Music Notes: Pivotal ’90s groups reunite

When it comes to ranking some of the best groups in music history to emerge from the 1990s, the Wu-Tang Clan and Living Off Experience place as some of the elites.

The Wu-Tang Clan first debuted with their undisputed classic album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) in 1993 after releasing material in the underground during the late 1980s and early 1990s. With this album, the Clan refocused the shift of hip-hop to the East Coast after influential West Coast artists such as Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg dominated the genre in the early 1990s. In addition to the Wu’s debut, the late great Biggie Smalls’ stellar debut Ready to Die and Nas’ excellent first album Illmatic also helped re-establish New York on the hip-hop scene.

The Wu’s debut was special, though, not only because of the different style each member (such as Method Man, Raekwon, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Ghostface Killah) expressed, but also because the entire album was produced by RZA, the leader and a lyricist of the Clan.

The Wu’s influence continued to be felt with members’ impressive solo albums (namely Raekwon’s 1995 classic Only Built For Cuban Linx), which were also produced by RZA. RZA tirelessly continued to produce the Wu’s albums, including the groups acclaimed 1997 double album Wu-Tang Forever. In addition, RZA has composed movie scores, such as the score for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series.

More than a decade after their debut, the Wu-Tang Clan is still relevant, and after several years the group is reuniting for a new album, 8 Diagrams. Of course, things have changed for the group as time passed. For one, they have one less member: the late great ODB, who died in 2004. Fortunately, the group has unreleased material from the wild artist that will be included on the album. The Wu also has a song dedicated to him on the new album, which will be released Sept. 10 on SRC Records.

In addition to the Wu-Tang Clan, Living Off Experience is an unforgettable group that emerged in the 1990s. After signing in 1996 with Bad Boy Records, which featured the star Biggie Smalls, the young group became successful the next year, performing on songs such as Puff Daddy’s "All About the Benjamins." The group then recorded their solid debut Money, Power, Respect, which was released in early 1998.

The trio went on to release a second album as well as solo albums from each member. Jadakiss, the group’s best and most lyrical component, has had the most success, with hit songs such as the political "Why?" Styles P. hasn’t done too poorly with his solo career either, while Sheek Louch’s releases aren’t quite on the same level as the aforementioned two.

After parting ways for a while, The LOX is reuniting for their first group album in seven years. They recently recorded the song "We’re Back," letting everyone know that they have returned for another run. If the material is anything close to their previous work, their currently untitled album should be a hit.

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