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Wu-Tang Source: press handout / Live Nation

First recognized in June 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, Black Music Appreciation Month celebrates African American music and musicians. Black artists drive the pulse of the country, moving people to dance and and providing the anthem for the march against injustice and defend the country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.

Black artists and groups have dominated multiple genres, innovating the game and changing how the business of music is done. But when it comes to legendary groups in music and specifically hip-hop, there’s no way you can have the discussion without mentioning Wu-Tang Clan. Widely considered as one of the most influential groups in hip hop, Wu-Tang is credited with helping popularize and advance the East coast and hardcore rap scenes.

Wu-Tang Clan Portrait Shoot

Source: Al Pereira / Getty

The Staten Island, New York collective was formed in 1992. Group members included RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa with longtime close affiliate Cappadonna later becoming an official member. The group quickly became household names after they dropped their independent single “Protect Ya Neck” then eventually their debut album ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ in 1993.

The album has consistently been ranked as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. After the success of the group’s first album, several individual members negotiated solo deals although the collective was signed to Loud/RCA.

After solo albums from Method Man (1994’s “Tical”), Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1995’s “Return of the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version”), Raekwon (1995’s “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…”), GZA (1995’s “Liquid Swords”) and Ghostface Killah (1996’s  “Ironman”) the group decided it was time to regather and release music as a unit.

It’s been 25 years since the Wu-Tang Clan dropped its second studio album, “Wu-Tang Forever.”  The classic body of work—released as a double album— debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts with 612,000 sales in its first week. Even with very little radio airplay and their lead single “Triumph” being almost six minutes long with no chorus, the album managed to be certified four-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This made ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ the group’s highest-selling album to date. On top of those accolades, the album was also nominated for Best Rap Album at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards.

“Wu-Tang Forever” is applauded for the perfect meshing of RZA’s production and the precise lyricism of all of the members of the group. The impact of the group and album is still relevant today. The subject matter and styles that are heard on the album have influenced many artists way after Wu-Tang’s time.

Artists such as Drake and Logic have made songs with the same title to pay homage to the group. Some members are still very active in music themselves and some others are prominent actors these days too. The merchandise that Wu-Tang sells is still very lucrative. There’s even a TV show that depicts the life of the group. To say that Wu-Tang’s legacy will live on forever would be too easy, but judging by how relevant the group still is today, it would be a very accurate thing to say.

Wu-Tang Clan Portrait Session

Source: Bob Berg / Getty

Happy 25th Anniversary to “Wu-Tang Forever.” Give it a listen today!


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Black Music Month Excellence: Celebrating 25 Years Of ‘Wu-Tang Forever’  was originally published on