When we first heard about a planned Wu-Tang reunion tour that would be making a stop at the Granada Theater, we couldn't help be just a little skeptical. Due to plenty of turmoil and drama among the group and its -- at times extremely unpredictable -- members, we've wondered aloud and often whether or not the show would end up happening at all.
But as we've read the reviews from the first couple of nights in which seven of the founding members (minus RZA and, obviously, the late Ol' Dirty Bastard) have been joined onstage by Cappadonna, and ODB's eldest son, Young Dirty Boy Jones, we can't help but get a little excited for tomorrow night's show, which is looking like a sure bet to be one of the best shows to come through town all year.
So just for funsies we decided to rank the original Wu-Tangers from bottom to top.
Just keep in mind that our jesting is all relative -- being known as the worst Wu-Tang Clan member is like being known as the least intimidating offensive threat on the 1927 Yankees.
OK, so maybe it was the fact that he was incarcerated during most of the recording of Wu-Tang's 1993 debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and not, as we like to think, his inferior skill set that kept his contributions on the album to a minimum. Nevertheless, we can all agree his solo albums are some of the least-celebrated Wu-Tang works.
8. Masta Killa
He didn't start rapping until Wu-Tang got together, and barely even made it onto the group's debut album. Other aliases include "Noodles" and "At Least I Ain't U-God."
7. Inspectah Deck
Sure, some of his rhymes are technically among the most intelligent and well thought-out on some of the group's most highly-acclaimed singles (see: "C.R.E.A.M.," "Protect Ya Neck," "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta Fuck Wit," and "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'"), but he never quite managed the level of fame or solo success of some of the higher-ranking members.
6. Method Man
Arguably the group's most visible member, he managed to achieve the most mainstream success of the group, due to his unpredictable-yet-recognizable style. His late '90s collaborations with Redman were so successful that the duo was able to transform their chemistry onto the big screen as well. Unfortunately, we can't excuse embarrassing small screen sitcom Method and Red, which Fox cancelled after airing only nine episodes.
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5. Ol' Dirty Bastard
No doubt about it, the late ODB was the wild card of the group. His untamed antics and offbeat, gruff ramblings were a comical-yet-refreshing change of pace from just about everything that was happening in hip-hop at the time -- or since, for that matter. As far as solo singles go, it really doesn't get much better than "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" or "Got Your Money." Dirty was just such a matchlessly unpredictable personality that he gets a few bonus points for always keeping us guessing and never failing to entertain.
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The Chef has been responsible for some of the tastiest violent, criminal-logic raps of the late '90s. His highs -- his verse on "C.R.E.A.M." or solo debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... -- are about as towering as any moment in the Wu chronicle. Conversely, his lows, i.e. The Lex Diamond Story, have been nearly as atrocious. Still, his lyrical cuisine over the years has rarely failed to keep the Wu-Tang Clan's rabid fan base well fed.
Perhaps the most consistent, workman-like Clansman, constantly amazing with his complex lyricism and mesmerizing style. Liquid Swords has to rank among the top one or two Wu-Tang solo albums, but really his nickname says it all: The Genius.
2. Ghostface Killah
Without a doubt, Ghostface has been responsible for the most prolific and well-received solo output of the bunch. His solo albums Supreme Clientele and Fishscale were so exalted by fans and critics alike he erased any uncertainty that he is not just the greatest Wu-Tang emcee, but also one of the greatest ever.
Although not the greatest emcee of the group, we believe that speaks more about the impeccable skills of 2 to 4 on this list than of any supposed diminished skill set from RZA. Fact is, RZA has always been the de facto leader of the squad, producing much of the group's beats (and tons of the members' solo output as well), largely influencing the group's style with his aggressive rhyming, and serving as both catalyst and curator of the group's overall aesthetic. Simply put, without the RZA there would have never been a Wu.