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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.


  • ray mega says:

    I remember goint to the store for MM. Still have the tape also. I had the Protect your Neck single on tape. I remember making a bet with this girl in high school whoever lost had to buy the other a tape . I won she bought me the Wu-Tang album. Electric Relaxation was her favorite song so I bought her a copy of MM. it was like our 1st date damm she was cute………………………………………….We got married in 2001. Our son is 5 and he loves ATCQ. She has Electric Relaxation as here ringtone. Damm those are some dope albums

  • hottnikz says:

    remember this week definitely, because i remember having to wait all the way until that Friday to get paid in order to purchase these two gems. I don’t know how many copies of these two I’ve had to buy since then, too many to count, they just grow legs and disappear.

  • Raleigh says:


  • options says:

    I didn’t really *pay attention* to music before I heard ‘MM’. I got it years after it was released, in 1998. Before I left home for college in Savannah, GA, I saw De La’s video for ‘Stakes Is High’ on Rap City and I really dug the beat (Dilla!) and lyrical message. I did some research on the track/group and came to learn of the Native Tongues. When I got to GA and realized there wasn’t much else to do but get wasted at parties (which I wasn’t interested in), I decided to get into some music, so I rolled to Best Buy lookin’ for De La’s album. When I couldn’t find it, I bought ‘MM’ instead. Nothing’s been the same since.

    That was only weeks before ‘The Love Movement’ dropped. I got that. Then I got Black Star.’s recommendations then lead me to Hieroglyphics and The Roots. ?uest’s liner notes lead me to Jay Dee and Slum Village. A Slum Village interview lead me to Madlib and the Lootpack…

    And it don’t stop

  • esteeminatti says:

    Kiddies, kiddies! I was the ripe old age of 23 when these jawns dropped. I was already into HIP HOP heavy. I was an emcee and aspiring writer at the time. Low End Theory got maaad run in the jeep so I was really looking forward to Midnight Marauders, I was not disappointed. The Wu…heard the Protect Ya Neck single first on college radio, then heard M-E-T-H-O-D Man on a mixtape. Protect Ya Neck was straight up crazy to me. I had just recently immersed myself into the MATHEMATICS (Peace to the Gods and Earths) and the wording and kung fu soundbites made me an instant fan. There’ll NEVER be another era equivalent. *sigh* those were the days! I agree with you all in the fact that those two albums changed the game sonically and literally . Throw up your ‘W’!

  • eddie beats says:

    WOW!!!!! I was about to turn 15 when these two came out. Low End was the first tape I ever bought w/my own money. I stole a bunch of my Mom’s asshole boyfriend{who was a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates} baseball cards and took them to a card shop thata was in the same plaza as the record store…sold them shits and went and copped both of these. I remeber going home and listening to MM and HATING IT. Then thinking..give it a chance…it’s Tribe after all. Next Listen and by Steve Biko second verse…had me. MM is my fav album ever…”Lyrics To Go” and “God Lives Through” are the heaters on that album{along w/the obvious favorites}.

    Enter36 was just some other me the only two albums that fucked me up production wise were”Sgt. Peppers Lonley Hearts Club Band” and Enter the 36 Chambers”. Still to this day I listen and go…”How the Fuck did they get that sound?”

    As Ahmir says…it was the high water mark for hip hop…I couldn’t agree more.

    It’s funny I turned 15 on Dec.2-1993 Midnight Marauders was my most played album…..turning 30 on tues. the 2nd and Q-Tip’s album is in the heaviest rotation……..the more shit changes the more it stays the same……

    and as OPTIONS and a few others said…tribe and wu{and the Beatles} made me start listening..really breaking down music.

    and as Options said..tribe to de la to common to roots to dilla to madlib to …and it don’t stop.

    Thank you -Tribe thank you Wu. Thank you hip hop- thank you music.

  • Stefen says:

    I remember the first time I heard both Wu-Tang and ATCQ, both just a few years ago. It made me wonder to myself, “Why the hell couldn’t I have grown up with these groups?”

    That was also the year I stopped listening to the radio on the whole, and turned my back on anything mainstream…

  • QUNYC says:

    I got too many memories off Hip Hop, especially Tribe.
    The illest feeling for me was AS A KID….wyldin off can I kick it then hearing the OG song(“take a walk on the wild side”)…shit blew me away cause I didnt know shit about a sampler or none of that yet all I knew was “thats the shit from can I kick it…oh shit”.
    I was sure of the sounds but wasnt sure about what I was hearing…and tribe used to take me down that road plenty being that my pops was into roy ayers, irvine weldine, grover washington, bob james and all that jazz shit as much as the soul shit…

    But wu tang though….aw man….I had no words to describe it back then….I think this was the evolution of also MAKING your own sounds in hip hop instead of just loops…..

    I 1st heard ” Method Man” on hot97 in 93, The gritty demo version sounding like it was pressed off an analog tape (with the “now how brothers want wit salt or butta mutherfuckas” ending) flex ripped that shit for like 20min. straight!! on the radio!! niggas was wyldin!! nobody around my way knew what this guy looked like or anything about The Wu, all we knew was it was some new crew from Staten Island and he was down with em…and that voice…souded like he was 300lbs!!!
    Flex was suckin them niggas off extra that entire summer but he didnt know alot about them either, all he kept sayin was “new york, I seen these guys perform, these guys roll deeeeep”…you didnt know who was who, they kept taggin in & out…it was really like the superfriends with the beats to match the lyrics…1 song had 2 niggas on it, the other had 5, the other had 8 and you couldnt put it all together yet….CRA-Z….

    Then Protect ya neck 12” came out……AHHHHHH….
    From the wu tang book on the cover, that wu tang sword, and that infamous W with a simple ‘protect ya neck’ on it…no pictures, no fancy artwoork just 100% RAWNESS…You didnt know what to expect…
    side 1, soon as the kung fu shit kicks in and the “wu tang clan comin at ya.., with dirty sayin ‘watcha step kid’ in the background….the fuckin snare on that shit…the sounds, the bassline…Deck….”swinging through ya town like ya neighboorhood spiiiiderman…” it actually FELT like a whole new era was happening while listening to that shit, I used to rewind that shit in my walkman hyped to hear it again.
    it was that ill.
    And the bloody version had a different ending than the shaolin version….ah man…it was like a journey…And only the 12″ had Method Man on it….not sure about MAXISINGLES (remember those)…
    I didnt know nothing about being no STAN or none of that corny shit.
    Not sure it existed in hip hop yet cause EVERYBODY was on hip hop if you wasnt, YOU SUCKED.
    Stans exist in the pop world, and thats what this shit has become, thats why people talk like that now.
    All I knew was this wu tang shit was the soundtrack to MY life and they had a new group or song like every other month and I couldnt get enough of it.
    Then the album dropped…jesus H christ…I didnt know which joint I liked the most…..all these weird sounds…and the kung fu…kung fu theater was the SHIT back in the 80’s with EVERY kid so I was already hooked…
    1st it was protect ya neck based off what I had heard but then “shame on a nigga”…then “clan in the front’…but then I heard CREAM, that fuckin sound, its sounded like heaven on earth…Then”the mystery of chessboxing”……
    goodness gracious. Then I had seen the actual flick….damn. RZA is a genius. Niggas just wasnt sampling MOVIES yet…it was just mind blowing how he freaked it…
    Those drum patterns were only being used by the beatminerz at the time…the boom boom bap pattern…but RZA took that shit to another frontier….
    New niggas wonder why RZA is worshipped the way he is, thats because you have no fuckin clue what reshaping a genre really means!! EVERY producer after him got some RZA in him…from Kanye to whoever….EVERY producer, even if its unintentional. Jayz’s blueprint was Ghostfaces/raekwons blueprint….see “ironman” or “…cuban linx” my nigga…nobody could filter their sounds like RZA.
    Then to be dusted all day and to come up with shit like “criminology” or “verbal intercourse”….eeww.
    You didnt get to hear “I gotcha back” or “diary of a madman” or 4th chamber, “the riddler” with the slowed down batman theme…or brooklyn zoo or NONE of that shit like we did. You just click and listen and its done in 2008. Find the file and listen. no more no less. I feel so sorry for you and your kids man…lol…your gonna pass down your …weezy memories? autotune? heartbreaking shit… for YOUR life.
    Im content being a “old head/hater” …whatever they call it…Thats a cop out to lacking skill or jealousy if you ask me…Theres not too many cats from my cloth who go along with all this crap in hip hop now anyway…
    ATCQ was nothing like the wu but it still caught you cause it had feeling to it. Niggas do it now to put their hood on or for money and fame. It wasnt like that back then. It was but wasnt.
    The entire native tongues crew dressed weirder than the kids do nowadays just to stand out, difference is the music was fresh. And it was only considered weird cause they wasnt sampling james brown like everybody else at the time, they was looping light rock and shit. unheard of in 89.
    Back then it was all about huddling in front of the radio to catch the new shit or copping the newest clue TAPE at the time. Thats what made clue blow up…playing niggas unreleased joints, DJs wasnt doing that yet NOWHERE….like I heard the method man remix on a clue tape WAAAAYBEFORE Meth’s 1st album dropped…same with biggies who shot ya and the Mobb deep survival of the fittest remix.
    Back then you HAD to soak up all the hip hop you could get cause it wasn’t all over the place like it is now.
    every single Wu tang release from 93 to 98 was golden. All of them.
    Thats what hip hop WAS, when you talked about 1 you had to talk about the other…cause as much as the Wu took my breath away…I was in awe of Nas who at the time was still in the block, I got to see him perform ‘halftime’ “represent( not the version on illmatic)” ‘live at the BBQ” and it aint hard to tell” that year in the QB community center (lucky me)…I think that was the only time I was at a party and niggas was just tuned in to the MC… Say what you want in 2008 but he’s a headache for YOUR favorite MC NOW, and always has been. Nas is a poet.
    Biggie too…I wasnt a huge fan but at the time you couldnt go NOWHERE in NYC without hearing “1 more chance” the OG version or the dreams joint….Like I said I didnt even like BIG at 1st, there was just something about this guy…and his name sucked to me….some cats was calling him Biggie smalls some called him the Notorious B.I.G. but he damn sure stood out amongst all your redmans, Nas’s, wu tangs etc.
    man oh man those were the days…..These 2 albums stir up a thousand and 1 memories for me….
    damn…15 yrs already and that shit still got me open….
    All I’ll say is, these new niggas look at everything with a who cares mentality but you wonder why you dont got real respect or sell big numbers anymore, you wonder why ALL record sales are down…

    when you care maybe we will again….
    Maybe todays fans will wanna shead a tear when they recall1st hearing “a millie” or “pop champagne”…lol…yeah fuckin right…ok….you can cry now….

  • trapperjohnmd says:

    Qunyc, very well typed. The Wu are legendary and so is A Tribe Called Quest. If you think what the Wu brought to hip hop, you will realize it can never be duplicated.

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