Wu-Tang Clan – “8 Diagrams” review

6 years after their previous album Iron Flag & 3 years after the death of original member Ol’ Dirty Bastard, the almighty Wu-Tang Clan are back with their 5th full-length album & it’s their 1st to feature Cappadonna as an official member although he only appears on 3 tracks on the entire album. As for the music on here, the Clan’s de facto leader RZA (who produced the entire album with the exception of co-producing “Take It Back” with Easy Mo Bee & Mathematics producing the Gerald Alston featured “Stick Me for My Riches”) completely ditches the signature Wu sound we’re all accustomed to & went experimental on the production tip. As a result of this, group member Ghostface Killah only appears on 4 tracks on the entire album. Aside from all of the drama within the group, there are some highlights. The track “Rushing Elephants” sounds like the Clan’s going to war from the horn sample throughout to the 4 verses laid over it. The album’s lead single “The Heart Gently Weeps” which is actually a nice rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles. Interestingly enough too, RZA even got George Harrison’s only child Dhani to play rhythm guitar on this track as well as John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on lead guitar (he would later play guitar beautifully on the track “Windmill”) & Erykah Badu on the hook. The Abbot is the only one with a solo track on “Sunshine”, where he spits about some 5%’er shit over a hypnotic beat. The album closes out with the Ol’ Dirty tribute “Life Changes” & as much as I enjoy the sincere delivery & gloomy atmospheric production, I wish Ghost had a verse on here (maybe one from Cappa too) because I think it would’ve be a lot more interesting if he or Cappa (or both) said something touching about Dirt. Aside from some of these highlights, there are more negatives on here than there were on Iron Flag. For one, Inspectah Deck’s verse on “Unpredictable” seems half-assed since he blatantly recycles the final verse of the track “Get Ya Weight Up” from his only mixtape The Resident Patient (although this isn’t the 1st time the group has similarily done this, I still find it to be lazy as fuck) which came out a little over a year before this album did did. Not just that but the hooks on here are decent. Erykah’s on “The Heart Gently Weeps” was flawless, hearing Parliament-Funkadelic leader George Clinton’s on the track “Wolves” was a really intriguing collab, Ghost & Raekwon both sound like they’re about to beat the shit outta someone when they duetly deliver the hook on “Get Them Out Ya Way Pa” but Dexter Wiggles’ on “Unpredictable” was boring & Sunny Valentine’s on “Gun Will Go” sounded kinda wimpy to me. And last but not least, I find the production on here to be beautiful but I don’t think it fit’s the group’s hardcore style that well with the exception of a few tracks. Overall, it’s not as bad some Wu fans make it out to be but I find it to actually be just SLIGHTLY above average

Score: 3/5

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