After pulling out all the bells and whistles for Wu-Tang Forever, three years later the group returned with The W, showcasing a much simpler approach. The project was a mere 12 songs (13 with the hidden song, "Clap"), and it didn't have the sweeping arrangements and embellishments. In their place was the original Wu formula—stripped-down beats, soul samples, and clips from kung fu flicks—which reminded us why we fell in love with the group in the first place.
That isn't to say they didn't push the envelope, though. "Gravel Pit" was their first obvious attempt at a club song and the Junior Reid assisted "Jah World" dabbled in roots reggae. They even managed to snag Isaac Hayes for "I Can't Go To Sleep," a torturous ballad rapped over a loop of Hayes' classic "Walk on By." At a time when the Wu-Tang flag was flying at half-mast, the W raised it back up.