The "W"

  • Record Label: Loud
  • Release Date: Nov 21, 2000

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. 100
    It's about as good a hip hop album as you will hear this year. Correction: Make that great.... It's hip-hop that plays to the streets and the suburbs with equal intensity, intelligence, insanity and integrity.
  2. But for all its rapped W-Unity, this is RZA's record.... Far from straining, he's gone sensei, achieving a craft in which the hand leads the mind.
  3. 90
    All the big Wu dogs are here -- Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Raekwon, Genius, etc. -- and it sounds like they've been sharpening their skills like knives. They toss rhymes back and forth with the precision of a machine -- they're so good it's almost scary.
  4. 90
    After being imitated for the last seven years, Wu-Tang Clan returns with another chamber for today's soft and silky rap. But don't get it twisted though. Despite their last album, Wu-Tang Forever, leaving fans uneasy, the Wu's third collective work, The W is crammed with nothing but Wu-bangas.
  5. The W forgoes innovation and simply revels in the Clan's strengths: the way their star rappers toss around rhymes as if playing catch; RZA's skulking, string enhanced beats; all those mystical hip hop words.
  6. The W is largely a return to murky idiosyncratic form after 1997's filler-bloated Wu-Tang Forever. Weighing in at a svelte 60 minutes, it plays to the group?s main strengths: brutal hooks and scary ambience.
  7. The W is a sonic gestalt that exists somewhere between the Queensbridge projects and OutKast's Stankonia, down the block from Lee Perry's Black Ark studios, two floors below A Tribe Called Quest's Low End Theory.
  8. Spin
    Fully in charge on The W, RZA ditches the longeurs of Forever, borrows some adrenaline from Ghostface Killah's relentless Supreme Clientele, forsakes the Alesis drum machine, and returns to the crates to make the dirty, inexplicable music Wu fans want. [2/2001, p.106]
  9. 80
    Even the ample cast of guests on The W seems less like a blatant attempt to boost its first week sales than simply a welcome attempt to add to its stylistic diversity. The result is something almost as rare as getting the entire Wu-Tang Clan together: a mainstream rap album that actually sounds like an album instead of a long-playing single.
  10. While the trademark sound is still much in force, group mastermind RZA jettisoned the elaborate beat symphonies and carefully placed strings of Forever in favor of tight productions with little more than scarred soul samples and tight, tough beats. The back-to-basics approach works well, not only because it rightly puts the focus back on the best cadre of rappers in the world of hip-hop, but also because RZA's immense trackmaster talents can't help but shine through anyway.
  11. The monotony that blighted 1997's 'Wu-Tang Forever' and the sluggish complacency of some of the Clan's myriad solo projects in the past three years is notably absent. There's a born-again urgency here, with the RZA reclaiming control of the mixing desk from his disciples and trying out a few new tricks to spike the usual routine of cinematic string stabs and virtuoso raps.
  12. Filled with startling jump cuts and puzzling reverberations, The W is the best-produced Wu-affiliated album since GZA's 1995 Liquid Swords.... Eight years after their first single, it's a thrill to hear Wu-Tang sounding so unhinged. But it's also a pain in the ass. With nine voices, nine styles competing for your ear, even the most carefully crafted Wu-Tang album flirts with chaos, and the listener is left to separate milestones from mistakes. The W bursts with inspiration, but what does it all mean? You can't help wishing there was someone in charge.
  13. "W" does have a few flaws, namely "Conditioner," which features Snoop Dogg and is the only track graced with Ol' Dirty's presence. Despite his trademark voice-cracking inflection, the Dirt Dog's verse sounds as if it was recorded over the phone, detracting from what could have been another Wu banger.
  14. Urb
    There's a quality of randomness on The W that prevents it from cohering as an album. But even if it's just a collection of songs, The W is undeniably impressive, packing the kind of gritty, aggressive anthems that have been notably missing from most of the recent Wu solo albums. [#82, p. 148]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Apr 22, 2015
    With a New York street sound, dope beats and rhymes as sharp as a knife, the W keeps up with the Wu-Tang clan's reputation as one of the bestWith a New York street sound, dope beats and rhymes as sharp as a knife, the W keeps up with the Wu-Tang clan's reputation as one of the best rap groups ever and grows even more its influence on hip-hop. Full Review »
  2. Sep 22, 2014
    8 Full Review »
  3. Jul 28, 2011
    haha i like anonymous review, 10 if you like hip hop 0 if you dont, so he gave it an 8 thats pretty humorous... but seriously this is a greathaha i like anonymous review, 10 if you like hip hop 0 if you dont, so he gave it an 8 thats pretty humorous... but seriously this is a great album... the w is a gem of an album (and i like hip hop so i give it a 10, anonymous) Full Review »