It’s easy to say that the Wu Tang Clan is one of the greatest hip-hop groups, but, which members make up the best parts of the G.O.A.T.? In the ‘what have you done for me LATELY?’ culture that we live in, your favorite from fifteen years ago may not be the same going into 2018. So, with that in mind, let’s rank the most productive, still relevant, all around greatest members of the Wu Tang Clan:
U-God is like that favorite uncle that never shows up to family functions. He makes a very limited appearance on Wu Tang’s debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and he is absent on their latest album The Saga Continues. Golden Arms is dope, but if the saga can truly continue without a founding member, how important is he?
10. Masta Killah
Masta Killah can hardly remember his time with the Clan in interviews. His membership was gained mainly because of association by his own admission, and his simplistic flow was crafted during the recording of their first album. He’s just not on the level of his more skilled brethren. Without a memorable single or solo album, his best quality is that he appears on the majority of the Clan's group efforts.
Reggie Noble is an honorary member of the Clan, and if it wasn’t for his late membership he would be much higher on this list. Redman’s success as a solo artist, along with his hit duo with Method Man has carried him into the 21st Century where the Funk Doc still rocks the spot.
Cappadonna was labeled as the tenth member of the original Wu Tang clan. His appearance on the hit single ICE CREAM is his claim to fame, but he does lend a memorable verse to the Clan’s 2017 single ONLY ONE.
7. Inspektah Deck
The rebel I-N-S is one of the premiere lyricist of the Wu Tang Clan. If only bad luck didn’t hamper his solo efforts! His mesmerizing lyrics on songs like TRIUMPH and LESSON LEARN’D are enough to elevate him to the #7 spot.
Everyone on up has had a certified gold solo album, and are original members of the group. GZA tops that with a platinum plaque. The eldest member of the Clan always delivers lyrically, and his solo album LIQUID SWORDS is a classic. The title track, along with less appreciated songs like 4TH CHAMBER, I GOTCHA BACK, SHADOWBOXIN, and COLD WORLD are some of the best tracks in the Wu Tang legacy. Unfortunately, the Genius has been relatively silent in the 21st century.
Big Baby Jesus, Osiris, Dirt McGirt. If you didn’t get to see the antics of Ol’ Dirty Bastard in his prime then you missed entertainment gold. From taking his family to collect food stamps on MTV, to Kanye-ing the 1998 Grammy stage before Kanye existed; ODB is a hip-hop icon. When he bum-rushed the Grammy stage to proclaim that Wu Tang was for the kids and Puffy was just alright we all nodded in agreement. Luckily, his music lives on, and SHIMMY SHIMMY YA and BROOKLYN ZOO are still some of the illest songs EVER. R.I.P. ODB!
ONLY BUILT FOR CUBAN LINX might have changed the music landscape back in 1995. The unique purple tape, the inclusion of his Wu Tang partner Ghostface Killah featured heavily on the album, the Mafioso lingo and wordplay. Everyone was bumping Raekwon’s purple tape! The Chef's recent efforts have been solid, with a sequel to CUBAN LINKS back in 2009, and dope albums like F.I.L.A (Fly International Luxurious Art) and THE WILD released in recent years.
Bobby Digital is the architect of the Wu Tang sound, and can never be discounted. His influence on hip-hop production; skeletal drum beats with samples ranging from soul music to speeches from Kung-Fu flicks is forever etched in the genre’s lexicon. What keeps him relevant is his foray into Hollywood. Scoring films such as GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI, and the hit anime AFRO SAMURAI, along with acting and producing in the hit films AMERICAN GANGSTER and G.I. JOE: RETALLIATION have made the RZA-rector one of the most successful artists in the realm of hip-hop.
2. Method Man
The M-E-T-H-O-D Man is another hip-hop icon birthed by the Clan. His self-titled single from the Wu Tang Clan's debut album alerted the world to something special, but his duet with Mary J. Blige, ALL I NEED would make Meth a household name. His commercial success was huge, and he was able to capitalize with movies, television shows, and a popular duo with Redman. All of these forays continue to this day, with roles on LUKE CAGE,THE MORTICIAN, and KEANU. Johnny Blaze couldn't always live up to the hype, though, and successful yet mediocre solo albums (Judgement Day, anyone?) keeps him from the #1 spot.
1. Ghostface Killah
GFK is the most consistent musically among the original Wu Tang Clan members. Not only did he debut strong with IRONMAN, but he avoided the sophomore slump with the critically acclaimed SUPREME CLIENTELE. Starks has released ten albums in the 21st century, and it's hard to downplay any of them. When it comes to the foundation of the Wu, none of the original members can touch Ghost's music output. He even takes the time to check 'little fat f*cks' that don't want to admit that they sound like him!