Wu-Tang Clan Disciples of the 36 Chambers: Chapter 1

It’s hard to imagine who — if anyone — was really waiting for a live Wu-Tang album. Time was that if you really wanted to wait hours in a venue under the persistent threat of a riot, only to be thoroughly disappointed when less than a third of the group actually bothered to show up (and pissed drunk at that!), you’d go to a Wu-Tang show. Now nearly a decade removed from the Wu’s heyday, all nine original cream team members have teamed up for an impromptu run-through of the songs that have consecrated the Wu-Tang brand so firmly into hip-hop history. Disciples — which unfortunately sounds exactly as you’d imagine a live hip-hop recording of nine mic-ed men to sound — plays like a musical time capsule of all of your fondest Wu memories and experiences. From the opening Shaolin shadowboxing sound-bite, you’re instantly warped back to the moment you first saw the "Mystery of Chessboxin’” video on RapCity, or how you used to go crazy when you heard "Ice Cream” at the club, and the many hours spent watching old kung-fu flicks in search of the lines that laced the earlier part of the group’s catalogue. More than this, however, this collection of classics forces you to recognise to the impact that a group who turned a clever gimmick into an entire industry (before anyone else was even thinking on that scale) has had on the way we think of hip-hop and its many avenues today. (Sanctuary)