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Wu-Tang Forever was the long-awaited follow-up to the Wu-Tang Clan's first album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It came following a string of successful solo projects from the clan's prominent members (Tical, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, Liquid Swords & Ironman). Forever was released on June 3, 1997 as a double album at the peak of the group's popularity and to high expectations. Despite limited radio /TV airplay and the lead single that famously clocked at nearly 6 minutes with no chorus, the album debuted at #1 in the U.S. with 650,000 copies sold in its first week. It also debuted at #1 in the UK and Canada as well.

The album was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 1998 Grammy Awards, but lost to Puff Daddy's No Way Out. In an infamous moment, after losing, Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard interrupted Shawn Colvin's Song of the Year acceptance speech to protest the loss in the Best Rap Album category, saying that he spent a lot of money on an expensive suit with expectations of winning, and proclaiming "Puffy is good, but Wu-Tang is the best".

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