- WU-TANG FOREVER is an Enhanced CD. The audio portions are available on any standard audio CD player; interactive content, including videos and biographies, can be accessed with a CD-ROM unit.
- Wu-Tang Clan: RZA (aka "The Abbott"); GZA (aka "The Genius"); Dirty (aka "Osiris"); U-God (aka "Golden Arms"); Masta Killa (aka "High Chief"); Method Man (aka "Hott Nikkels"); Raekwon (aka "Lex Diamonds"); Ghostface Killah (aka "Ironman"); Inspectah Deck (aka "Fifth Brother").
- Additional personnel: Roxanne (background vocals); Poppa Wu, Uncle Pete, CappaDonna, Tekitha, Street Life.
- Producers: The RZA, 4th Disciple, True Master, Inspectah Deck.
- Engineers: The RZA, 4th Disciple, True Master, The Rebel.
- WU-TANG FOREVER was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.
- By the time the Wu-Tang Clan finished their first round of solo projects and reconvened for their second album as a group, the double-disc album had become the hip-hop fad of the moment. So why not give it a shot? With a main crew of nine MCs (plus new protg Cappadonna), the Wu wouldn't have to depend heavily on guest appearances to flesh out two whole discs of material, as Biggie and 2Pac had. While the result, Wu-Tang Forever, is frequently brilliant, it's also sprawling and unfocused, losing its handle on the carefully controlled chaos of Enter the Wu-Tang. On the one hand, there's more social consciousness on Wu-Tang Forever, taking hard looks at ghetto life while finding pathos and offering encouragement and uplift ("A Better Tomorrow," "Impossible"). On the other hand, you also get some of the group's most explicit sex raps yet ("Maria," "The Projects," the utterly bizarre ODB solo track "Dog Shit"). In other words, the group is starting to go off in more individual directions here, making it harder to maintain an overall focus. Once you get past the rambling Five Percenter introduction, the first disc is pretty tight, partly because it was kept short to leave room for enhanced CD content. The second disc is far too long, diluting the impact of its better songs (the terrific single "Triumph") with an excess of lackluster material. Wu-Tang Forever easily would have made a brilliant single CD; RZA's production is more polished than the debut, thanks to a bigger budget and better equipment, and leans heavily on soundtrack-style strings to underscore the album's cinematic scope. Some hailed Wu-Tang Forever as the best double-disc hip-hop album yet released, but others regarded it as a disappointment; despite its many high points, it's the first time the Wu didn't quite fulfill their ambitions. ~ Steve Huey
Rolling Stone (6/26/97, pp.51-52) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...a self-contained universe that mixes hip-hop culture with adolescent-pop flotsam....hauntingly descriptive tales of ghetto hustlers and victims..."
Spin (1/98, p.87) - Ranked #19 on Spin's list of the "Top 20 Bands Of The Year."
Spin (9/97, p.154) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Creating a style with no definite precedent, playing major lables against each other--and winning--Wu-Tang Clan are basically selling avant-garde music as pop to the world....The RZA burns the rule book between your headphones..."
Entertainment Weekly (6/6/97, pp.65-66) - "...FOREVER continues the group's artistic grand slam. Like their forebears in Public Enemy, Wu-Tang are musical revolutionaries, unafraid to bring the noise along with their trunk of funk..." - Rating: A
Q (6/00, p.131) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Highlights a once-hungry outfit now simply too full of individual stars to function coherently....[albeit] flashes of brilliance..."
The Wire (10/01, pp.46,48) - "...The MCs are in strong form..."
Melody Maker (12/20-27/97, pp.66-67) - Ranked #28 on Melody Maker's list of 1997's "Albums Of The Year."
Melody Maker (5/31/97, p.49) - "...It had to be this big. It didn't have to be this good...Every single track is a detonation of every single pop rule you thought sacrosanct....FOREVER is one of the greatest hip hop LPs of all time. I think, in time, it could be my favourite album ever..."
Village Voice (2/24/98) - Ranked #26 in the Village Voice's 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
NME (Magazine) (12/20-27/97, pp.78-79) - Ranked #18 in NME's 1997 Critics' Poll.
NME (Magazine) (5/31/97, p.54) - "...If albums by Method Man, Genius, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and Ol' Dirty Bastard were the Gospels, then this is meant to be the Good Book. And what it contains is The Knowledge....WU-TANG FOREVER is...unforgettably huge..."