June 03, 2020

Wu-Tang Clan "Wu-Tang Forever" (June 3, 1997) + Sampler

On this day in 1997, Wu-Tang Clan released their sophomore album, an enhanced double-CD entitled Wu-Tang Forever. The album "reasserted the group's dominance at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and going quadruple platinum in its first four months." (Billboard, 11/15/97) Ahead of the album, Billboard posted an early article on January 11, 1997, saying, "The forthcoming set, a double album, according to the Wu's chief sound craftsman, RZA, is one of the most eagerly awaited collections this season. It will follow the 1.5 million-selling "Enter The Wu-Tang Clan: 36 Chambers"  (Loud/RCA, 1993) and the several successful solo sets it has spawned: Method Man's "Tical" (Def Jam, 1.1 million units), Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version" (Elektra, 650,000 units), Ghostface Killah's "Ironman" (Razor Sharp/Epic, 500,000 units), and Genius' "Liquid Swords" (Geffen, 700,000 units). The new long-player was supposed to emerge Feb. 14 with the title "Valentine's Day Massacre," but it will drop later, probably in March, with a new name, according to executives at Loud. In the four years since it made its debut with pockmarked, slightly irregular soundscapes wrapping emotionally charged, hard-edged reality rhymes (everything from the good, bad, and lovely to the ugly and crazy), Wu-Tang Clan has developed into a consistent hip-hop conglomerate by ignoring established rules of commerce. The secret of its success is its ability to expand on what has come before while staying in touch with the audience that first embraced its members' style." Truth is, Wu-Tang Forever was the soundtrack to my summer in '97 - I cop'd the 2-CD at Sam Goody in Manhattan on pre-order, which came with a $3-off coupon and - of equal importance - I serendipitously ended up in a serious relationship with the girl that worked behind the counter, lol. Although I've posted it before, you can listen to the official snippet tape for Wu-Tang Forever below the two-page advert for the album that was posted in Spin magazine - the cassette sampler includes a few tracks and commentary from RZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Raekwon. 

Original Wu-Tang Forever "Snippet Tape" from 1997...