, making it the group's highest selling album to date. The album's first single, "Triumph", was over five minutes long, featured nine verses (one from each member plus Cappadonna and excluding ODB who appeared on the intro and bridge), and no hook or a repeated phrase. Upon its release, “Wu-Tang Forever” received favorable reviews from most music critics, while it also earned the group a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Album at the 40th Grammy Awards in 1998.

“The W,” released November 21, 2000 on Loud/Columbia Records, debuted at number five on the Billboard 200, and number one on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart with 301,000 copies sold in the first week. It produced several singles, which also charted as well. The album was certified platinum by the RIAA on December 14, 2000.

“Iron Flag” was released December 18, 2001 on Loud Records. The album was certified gold in sales by the RIAA. The album debuted at #32 on the Billboard 200 with 153,000 copies sold in the first week released. It featured the charting single "Uzi (Pinky Ring)."

“8 Diagrams” was released December 11, 2007 on SRC/Universal Motown Records. The album was released three years after the passing of Ol' Dirty Bastard, and six years after the group's previous LP “Iron Flag,” during which time many group members further embarked on solo recording, and acting careers between the two albums. Upon its release, “8 Diagrams “debuted at number 25 on the Billboard 200, and number 9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with 68,000 copies sold in the first week. The first official single was "The Heart Gently Weeps", an adaptation of The Beatles song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". George Harrison's son Dhani Harrison and John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers were involved in making the song. Originally thought to be a sampled track, it was later revealed as an interpolated version, sampling Jimmy Ponder's cover of the song.