By the time Wu-Tang Forever was released in 1997 the Wu-Tang Clan were the undisputed leaders of a genre otherwise dominated by coastal beefs and southern cocaine rap. Forever reconnected its members for a double CD that showed the group at their peak following a string of standout solo albums, which I compiled into a 26-track collection back in May.
What followed in the wake of that release were a flood of side projects that incorporated countless affiliates of the group and set the stage for a second dose of solo albums from key members. But before those rolled out near the end of 1998, often overlooked projects during the two year period from 1997-98 featured countless tracks worthy of revisiting.
Missing from this compilation is tracks from Sunz of Man The Last Shall Be First (1998) and La The Darkman Heist of the Century (1998) because neither is available on Spotify. Killarmy Dirty Weaponry (1998) was produced by 4th Disciple and Mathematics but does not feature official members. All songs in this list are produced by RZA unless otherwise noted.
Let me know what you think. The third installment will be released before the end of the year.
It seems Bob Dylan has lived a number of different lives over the past six decades since overtaking the folk music scene with his acoustic guitar and harmonica in the early 1960s. He’s somehow managed to remain relevant in some form or fashion no matter how much his arrogance and cynicism rubbed others the wrong the way.
The key to longevity lies in the willingness to adapt and evolve, though not necessarily in that order. What makes Dylan great is that even throughout his changes he’s somehow stuck to the script of writing songs for those that otherwise have no voice.
Dylan’s first four albums provide insight into what was to come in the many years that followed: Songs about life and death; of protest; about the comings and goings of love; and the reality of life’s prejudices.
The Wu-Tang Clan hit the scene in 1993 with a debut album that featured nine emcees rapping over gritty soundscapes unheard of at the time in hip hop.
What followed was the release of a handful of solo albums from 1994-96, by six individuals from within the group. The Clan’s creator, The RZA, oversaw the majority of production for each record outside of his involvement with the Gravediggaz.
This Spotify playlist contains 26 tracks from those albums. It opens with one song from each of the selections listed below, in order of release date, and repeats itself throughout. The intent was to include tracks from each solo album that featured other Wu-Tang members. Enjoy. (more…)
Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne released their eighth and final studio album together in 1978. The aptly titled Never Say Die! came out the same year as Rainbow’s Long Live Rock n’ Roll, with Ronnie James Dio on vocals.
Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi eventually replaced Osbourne with Dio just as the decade was coming to a end. Ever since it’s seemed as if Sabbath and Osbourne were destined to move in different directions.
The Spotify playlist I’ve compiled focuses on a three-year stretch involving these individuals. It features every song from Never Say Die! and Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll, along with Sabbath’s first album with Dio (Heaven and Hell) and Osbourne’s first solo effort (Blizzard of Ozz), both of which were released in 1980.
It must be noted that Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll features Ritchie Blackmore on guitar while Randy Rhodes is the lead man on Blizzard of Ozz. There’s 34 songs in all.