Wu Tang Clan – 8 Diagrams
SRC / Loud
First of all – Holy Crap… do NOT buy the “clean” version of ANY Wu-Tang album. It’s just not worth it. Half of the damn CD uses reverses, scratches, and weird samples to try and cover up all the vulgarity. But why would you dare try to even censor something like Wu Tang, when their unofficial motto is “Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to F**k with…” So, moving on, I will proceed to try and make some sense of the CD that is currently annoying my neighbors.
In true hip-hop form, the dead come to life on 8 Diagrams, as Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s final performance is forever digitized on a cd released three years after his untimely demise. This CD brings all of your favorites back for yet another chapter in the ever-evolving, multi-million selling franchise for fourteen tracks of sex, drugs, and oddly enough: rock n’ roll. With guest stars from all corners of the music industry, including funk legend George Clinton and rock n’ roller John Frusciante, Wu-Tang successfully produce an intelligent and hard hitting disc that stays true to the group’s roots, and doesn’t give in to the trends of the times. Rather than having Pharrel produce their album, or have Kanye spit some guest rhymes, the group only utilizes their guest stars for their diversity, not for their namesake. Wu Tang doesn’t need guest stars that can rap; there are eight of them that are already stars in their own right. The RZA, the GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck, and ODB each have created a name for themselves (well I’ve never heard of Masta Killa but what do I know); successful clothing lines, acting careers, and solo albums (GZA and the Genius made a brilliant album in my humble opinion) have maintained the Wu Tang brand strong, and a household name.
Although the album as a whole is well put together and will do well as a collection, there is one of the group that always stands out on every release, Method Man. There are a few artists that are timeless and, in their own right, the hip-hop equivalents of Bruce Springsteen or Frank Sinatra: Del the Funky Homosapien, Q-tip, and Method Man. Obviously I’m writing this review for the side of tracks that normally wouldn’t touch this disc in a record store, in fear of being seen and ridiculed by the Silverlake posse; but we all have our secret band crushes, and enjoy certain genres behind closed doors. You can’t deny that certain artists are talented. Okay, most new rap artists can’t find a beat on a map and sound like they’re just talking over an over-produced Daft Punk song; but place the 8 Diagrams disc in your cd player, put on “Wolves” and listen to the interaction of funk legend George Clinton, and lyrical genius Method Man, and tell me that he isn’t hip-hop royalty. Even white boys got to shout “Method got rhythm.”
Eight talented men collaborating on one disc, full of well thought-out rhymes and intelligent content (for once), makes 8 Diagrams a disc that fans of many genres can find something in. For old school hip-hop heads, it’s the same Wu-Tang that you have been bouncing to for fifteen years; for rockers, John Frusciante and Dhani Harrison (son of George Harrison)’s performances are reason enough; and for the rest of you…it’s f***ing Wu-Tang!