Good Old Wu

Back in eighth grade, a sweet senorita in my class slipped a bare cassette (without the case) into my hand and said, “Listen to this shit, you’ll like it.” I read the label and asked, “Who the hell is Wu-Tang Clan?” She replied, “Just take it home and listen to it.” So I was like, “Alright.”

Eva was her name. Although she came to school like once every two weeks, we were cool because we both admired Rakim. So when she handed me Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), I was quite excited. I rushed home quickly after school and popped the tape into my radio, and it shocked the hell out of me. It was the most raw, rugged, idiosyncratic music I had heard at the time—the kung-fu fightings, the rare voices, the ill rhymes, the dope beats, the trippings, the buggings, and the obscenities. Thank goodness, mom didn’t understand English or else she would have whooped my ass, especially the torturing battle at the beginning of “Method Man” (I’ll fuckin’ sew your asshole closed and keep feedin’ you). I still can recalls those lines from Meth that we used to sing along, “I got myself a fortie / I got myself a shortie / And I’m about to go and stick it.”

Get past the partying and the bullshitting, the Clan members touched on heartfelt hoodtales like “Can’t It Be All So Simple” and “C.R.E.A.M” (Cash Rules Everything Around Me). Yet, the track that struck my mind was “Tearz.” RZA’s and Ghostface Killah’s lyrical, storytelling skills changed the way I listen and appreciate hip-hop. Their narrations were so real.

I didn’t see Eva for a like month after she loaned me the tape, but I blasted it everyday. So when I returned the cassette and told her how blazing it was, she replied, “I told you so.”