(5 out of 5)
16 songs. That’s what it all comes down to, apparently. For a group – a movement, really – that seemed all but omnipresent in the ’90s, to have their legacy distilled into a 16-song collection is something of a shock. Given the barrage of above-average albums that issued forth from the Wu collective (along with the even larger barrage of sub-par garbage associated with it), the mission of compiling a single-disc summation must have been daunting indeed. Unsurprisingly, there is nothing on this compilation (which doubles as the soundtrack to the BET documentary on the group) that even remotely qualifies as filler. From the opening skull-splat of “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit” all the way through the closing insanity of “Gravel Pit” (from 2000’s comparatively lackluster THE W ALBUM), every moment on this disc is an essential high point. Given that, it’s unsurprising that 1993’s debut, ENTER THE 36 CHAMBERS, is well-represented, with six tracks demonstrating the still-awesome power of that album. And though only a few (of the very, very many) solo Wu-Tang albums are given attention, the spotlight justifiably falls heavily on the stunning talents of Raekwon, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Cappadonna and the Clan’s preeminent rhymer, Ghostface Killah. Though an argument could easily be made for this CD to have been a boxed set, the streamlined power of this tight compilation stands as a remarkable monument to the group’s numerous strengths.