Chamber Music: About the Wu-Tang (in 36 Pieces)

Will Ashon


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  • Granta Books
  • 2018
  • ISBN 9781783784035
  • 384 pages
  • Softcover with Flaps
  • 22 × 14.5 × 3 cm
Will Ashon tells, in 36 interlinked ‚chambers‘, the story of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and how it changed the world. As unexpected and complex as the album itself, Chamber Music ranges from provocative essays to semi-comic skits, from deep scholarly analysis to satirical celebration, seeking to contextualise, reveal and honour this singularly composite work of art.From the FBI’s war on drugs to the porn theatres of 42nd street, from the history of jazz to the future of politics, Chamber Music is an explosive and revelatory new way of writing about music and culture.


‚One of the most rewarding pieces of hip-hop criticism ever written‘ Jeff Chang‚Brilliant‘ Giles Peterson
Will Ashon’s dazzling study gets to the heart of hip hop, pop culture and the history of contemporary America. Essential‘ Matt Thorne‚Each of these chambers contains wonders of history, destiny and mythology‘ Margo Jefferson

[A] clever, provocative, ambitious thrill-ride of a book, an investigation of the divergence between mainstream history and subcultural history, official truths and alternative facts… Ashon’s work is as lyrical, as complex, as unapologetically intellectual as the best works of modern literature… Ashon travels the globe tracking the provenance of words, gestures and rituals which characterise hip hop culture. And for those of us who relish great music journalism, Ashon is up there with all the heavyweights … Full of sound and fury, Chamber Music signifies everything that suddenly feels not just important but roaringly urgent about black American culture. This is its time… A knockoutJane Graham