The W

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For other uses, see W (disambiguation).
For the swing/ska group, see The W's.
The W
Studio album by Wu-Tang Clan
Released November 21, 2000
Genre Hip hop
Length 59:04
Label Loud
Producer RZA, Mathematics
Wu-Tang Clan chronology
Wu-Tang Forever
(1997)
The W
(2000)
Iron Flag
(2001)
Wu-Tang Clan solo chronology
Ghostface Killah:
Supreme Clientele
(2000)
The W
(2000)
RZA:
Digital Bullet
(2001)
Singles from The W
  1. "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)"
    Released: October 17, 2000
  2. "Gravel Pit"
    Released: December 5, 2000
  3. "Careful (Click, Click)"
    Released: July 17, 2001
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A−[2]
Entertainment Weekly B+[3]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[4]
NME (8/10)[5]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[7]
Spin (8/10)[8]
Vibe 4.5/5 stars[9]
The Village Voice (favorable)[10]

The W is the third studio album by the American hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan. It was released on November 21, 2000, by Loud Records.[11] After their 1997 album Wu-Tang Forever, several of the group's members released solo projects before The W, which has a more rugged, less polished sound than that of most Wu-Tang related albums from that era. The album also features guest appearances from Isaac Hayes, Redman, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, and Junior Reid.

The W debuted at number five on the Billboard 200, and number one on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart with 301,000 copies sold in the first week.[12][13] It produced several singles, which also charted as well. The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on December 14, 2000,[14] and has sold 1.1 million copies in the United States.[15] Upon its release, The W received generally positive reviews from most music critics based on an aggregate score of 80/100 from Metacritic.

Critical reception[edit]

The W received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 80, based on 17 reviews.[16] Aside from calling Wu-Tang "the best rap group ever," Kris Ex of Rolling Stone called the album "A sonic gestalt that exists somewhere between the Queensbridge projects and OutKast's Stankonia."[6] The Rolling Stone Album Guide later gave the album four-and-a-half out of five stars in 2004, and called its production "possibly RZA's most consistent yet."[17] Entertainment Weekly '​s Matt Diehl gave The W a B+ rating, and remarked that the members sound "utterly mellow on their third album." He further stated "The W forgoes innovation and simply revels in the Clan's strengths: the way their star rappers toss around rhymes as if playing catch; RZA's skulking, string-enhanced beats."[3] Kelefa Sanneh of The Village Voice declared it "The best-produced Wu-affiliated album since GZA's 1995 Liquid Swords.[10] Q gave the album four out of five stars and stated "The W is largely a return to murky idiosyncratic form after 1997's filler-bloated Wu-Tang Forever. Weighing in at a svelte 60 minutes, it plays to the group's main strengths: brutal hooks and scary ambience."[16] Dave Heaton of PopMatters described it as "the sound of a group growing up and realizing that collaboration can lead to endless creativity" and commented on its significance in the group's catalogue, stating:

The Wu-Tang Clan of today is not the same as the Clan of 1993. And for this, we are blessed. Every Wu-Tang Clan member is growing as an MC as the years go by. Put them all together again now, after they've each done their own things separately, and you get an entirely new dynamic, a mix of the dark and the bright.[11]

Despite commenting that "The W isn't quite the masterpiece it sounds like after the first few tracks [...] it falls prey to inconsistency, resulting in half-formed tracks", Allmusic editor John Bush praised the album's "back-to-basics approach", writing that it "not only because it rightly puts the focus back on the best cadre of rappers in the world of hip-hop, but also because RZA's immense trackmaster talents can't help but shine through [...] When they're hitting on all cylinders, Wu-Tang Clan are nearly invincible."[1] Steve Jones of USA Today gave the album three out of four stars and called it "sharply focused."[18] S.H. Fernando, Jr. of Vibe called it "a dense, demented, 15-song opus that will now draw comparisons to the now classic 36 Chambers."[9] He further noted its "originality, innovation, and a mastery of the fundamentals of beats and rhymes", and commented "This album goes against the grain of everything that's going on in rap right now".[9] Sasha Frere-Jones of Spin complimented RZA's diverse range of production and the group's word play.[8] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau gave The W an A- rating,[2] indicating "the kind of garden-variety good record that is the great luxury of musical micromarketing and overproduction".[19] Christgau commented that he "can't swear they've taken their moral vision much beyond "'Handle your bid and kill no kids'", but praised RZA's production and stated "He serves up a bounty of song-centered musique trouvée and stomach-churning beats from anywhere [...] Far from straining, he's gone sensei, achieving a craft in which the hand leads the mind".[2]

Accolades[edit]

The W appeared on numerous Albums of the Year lists by several American publishers, such as Rolling Stone, Spin, and The Village Voice.[20] The album also appeared on the same lists for several international publishers, such as NME, The Wire and Uncut from the United Kingdom, and Liberation and Les Inrockuptibles from France, for which it was ranked number one in the latter.[20] In 2005, Hip Hop Connection ranked the album number 70 on their 100 Greatest Rap Albums 1995-2005 list.[20] One year later, the album was included in Gary Mulholland 261 Greatest Albums Since Punk and Disco.[20] In 2008, The W was included in Tom Moon's 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die,[20] and in 2009, Pitchfork Media ranked it number 162 on their Top 200 Albums of the 2000s list, stating "The W was as surprising as it was pleasing, packing some of the RZA's best production work, and some of the group's best music."[21]

Track listing[edit]

# Title Time Performer(s) Producer Sample(s)
1 "Intro (Shaolin Finger Jab) / Chamber Music" 4:26 RZA
2 "Careful (Click, Click)" 4:56
  • First verse: RZA
  • Interlude: U-God
  • Second verse: Masta Killa
  • Third verse: Cappadonna
  • Fourth verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Fifth verse: U-God
  • Sixth verse: Inspectah Deck
  • Outro: Cappadonna, Ghostface Killah, & U-God
  • Post-song dialogue: Raekwon
RZA
3 "Hollow Bones" 3:37
  • First verse: Raekwon
  • Second verse: Inspectah Deck
  • Third verse: Ghostface Killah
RZA
4 "Redbull" 3:53
  • First verse: Redman
  • Second verse: Method Man
  • Third verse: Inspectah Deck
  • Additional vocals: Ghostface Killah & Raekwon
RZA
5 "One Blood Under W" 4:11
  • First & second verses: Masta Killa
  • Additional vocals/third verse: Junior Reid
RZA
6 "Conditioner" 5:32 RZA
7 "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)" 3:58
  • First verse: Inspectah Deck
  • Second verse: Raekwon
  • Third verse: Method Man
  • Fourth verse: Masta Killa
  • Fifth verse: RZA
  • Sixth verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Seventh verse: U-God
  • Eighth verse: Cappadonna
  • Ninth verse: GZA
RZA
8 "Let My Niggas Live" 4:29
  • First verse & chorus: Raekwon
  • Second verse: Nas
  • Third verse: Inspectah Deck
RZA
9 "I Can't Go to Sleep" 3:35
  • First verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Second verse: RZA
  • Chorus: Isaac Hayes
RZA
10 "Do You Really? (Thang, Thang)" 5:22
  • Intro: DJ Kayslay
  • Chorus: Method Man
  • First verse: Streetlife
  • Second verse: Method Man
  • Third verse: Masta Killa
  • Fourth verse: Inspectah Deck
Mathematics
11 "The Monument" 2:38
  • First verse: Busta Rhymes
  • Second verse: Raekwon
  • Third verse: GZA
RZA
12 "Gravel Pit" 4:51
  • Intro: RZA
  • First verse: Method Man
  • Second verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Bridge: Raekwon
  • Third verse: U-God
  • Chorus: Paulissa Moorman
RZA
13 "Jah World" 3:51
  • First verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Second verse: RZA
  • Chorus: Junior Reid
RZA
* "Clap"
(Hidden track)
3:45
  • First verse: Raekwon
  • Second verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Third verse: Method Man
  • Chorus: Ghostface Killah & U-God
Mathematics

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2000) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[22] 51
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[23] 13
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[24] 16
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[25] 9
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[26] 33
French Albums (SNEP)[27] 13
Irish Albums (IRMA)[28] 1
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[29] 17
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[30] 24
UK Albums (OCC)[31] 19
US Billboard 200[32] 5
US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums (Billboard)[33] 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bush, John. "The W - Wu-Tang Clan". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  2. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (January 23, 2001). "Consumer Guide: The W". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2011-02-13.
  3. ^ a b Browne, David (2000-11-24). "The W Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  4. ^ Weingarten, Marc (2000-11-19). "POP MUSIC; Album Review; Clan's Stuck in a Holding Pattern". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  5. ^ CD Universe reviews on The W. CD Universe. Retrieved on 2012-06-22.
  6. ^ a b Ex, Kris (2000-12-14). "Wu-Tang Clan: The W : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  7. ^ http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lRgtYCC6OUwC&pg=PA887#v=onepage&q&f=false
  8. ^ a b Frere-Jones, Sasha (February 2001). "Wu-Tang Clan, 'The W'". Spin. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  9. ^ a b c Fernando Jr., SH (2000-11-21). "Wu-Tang Clan: The W". Vibe. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  10. ^ a b Sanneh, Kelefa (2000-12-19). "Sobs, Static, and Sweat". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  11. ^ a b Heaton, John (2000-11-20). "Wu-Tang Clan: The W". PopMatters. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  12. ^ "The W Chart Positions". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  13. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan debuts at No. 5". The 411 Online. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  14. ^ RIAA Search: The W. RIAA. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  15. ^ Paul Grein (April 3, 2014). "New Wu-Tang Clan Album: The Case for the World's First $5 Million Album". Yahoo Music. 
  16. ^ a b Critic Reviews for The "W". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  17. ^ Hoard, Christian. Rolling Stone Album Guide. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  18. ^ Jones, Steve (2000-11-21). "Wu-Tang Clan, The W". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  19. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000-10-15). "CG 90s: Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  20. ^ a b c d e The W Accolades. acclaimedmusic.net. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  21. ^ Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan – The W". Australiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  23. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan - The W" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  24. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan – The W" (in Dutch). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  25. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Canadian Albums Chart for Wu-Tang Clan. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  26. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan: The W" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  27. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan – The W". Lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  28. ^ "GFK Chart-Track". Chart-Track.co.uk. GFK Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  29. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan – The W". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  30. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan – The W". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  31. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  32. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Wu-Tang Clan. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 21, 2000.
  33. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums for Wu-Tang Clan. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 21, 2000.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]