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The 50 Greatest Sophomore Albums in Hip-Hop History

22. Wu-Tang Clan, Wu-Tang Forever (1997)

Label: Loud, RCA, BMG

In many ways, Forever is the antithesis of everything that made 36 Chambers so great. It's bloated, self-indulgent and slick. And yet, it's still incredible because it's the original Wu-Tang line-up all performing at their best. Ol Dirty Bastard is in top form, injecting just the right amount of insanity into proceedings, while Rae and Ghost hold down their spots like troopers and allow GZA and Inspectah Deck to get some well-deserved shine. Bolstered by some amazing individual performances, this was the last time that RZA's vision really connected with the rest of the crew on a musical level, and gave us a final example of the true power in numbers approach of the Shaolin soldiers.

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