A couple days ago, I took the time to listen to 36 Chambers for the first time in about a year and immediately was reminded of why the album ranks as my second favorite of all time (behind only Reasonable Doubt). This author had only made three trips around the sun when Wu-Tang released their magnum opus in 1993, but the purely raw sound that pervades the album truly stands the test of time.
Similar to Mobb Deep's 1995 sophomore album, The Infamous, RZA's stripped down, gritty instrumentals help evoke the image of a dirty, hopeless environment of the Slums of Shaolin. Filled with free-associative raps about 80's cartoons, kung-fu flicks, and their socioeconomic environment, each of twelve tracks on the album can be considered a classic in its own right, but taken together they form one of the best hours of music ever released to the public.
The swan song of the album, "Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber, Pt.2" epitomizes everything that hip hop heads love about old Wu tracks. It contains the same lyrics as Pt.1, found earlier on the album (of which, Inspectah Deck's third verse numbers among my favorites of all time), but what really makes this song is the definitive shift that can be felt halfway through Raekwon's leading verse when the alternate instrumental really kicks in. Enjoy.
Peace, Love, & Wu,