Posted by: Dave on January 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm

WuTang8DiagramsNote: This is the first Wu-Tang Clan album since 2001’s Iron Flag and the first since the death of member ‘Ol Dirty Bastard.
Sound: A more sedated, more melodic and less abrasive version of Wu-Tang Clan. The production favors laid back soulful, funky and Eastern beats with a trippy and seedy mystique. However, there is a little room for some of the harsher, more dynamic and cinematic sounds you expect from the Wu.
Look For: The interpolation of the The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on “The Heart Gently Weeps.” The Beatles’ camp didn’t approve the sampling of the song (they’ve never approved a sample), but they did allow it to be recreated. With Erykah Badu on vocals, The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante and George Harrison’s son Dhani on guitars and Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and Method Man on the verses, they reimagine the Beatles classic. On paper it has potential, but in practice it feels weak and forced, despite strong verses from the Wu-Tang MCs. They managed to take the second greatest Beatles song (in my opinion) and make it sound kinda silly. That’s unfortunate.
Heavy Rotation track: “Wolves” featuring George Clinton
Medium Rotation tracks: “Get Them Out Ya Way Pa”; “Take It Back”; “Rushing Elephants”
Recommended: The Wu-Tang MCs don’t sound as hungry or ominous as they have in the past, but each and every one of them delivers one great verse after another. 8 Diagrams is a showcase for their mic skills. The album does lack obvious classics and true singles, plus a shift from the traditional Wu sound, making it a record you need to spend some time with to appreciate. RZA’s endured criticism for pushing the group in uncharted (and unwanted to some) territory, but he should be commended for trying and succeeding in unlocking new sounds for hip hop.
Grade: B+

Listen to Tracks/Buy CD:
On iTunes

One Response to “Wu-Tang Clan 8 Diagrams (Universal Motown)”

  1. Wu-Tang Clan - 8 Diagrams (Street Records Corporation, 2008) | Chewing Pine Says:

    […] An apparent difference between earlier work and 8 Diagrams presents itself in the musical focus of the album. In many places, this disc more closely reflects its’ time than earlier Wu discs. “Campfire” sports a beat that would be almost unthinkable on an earlier Wu full length. The immediate soul vocals coupled with the overtly dance oriented beat is eventually saved, by what sounds like a foreboding 21st century version of the Clan. However, the best beat from these folks in the past recalled dank dungeons, whereas that feel is disappointingly absent from a majority of 8 Diagrams. The samples here too seem distant from previous releases, choosing to utilize more guitar oriented fare as opposed to bubbly, funky keyboards. […]

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