Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sample Set #162

In order to complete this sample set, I had to do tons of research, spend hours watching a bunch of kung fu flicks (no complaints), and dig through those good ol' e-crates. In all, about ten hours or so of mostly-strenuous, sclera-melting labor. So without further adieu... take it away, XXL! :D

I've always enjoyed Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) - and all the subsequent Wu records for that matter - because they instill an interest in actively digging up the source material and learning about all the film snippets and other oddities sprinkled throughout the album. Even if compiling these sample mixes wasn't my "job", I'm still the kind of person to nerd out over the differences between Wu Tang and Shaolin and distinguishing the various styles of animal-based kung fu techniques. It's interesting! Without this album and RZA's quirky production savvy, most of us would've been cut off from this alluring world of cult classic Hong Kong flicks. Who else but The RZA would've (or could've) incorporated kung fu into the Big Tent Party that is hip hop? And we thank him for that! (Further reading/listening: Wired Magazine's 2007 interview with The RZA, discussing his unconventional source material.)

But it's not just the kung fu influence that's made RZA one of hip hop's most cherished producers. His gravitation towards gritty soul and flipping even grittier loops is unparalleled. Listening to his beats, one can't help but notice a certain sense of dust and griminess in the music he crafts. His production resonates like the sounds a basement would make if it could sing - or groan. But there's a light element to his style, perhaps attributed to his spiritual leanings, which emanates through the sound waves as well. This sample set serves as a primer on The RZA's production and influences, both of which have changed drastically - though not necessarily for the worse - in the past decade and a half. Listen to Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) one more time before giving this a spin. I promise you'll enjoy it more that way. For an extra kick, make sure to check out the following films: Shaolin and Wu Tang, Ten Tigers from Kwangtung, Five Deadly Venoms, and Executioner(s) from Shaolin. Enjoy the ride! I know I did. Just make sure to... turn it up!!