wu tang clan*Twenty years of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Think about that for a second – the Clan’s been around longer than every college freshman’s been alive. Makes us all feel old, right?

Anyways, anniversaries are a time for celebration, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do here. There never was a group like Wu-Tang before, and it’s pretty hard to see one coming along together again.

They are a curious and creative bunch, that Wu-Tang Clan, and completely insane in a totally captivating way. The whole kung fu / Shaloin theme that gave the band its name also gave it a strange edge, something mystical and fantastical that was missing from the rest of hip hop at the time; comparisons to Led Zeppelin (who got a lot of mileage out of their fantasy / Lord of the Rings obsession) really aren’t all that farfetched.

Of course, the real stars of Wu-Tang were its members, those rap gods with the fantastic nicknames. RZA, the studio wizard who’s developed into a credible actor, director and screenwriter. Method Man, the burgeoning superstar who went on to star in The Wire. The veteran flows of GZA and Masta Killa, and the awesome rhymes of Inspectah Deck and Raekwon. U-God … well, we don’t really remember too much about him. Of course, there was Cappadonna, never an official member (or was he?), but always there to add more layers to their creations. Oh, and how could we forget ODB, that gloriously crazy man who took his kids in a limo to pick up a welfare check, rushed the stage at the Grammys, bounced in and out of prison and created some genuinely great music in-between his insanity?

They only had five studio albums, but Wu-Tang’s influence lasted for an entire generation. It’s impossible to understate just how cool they were throughout the mid-nineties and well into the 2000s; sadly, we just don’t seem to have any hip-hop group on their level operating today. It’s not all bad news, though – we’ve all received a little present from the group. You can check out some unheard tracks from the great ODB right here; that’s a great way to celebrate this fantastic anniversary.