Long after the Earth has withered into a human-free wasteland, Neptunian archeologists will rummage through the artifacts and wonder why they keep finding a mysterious “W” symbol everywhere. We're of course talking about the insignia of the Wu-Tang Clan. Since bum-rushing hip-hop's front door in 1993, the Staten Island collective has cultivated a Wu empire, stamping its consonant on dozens of records (featuring both the original nine members and affiliates), a PlayStation fighting game, comic books, and clothing. The gang has unashamedly cashed in on the cool of its classic debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), but the album remains an energetic document of gangsta rap at its most flavorful, intelligent, and pop-culture-smitten. No wonder the group has lasted this long.
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