Nearly 25 years ago, the Wu-Tang Clan burst onto the Hip-Hop scene with their debut studio album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The album quickly became a surprise hit, selling 30,000 copies in its first week. Now, the Wu is looking to revisit their classic project, but not in the way that fans would expect. They are preparing to remake the project with an entirely new cast of rappers.
The breaking news comes from the co-founder and former CEO of Loud Records, Steve Rifkin. In an interview with Pitchfork, he revealed that he and Staten Island’s finest are remaking 36 Chambers with 9 of today’s hottest MCs each playing a character from the original album. He also added that the revamped album will come with a tour to mark the original’s 25th anniversary. No word yet on which of today’s artists will replace the original 9, if the new rappers will provide new verses to classic beats or if they will repeat the same bars from the original album, nor if any of the original members of the Clan will make a cameo appearance on the remixed album.
The concept of remaking an album in itself is an oddly experimental one for the crew to commit to. And it’s undoubtedly one of the first instances in Hip-Hop history where a classic album was rebooted for a modern day audience. We have seen artists put their own spin on a piece of music through cover tracks, but this is a bonafide remake in the traditional sense of the word; re-creating a classic body of work from pop culture with a new cast of characters in the role of old characters. Usually, it is movies, television shows, or video games that get the remake treatment—Tomb Raider and Death Wish being two of the more recent examples—but this kicks off a rare occurrence for a body of musical work to be rehashed.
Not sure how this will play out, nor if the experiment can produce positive results for the Clan, but we would be lying if we said we were not heavily intrigued at the unique prospect. This whole revamp thing can only go two ways: either a disaster or a well received surprise. With tons of pressure on the shoulders of whoever is going to replace heavy hitters like ODB and Method Man, it is going to be sink or swim for this new cast of characters. And if it swims, then this could start a new trend where remaking albums becomes the newest trend.