It's a fair question, and one oft-discussed among hip-hop heads: is Wu-Tang Clan's "Triumph" the greatest song the culture has ever seen? Now, that level of objective certainty is damn near impossible to achieve. Between the fierce competition spanning across decades and the Clan's own immensely rich repertoire of classic materials, there are plenty of cases to be made. And yet there's something undeniably pure about "Triumph," the timeless lead single off the 1997 double album Wu-Tang Forever.
With the legacy of 36 Chambers looming, the Clan found themselves emerging from an epic solo album run ready to pick up where they left off. Anyone who caught Of Mics And Men likely remember the scene in which the members praised Inspectah Deck as the group's most formidable lyricist, explaining that his verses would always inspire them to go harder. That quality is on full display here, with his oft-quoted opening verse setting a majestic tone. "I bomb atomically, Socrates' philosophies and hypotheses can't define how I be dropping these mockeries," he raps, making it look effortless. From that point onward, the entire Wu-Tang Clan continues where Deck left off, culminating in a near-six-minute display of lyrical excellence. Ask yourself again, is "Triumph" one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever crafted?
I bomb atomically, Socrates' philosophies and hypotheses
Can't define how I be dropping these mockeries
Lyrically perform armed robbery
Flee with the lottery, possibly they spotted me
Battle-scarred Shogun, explosion when my pen hits tremendous
Ultraviolet shine blind forensics
I inspect you through the future see millennium
Killa Beez sold fifty gold, sixty platinum
- Inspectah Deck