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The 10 Essential Hip-Hop Albums

#9 – Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

Wu-Tang 36 Chambers

Wu-Tang Clan released Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) in 1993, creating the blueprint against which every ensuing hardcore rap album would follow. The album, and the sly sense of humor and free-associative lyrics, marked the beginning of the East Coast Renaissance. Eventually artists as diverse as Nas, the Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z would emerge in their footsteps to dominate the genre in future years. Notably, the band maintained control over its own publishing rights, samples and production, a level of artistic control virtually unheard of at the time. And though few expected the raw underground sound on 36 Chambers to achieve mainstream radio play, the album had surprising chart success, reaching the Billboard Top 10 and eventually going platinum.

Essential Tracks: “Protect Ya Neck,” “Can It Be All So Simple”