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RZA; [Wu-Tang Clan]

RZA'S original 3-page handwritten liner notes for the Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) album sleeve

Lot Closed

July 25, 05:00 PM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 USD

Lot Details



Autograph manuscript liner notes for Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

3 pp. (8½ x 11 in.) in black and blue ballpoint ink on a three (3) sheets of white stationary with "Wu-Tang Productions & Management" letterhead. Diagonal creases where previously folded, light crinkling and occasional soiling (text unaffected).

From the personal archives of John "Mook" Gibbons, CEO Wu-Tang Management


In Wu-Tang Clan member and de-factor leader, RZA’s hand, the present pages are the preliminary liner notes submitted by the Clan to be included on the album sleeve of their 1993 debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

Across three (3) pages of “Wu-Tang Productions & Management” letterhead, RZA notes the proposed album title, track names and listings, well as writing, recording, and production credits. These pages offer invaluable insight into the machinations behind the production of one of hardcore rap's most seminal works.

Comparing these notes to those that appear on the final album, we see the 36 Chambers known today start to emerge—“Shaolin Side” and “Wu-Tang Side” become “Shaolin Sword” and “Wu-Tang Sword” in the album's final cut, a track titled “Run Ya Garments (16th Chamber)” gets replaced by “Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber,” “After the Laughter Come [sic] Tears” is shortened to simply “Tearz,” and “Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber Part II” is a later addition. Despite the lo-fi sound and production process, scratched out titles, re-worked names and nicknames, and notes like “Some songs may have skits before or after” re-emphasize exactly how particular RZA and the Clan’s vision was for their debut into the rap world.

One of Hip Hop's most lauded debuts, 36 Chambers signaled a tide-turning force in the genre and became the gold standard for the assertive sounds of 1990s hardcore rap. The album peaked at number 41 on the Billboard charts, going certified platinum in 1995 and remains one of Hip Hop's most influential of all time—ranked at number 27 in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2020 and in 2022, 36 Chambers was archived in the Library of Congress.