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15 Years Ago Today: A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders b/w Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

By November 11, 2008Misc, News, Press, Real Life, View All

Wow, 15 years.

15 years ago, these two classic albums were released to a world where hip-hop was changing and becoming increasingly popular. MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS was A Tribe Called Quest’s third album and even with hits like “Scenario”, “Hot Sex”, “Check The Rime”, and “Bonita Applebum” behind them, this was the album that would set them apart from the rest. This goes back to when an artist reaching their third album was a sign of success, and they managed to make it without much tension. This was very much NY hip-hop at its best, where Phife continued to prove he was more than capable of stepping away from Q-Tip’s dominance on the mic. No one was sure what hip-hop’s future had in store, but with MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS they were glad to be here in the now.

Then there was an album that was initially a slow burner. ENTER THE WU-TANG (36 CHAMBERS) was the debut album from The RZA, The GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspector Deck, Raekwon The Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killer, and the Method Man. They were a group who had other names they went under, whose skills were promoted as if they were superheroes from the Marvel Universe, and were a mystery since their videos were not in heavy rotation and while we all knew who Method Man was with the “Method Man” video, no one could quite match up the name with the voice and the face. Then the spring of 1994 came, and “C.R.E.A.M.” was released as a single. That was the start of the Wu revolution, with talks of each member releasing their own album, a possible Wu-Tang movie, which lead to talks about a Wu-Tang theme park, Wu cartoons… it seemed endless. Before the empire collapsed, we were able to watch and listen to it being build, brick by brick. This was the groundbreaking.

Founder of Rappers I Know and Art Director to the Stars...of the Underground. Follow him on Twitter @fwmj.


  • cratescienz says:

    man oh man. I remember buying doubles of both albums on wax. I remember lookin at all the faces on the midnight marauders cover. mc. search had the bug out face. I miss those days man. good hiphop and just the whole feel of going to the record stores back then buying records.

  • cratescienz says:

    It feels good to be a part of history in early 90s hiphop. I grew up to Tribe,Dela , Jungle bros, Gangstarr,
    3rd bass etc. early 90s was the ish!!!!

  • cratescienz says:

    yo cookie head jenkins. Some how this tribe album reminds me of high school. lol! Bumpin tracks in the hallways rockin the dope polo!!! yeah

  • cookie head jenkins says:

    cratescienz, yep yep, those were the days! LOL!!

  • cookie head jenkins says:

    “Went to Carvel to get a Milkshake, this honey ripped me of my loot case”

  • pea says:

    yep…id just turned 12 and little did i know these 2 albums would go on to shape how i look at hip hop forever…

  • bitty says:

    my pop had both of those albums when they came out, which says something, i’m just not sure what. that was my first introduction to them. i have stories about how i eventually came to know both of them in and out but, eh, who cares.

  • SoulOne says:

    still got my MM cassette. titles are rubbed off, plays slow on some parts…bought it the day it dropped, spent my lunch money for the week (9.99@ Target, hey, i was in 8th grade). couldnt afford the Wu, so I just bought the Chessboxin’ CD single. wish i still had it…

  • Minus says:

    I think of MM’s album cover more than the music. Althought the music on it was & still is my favorite stuff by Tribe. But I was always curious to know the behind the scenes on trying to get everybody on the cover. I miss those days. Hell I bought an onslaught of albums based on dope albums covers or simply a name & discoverd later that the ish was crap. But back then with no kid, no wife, no responsiblities, & no job have of the times it didn’t matter. I wouldn’t go back & change @ all.

    I had this homeboy / rapper who wasn’t into this type of music until I hipped him to this Underground Show that was broadcasted on KPFT 90.1 on Sunday nights. One day he called me to tell me about Wu-Tang’s sound after I told him about them. He was really trippin off how Wu had this offbeat thing , these erie sounds, styles & terminology.
    I remember listening to the radio station & they announced “Wu-Tang performing live @ Club Northside”. Bad promotion that sounded like a complete set-up cuz this is a crowd that could careless about this kind of vibe. Sho-nuff…shit went down. Bottles & shit was thrown @ Wu & from Wu shit was thrown back. I think thats how Method got his hand cup up. Anyway this album really had put a shift in things.

  • DBDR says:

    BTW, SoulOne, Marie, and Pea made me feel even older. Thank goodness Damien is on this site to help me feel a little younger (zing!).

    But yeah, I first got into Tribe when Instinctive Travels came out. I’d go to Westwood Mall (yes, I said Westwood Mall for the Houstonians out there) and get tapes from time to time. I was of course watching Yo! MTV Raps every day and had seen the El Segundo video, but wasn’t sure how I felt about Tribe. The dude working there would always try to put me onto new music and he told me the album was really good, so I bought it. The rest was history.

    But yeah, I’m also one of those that enjoys Low End Theory a little more than MM, even though both albums are still in rotation.

    As far as Wu-Tang–I cannot front, I loved that album once it was introduced to me (I think Cashless, Les and Kari have a big hand in that)…but you want to talk about an album that has not aged well to my ears. I don’t think I’ve listened to that album in maybe 7 hears. But you can’t deny the importance it had on hip-hop at the time. After all, we may never have had “Brooklyn, Texas” without the existence of that album (I keed, I keed).

  • Rosalinda says:

    i didnt hear these 2 albums until about 1998-1999.

    i was:
    – in dallas, tx
    – a high school sophomore
    – 15-16 yrs old
    – at the saratoga (thats the turning point for u non historians) in my life in terms of how i listened to music, isolating elements/breakin down beats/analyzing lyrics

    i remember this being a really fun time, mostly because my friends and i really had to go our of our way to access the east coast, which made our discoveries all the more fulfilling. and it was a small group of people who actually cared, so we felt like we had our own little secret society or some shit. anyway, my closest friend and i discovered wu and tribe at a time when cash money and no limit were at their peaks, which was was a GREAT time to be in the south. being in high school through the cash money/no limit era… MAN… but thats a whole nother post…

    anyway, its hard to describe these experiences cuz the sequence is all weird. when you find shit late, like i did, youd sometimes hear an artists newer, different sounding material first… so we didnt really have a real concept of what we were getting into until later.

    so here we are these youngins trying to figure out what the hell wu tang is talkin about. we loved it. it made us look shit up, lol. more than any other group we discovered, wu really opened our eyes to the possibility of what was out there, made us realize we had so much to learn not just about music but life! the sound and what they were talkin about was such a departure from what we had been used to, so my boys really became hard core fanatics and 36 chambers was really one of those important albums that enhanced life. i mean any album that can make mofos rock timbs in the south… what.the.hell.

    tribe… tribe might been too much of a departure the other way for us back then, lol. high school planted the seed, but i didnt really become a super fanatic of tribe until college. since, i def listen to a tribe album at least a few times a month. i cant imagine my life without em.

  • omfg itz drum says:

    I remember my sister rockin’ MM…I was ten years old at the time.

    Her, and this album, honestly, are what put me on to hip hop. It’s been no turning back since. I didn’t get into wu until a few years later – around 14 or so (which was also when I started djing).

    I started picking up all of this shit on vinyl…just bugging out in my room every chance I had. I have double copies of both of these albums, that are incredibly beat up from years of use. Rosalinda, this was around the time that I started really breaking down music as well – not only from a lyrical standpoint, but from a structural standpoint as well. I still to this day find production on 36 chambers quite mind-blowing, considering the direction of many producers.

    For anyone that djs…I think you will relate to the fact that there’s some shit that just never leaves your crate (assuming you still play vinyl lol). MM is one of those albums for me.

    I’ve been coming back every so often to check what people have said, and it’s been great to look back on my own and the experiences of all of you.

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