Conference III Enters The 36 Chambers

by J.R.

36hockey_knit1-570x570Today is the 20th anniversary of the release of one of the greatest albums of all-time, the Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

It would be hard to overstate its importance to music generally and hip-hop specifically. One thing is for certain, though: that album is crazy as hell. It’s downright wackadoo insane bonkers.

Its swaggering, funny, pop-culture referencing ethos is beautiful, violent and kookoobananas. It samples kung-fu movies, references breakfast cereal and drops comic book jokes.

Despite being a product of New York, it fits perfectly with Conference III.

And (of course) each Conference III team fits with a song.

In track order (yes there are more tracks than teams and I skipped em, sue me):

“Bring Da Ruckus” — Chicago Blackhawks

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Key Lyric: Yeah they fake and all that carrying gats but yo/My Clan rolling like forty Macs/Now ya act convinced, I guess it makes sense

The album-opener establishes the tone of the whole record, with RZA, Ghostface, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck and GZA The Genius each brilliant extolling the virtues of their crew. It is a complete package and it is a promise that, no matter what, Wu-Tang Clan will beat you down. Not unlike the Blackhawks, whose parts are brilliant on their own and extraterrestrial together.

“Can It All Be So Simple” — Colorado Avalanche

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Key Lyric: I’d rather flip shows instead of those/Hanging on my living room wall:/My first joint — and it went gold!

The Wu’s joint about how whether the good old days were as good as people remember and about dreaming of living the high life is perfect for the hot-starting Avs. Seen by many pundits — including this one — as being years away from the good life, they, like Wu-Tang did with 36 Chambers— seem to have a jump-start on the good times. Yeah, maybe they are riding the numbers…but enjoy that ride.

“Da Mystery of Chessboxin” — St. Louis Blues

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Key Lyric: Weak MC’s approach with slang that’s dead/You might as well run into the wall and bang your head/I’m pushing force, my force you’re doubting/I’m making devils cower to the Caucus Mountains

The stifling Ken Hitchcock system is frustrating for opponents — indeed they are among the league leaders insofar as conceding Corsi events — and is puzzling to solve. As mysterious as chessboxing? No idea, but the steamrolling nature of running Shaolin extolled as virtuous in this track would warm the cockles of Hitch’s heart (the cockles are located somewhere underneath his Sansabelt slacks).

“C.R.E.A.M.” — Minnesota Wild

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Key Lyric: “A man with dream with plans to make cream”

Inspectah Deck and Raekwon (with the hook by Meth) explain the dangers, the highs and lows of trying to achieve a goal by pushing the envelope. It takes money to make money. Similarly, the Minnesota Wild threw massive amounts of cream at Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (and eventually Thomas Vanek). Cash rules everything around them, indeed.

“Method Man” — Dallas Stars

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Key Lyric: P-A-N-T-Y-R-A-I-D-E-R mad raw I don’t cry/Meaning no one can burn or toss and turn me

The eponymous track is basically Meth boasting about how he’s going to party like he wants and not give a rip about what other folks think (also, there’s a rather disturbing opening segment on torture). Anyway, this song is about Tyler Seguin.

“Protect Ya Neck” — Nashville Predators

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Key Lyric: “And I’ll be damned if I let any man/Come to my center, you enter the winter/Straight up and down, that shit is packed: jam/You can’t slam, don’t let me get fool on him, man

Now, it’d be easy to just think this is a Barry Trotz no-neck joke — and that would be partially correct. Those jokes are cheap and easy, but they are the potatoes on the Conference III joke buffet. Nothing special but totally necessary. That being said, “Protect Ya Neck” is a perfect song for the Preds. It features eight of the nine members of the group and the Preds sure do love depth. It’s more or less a straightforward battle rap — and, boyo, do the Preds love battles — but none of the verses are finesse. They are brute force brags.

“Tearz” — Winnipeg Jets

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Key Lyric:

OK, so this is a cheap rip — the bleak, depressing song about HIV and drive-by shootings being assigned to the woeful Jets, who perhaps should get some slack with wins over Detroit and Nashville. But they don’t. The people of Winnipeg were thrilled (the laughter) when the Jets returned, but then they realized what returned was the Thrashers (the tears). See. I’m not just mean-spirited.