Word is Bond: ‘Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber’

wu-tangBY ELI KABERON

Everyone has songs that they associate with specific moments, places and people in their life. For example, I always think of seventh-grade school dances when Juvenile’s “Back Dat Azz Up” comes on, because, well, that’s what we listened to when juking at seventh-grade school dances. We even had an assembly because of that song and the “salacious” dancing it provoked. No matter what takes place for the rest of my life, I’ll always connect that song with that time in my life.

In 2011, two friends and I took a road trip up to a fourth friend’s wedding in northern Michigan. On that trip, another musical connection was made. During the five-hour drive there, and the five-hour drive home, we probably listened to the Wu-Tang Clan’s classic 1993 album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) four times, from start to finish. We’d all heard it before. But there was something about that summer afternoon, driving along the highway, en route to a weekend full of fun and shenanigans, that made us want to blast one of the best rap albums ever made.

In honor of that (saw all those buddies last weekend, which got me thinking about it), and because this is the song where the title of this column derives, my favorite verse from an underappreciated track on that album.

Song: “Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber”

Album: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

Artist: Wu-Tang Clan

Verse: Seventh (GZA)

My my my

My Clan is thick like plaster

Bust ya, slash ya

Slit a nigga back like a Dutch Masta Killa

Style jumped off and Killa, Hill-er

I was the thriller in the Ali-Frazier Manilla

I came down with phat tracks that combine and interlock

Like getting smashed by a cinder block

Blaow! Now it’s all over

Niggas seein pink hearts, yellow moons

Orange stars and green clovers

Analyzing verses off of Wu-Tang songs is nearly impossible, for several reasons. One, this isn’t a full 16 bars; it’s only eight. Second, GZA — along with the other members of the Clan — don’t always speak, you know, English. They use sound effects and made-up terms to get their points across. Part of that is what makes the songs so awesome, and this is an example of that.

This verse comes in the final 65 seconds of a track that lasts 6:07 and includes a long skit about Raekwon looking for his Killer tape, somebody named Shymeek getting killed, and six different Wu members spitting verses before GZA goes and the subjects vary from the Tribe of Shabazz to running up “in spots like Fort Knox.” GZA uses his time to both talk about himself and his crew, saying he’s more dangerous than the most famous boxing match of all time. He also ends the verse – and the song – by implying that after the Wu-Tang Clan is done, people will be seeing the marshmallow objects in Lucky Charms cereal, which is just awesome.

It’s hard to say this verse is the best of all the songs on 36 Chambers. In actuality, it probably isn’t. GZA isn’t the best MC in the Clan in my opinion, but for some reason, this verse really sticks with me. I love how it starts, with the “My my my…” I love how the first four lines all rhyme. I love the Lucky Charms reference. I love the “Blaow!” right in the middle of the verse, something that no rapper today would do.

But most of all, I love what this song reminds me of. It takes me back to a specific moment in time, on an open road with two close friends, which is exactly what music is meant to do.

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One thought on “Word is Bond: ‘Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber’

  1. Danny Hazan says:

    Respect, Eli. GZA is my favorite in the Wu and one of, if not THE, top emcees on my personal list. Lyrically no one can touch him. Period. However much more goes into emceeing like delivery, and he is pretty much the same always so I understand why some may take some points away from him for not switching it up in that regard.

    I went to see him at The Metro in the Fall by myself after a friend bailed last second. Best show I’ve ever seen.

    7th Chamber Pt. 2 is one of my favorite Wu songs of all time, but Deck’s verse on it is my favorite – without question. Not to diminish GZA’s or any of the others on that song, but I think his goes the hardest.

    What are some of your other favorite GZA verses, not necessarily from that album?

    Thanks for writing these. I thoroughly enjoyed the Jay Z one, and this as well.

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