Ok, so Chris Castro, the younger brother of Tragedy Khadafi, has a pod/video cast called Drive Bys With Chris Castro. On this particular episode he discusses his ranking of Wu Tang members and why. The only thing is the video is a little short and doesn’t run through all of the members. He goes through five members and then doesn’t go beyond that which I have to respectfully disagree with. I believe that all the members are very talented but the only problem with that is you don’t want to make any of them feel bad by having one of the last. It is all subjective though so I am sure everyone has their own list.
The new Showtime documentary of Wu Tang has certainly shed some highly needed light back on one of the most legendary hip hop groups of all time. It is needed for these younger audiences to understand that lyricism is vastly important. When it comes to very lyrical and meaningful rhymes, Wu Tang is up there with some of the wittiest bars that have ever been spit.
Do you agree with Castro’s list? What is your ranking of the Wu Members?
Without making any member feel bad, I want to caveat that MusicalFury’s list, even for the rapper at the end doesn’t mean they aren’t good at what they do. I personally think that all the members are great but when you create a list like this you also have to take into account the catalog of music that each member has and the overall contributions that each member has had in the group and in hip hop.
- I have to agree that Ghostface is number one because his rhymes are so out of this world that it makes you say to yourself… holy shyt, did he really just piece those words together and make them sound amazing? He had a lot of guys scratching their heads with lines like “hit Poughkeepsie, crispy chicken, verbs, throw up a stone, Richi…” will have you thinking twice but it’s rhymes like this that make you say good laaawd. Let’s not forget that Ghost basically saved wu with Supreme Clientele and put the Wu back on the map at a time when things began to slip away a bit from the dominance that the group had on the industry. Lastly, Ghostface has such a large catalog of music with solo projects, group projects and little mixtapes/side projects that you have plenty of Ghost to go around.
- Raekwon is also another one that I agree with at number two. Raekwon, similar to Ghostface, has a very rare skill of putting together extremely cool rhymes with unique slang. Raekwon also has such a dominant influence over the hip hop genre when he and ghost released Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.. he had most of the NY rappers and elsewhere trying to me mafioso type and it made things very competitive too. I think this is part of the reason the 90’s had the best hip hop because there were so many artists that were extremely talented that everyone was trying to one up the other guy.
- Ok, I agree with 1-3 of the list because Method Man is also extremely unique and had a raw energy that made people do a double take and have to rewind tracks because the lines were so incredible. Method Man is a staple of 90’s hip hop and he was the energetic and outspoken member who was sort of the face of Wu Tang for a minute. He also has a nice catalog and went off and did some great music and things with Redman.
- I would have to say GZA because his alias, The Genius, is fitting because his rhymes are very witty and intelligent. He isn’t as out in the front as some of the other members but I feel that is because he is very calculated with his moves and is sort of a behind the scenes type of guy. His first solo project is definitely a classic and he too has a nice catalog of music built up over the years.
- Inspectah Deck is definitely a member who stood out quite a bit because his lyrics were on point and his voice was cool as well. His most important task that he ever did was create that rhyme on Triumph. Everyone in the world was amazed by that verse and he solidified himself as a very lyrical member after that.
- I have to go with Ol’ Dirty Bastard because he was the most unique member of the group and just sort of did whatever he wanted. When it came to lyrics, you sometimes didn’t know what to expect but when it came to entertainment and just being surprised, ODB was the man. He was the father to his own style and you haven’t heard anyone else who really sounded anything like ODB. Some of the things he said in his rhymes were so off the wall that you had to think that Dirt McGirt must have been on something when he wrote it but it sure did sound good.
- Masta Killa takes number 7 because he also had some very witty type rhymes but he was also very smooth and had a mystique to him. He is probably the least heard from member of the Wu because he stays out of the limelight but this mofo can rhyme his ass off. He also was in the running with Killah Priest to have made the group. I wonder why they didn’t just have both guys in the group, they already had 9, what is one more? Killah Priest is his own animal and definitely a lyricist.
- RZA is my number 8 but I really enjoy RZA’s production and his music. His album Bobby Digital is one of my favorites and I really like what he did with that including beats and guest appearances. RZA is the mastermind of Wu Tang and let’s face it, without him there probably wouldn’t be a Wu Tang Clan.
- U-God is my number 9 but that doesn’t mean I dislike U-God, quite the contrary. I think U-God has a very distinct voice and he definitely stood out with it. I feel bad to have to put anyone last but that is just how the list goes, you have to have someone on the end. U-God is just as talented as the other members but he just didn’t have that stand out classic album and the same type of contribution that someone like Ghost had with two classics, Ironman and Supreme Clientele. U-God aka Golden Arms can definitely rhyme his ass off though and I highly recommend you picking up his music because it is well worth the $10 a piece to hear his solo projects.
There you have it folks, there is my list. It goes without saying that Wu Tang Clan had one of the biggest impacts on hip hop, period. Look at all the side groups or family members that Wu Tang has with the Killa Beez. They had groups like Gravediggaz, Killarmy, Sunz of Man, Royal Fam and the list goes on. So many of their side groups also had a pretty big impact on the industry and also spun off solo projects from each of the groups. It is pretty remarkable the amount of music that was connected to Wu Tang Clan and how much of an influence these pioneers had on the genre, especially in the 90’s and even into today.
By the way, if anyone knows someone who works at Showtime, tell them there are huge Wu Tang Clan fans that do not have Showtime! They should put the episode to be available on iTunes and other platforms for all to watch.
Check out the video that I initially referenced with Tragedy Khadafi and Chris Castro discussing the list.