***NOTE: I wrote this blog while listening to 36 Chambers****
It all started when I was taking a ‘90s hip hop Peloton Class. I was already feeling a little testy given that the playlist did not include any west coast hip hop. In all fairness that’s 50% of where the saltiness came from; the other half came from the fact I was sweating my ass off on an indoor bike on a lazy Sunday morning.
Then it happened. The instructor (from NY mind you) threw on “one of the greatest rappers (groups) of our generation” -- Wu-Tang.
QUITE A CLAIM. A wildly biased claim.
As a west coast kid, Wu-Tang never quenched my thirst. I never fucked with the flow, the rhyme structure, or cadence of that style of rap, plus it wasn’t nearly as jazzy as Pac, Dre, or Snoop who were my idols of that period. ON TOP of that, I was NOT a fan of the whole Bruce Lee “be like water,” Shaolin, Samurai element of what they were doing. No one even questioned it either. A million friends from Staten Island decided they were going to be rappers AND ninjas? Like it was weird to me. Of course I loved C.R.E.A.M. and recognized the significance of the whole 36 Chambers album, but the insane cult following they had and still have? I just felt strongly that Wu is overrated, especially if you evaluate each artist on their own across the genre and the time period.
The song she played BTW -- “METHOD MAN” -- like that CANNOT be the song you choose. When one of the most iconic songs of Wu Tang’s most iconic albums is named after one individual member who would later ultimately break out and become a solo act and a SUPERSTAR, well, that fucking says something.
So I fired off a tweet after my ride. NBD.
VERY BIG DEAL.
Man, the response was a ratio and a half. I know I have a ton of followers from the NY area but JESUS.
In less than an hour, a lot of people were MAD at me on the internet.
What’s new, right?
You may say, “Trysta, if you don’t appreciate Wu-Tang, you’re not a real hip hop head, yadda yadda”
I mean this respectfully, but please STFU.
I grew up on this music we call ‘90s hip hop and as we all know, hip hop is very much a matter of taste, and a regional one at that. To fault me for preferring the R&B influenced, melodic and smooth stylings of artists like Snoop, Warren G, Nate Dogg, Cube, Outkast, Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z, Slick Rick, makes you someone without sense, not someone who is a “hip hop purest.” In the early ‘90s I was in elementary school and Wu was just not really up my alley.
Anyway, back to the Twitter outrage.
Once I realized Wu-Tang was a sore subject, I further investigated and sensed that MOST of the outrage was coming from, how shall we say, a VERY homogenous demographic.
So I decided to lean in… partially to further express myself and also to troll these thin skinned Wu Tang stans and keyboard warriors.
Wanna know a secret? That list was designed to inflame. I just knew if I kept GZA and Inspecta Deck off the list, the Wu Warriors would GO OFF the reservation.
Annnnd just like clockwork orange they did.
I even had Will Blackmon, a former NFLer, heated in my mentions. Come on Will, you [should] know better as a millennial that had rival fanbases constantly trolling you on social.
So I had to clap back.
Outside of nostalgic purposes, are we really rocking old Wu-Tang nowadays? Or are they really like Pistol Pete Marovich for the hip hop heads -- great in their time and impactful to the industry and culture, but would be considered pretty damn average if they came out today?
I’m JUST sayin’.
You’re really rockin with these lyrics?? This is your god?
“Burn me, I get into shit, I let it out like diarrhea/ Got burnt once, but that was only gonorrhea”
LYRICAL ASSASSIN RIGHT THERE.
Make girls rumps like pump and Humpty Hump
Wow, the Shaolin style is all in me
Child, the whole damn isle is callin me
P-A-N-T-why-are-A-I-D-E-are mad raw I don't fry
Listen, I know most hip hop at that time lyrically and stylistically was a little rudimentary but up against Pac in 1993? Against Biggie? Against Outkast?
Sorry, I just don’t see it. Feel free to @ me.
So no, after listening to 36 Chambers, I’m not going to apologize. Not for not liking Wu-Tang nor for trolling Wu-Tang stans online. I have integrity and stand by my opinions, and no matter how beloved this group is, how nostalgic, how impactful Wu-Tang was (which I wholeheartedly agree that they were), I don’t have to put them on my Spotify list nor do I have to rate them where you do. That’s what makes this whole internet thing beautiful. I can disagree with your ranking without all of Twitter having to make it personal and telling me to "protect my neck".
Truth be told, I just want two things. First, for my fucking Peloton instructor to put some respect on west coast hip hop and stop acting like all the greatest rap from that era only came outta the NYC boroughs. And second, to be able to educate the masses on without getting blasted by Honda Civic exhaust Twitter.