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8 Diagrams
Studio album by Wu-Tang Clan
Released December 11, 2007 (U.S.)
Recorded 2007
Genre Hip hop
Length 71:05
Label SRC/Universal Motown Records
175 342
Producer RZA (exec.)
Easy Mo Bee
George Drakoulias
Mathematics
Professional reviews
Wu-Tang Clan chronology
Iron Flag
(2001)
8 Diagrams
(2007)
Wu-Tang Clan solo chronology
Ghostface Killah:
The Big Doe Rehab
(2007)
8 Diagrams
(2007)
RZA:
Digi Snacks
(2008)

8 Diagrams is the fifth studio album by New York hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan, released through Street Records Corporation on December 11, 2007.

Contents

Background

The album's title is derived from the Kung Fu film Eight-Diagram Pole Fighter.[2] The Clan, which had not released an album since 2001's Iron Flag, signed a one-album deal with Steve Rifkind's SRC Records in December 2006. The group's four previous albums were all released on Rifkind's now-defunct Loud Records.

On Sunday, August 5, 2007, at the Virgin Festival in Baltimore, RZA announced that the new release date for the album would be November 13, 2007, noting that this is the third anniversary of the death of Ol' Dirty Bastard. However, the date was pushed back to December 11, 2007.[3]

In a released statement, group leader RZA commented on the need for the Clan's return:

This is the perfect time for us to come back; the stars are aligned. It's like when we first started with Steve. We put out real hip-hop at a time when it was turning into pop or R&B. We brought the focus back to the music in its rawest form, without studio polish or radio hooks.... People want something that gives them an adrenaline rush. We're here to supply that fix. How could hip-hop be dead if Wu-Tang is forever? We're here to revive the spirit and the economics and bring in a wave of energy that has lately dissipated.[4]
RZA

At the public premiere of Wu: The Story of the Wu-Tang in New York, Cappadonna revealed that the Clan had recorded between 40 and 50 songs for the record, of which around fourteen would make up the album. Prior to the album's release, Loud.com issued a free 8 Diagrams mixtape containing exclusive and unreleased tracks, including "Thug World," "Life Changes," "Stick Me for My Riches," and "Weak Spot".[5]

Music

Collaborations

8 Diagrams featured all nine current members, with previously recorded material from Ol' Dirty Bastard, as well as a tribute track titled "Life Changes." Auxiliary members Cappadonna and Streetlife also appear.

In an article from Nme.com, it was stated that the album would feature production from Easy Mo Bee, Marley Marl, Q-Tip, DJ Scratch and Nile Rodgers.[6] George Clinton, of P-Funk; Dhani Harrison; John Frusciante; and Shavo Odadjian, bassist of System of a Down are also on the album as well.[7]

This is the Wu's first collaboration since the passing of original member Ol' Dirty Bastard, who died in 2004. "We still miss him every day," GZA added. "It's like you lost an arm or a leg; you feel incomplete. You can still walk or do other things, but you're limited to a certain degree." With the RZA adding, "He was a very special person, like a very rare diamond. You know, it's like you wake up one day and they're saying, 'There are no diamonds in the world anymore, just cubic zirconia...'"

The back of the pre-album mixtape stated that the album would feature "the entire Wu-Tang Clan (including Cappadonna and Streetlife)."

Artistic disagreements

Unlike the previous albums, which used the "darker, sinister, and street-oriented, signature Wu sound", RZA utilized a more experimental, orchestral, and more universal choice of music production for the album.

Ghostface Killah and Raekwon have stated in interviews that they weren't comfortable with the album's release as it didn't contain the signature "Wu-Tang sound".[8][9][10] Raekwon has also stated in an interview with Miss Info that he and the rest of the Clan will follow up with another album entitled "Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang" without input from RZA.[11]

Singles

In a BBC 1Xtra interview, Method Man stated that the first single would be called "Watch Your Mouth" and that it is produced by DJ Scratch. However, sample clearance issues were rumored and "Watch Your Mouth" was not included in the final release of the album.

Instead, the first official single was "The Heart Gently Weeps", an adaptation of The Beatles song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". George Harrison's son Dhani Harrison and John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers were involved in making the song. Originally thought to be a sampled track, it was later revealed as an interpolated version, sampling Jimmy Ponder's cover of the song. The song features Raekwon, Ghostface, and Method Man rapping and guest singing provided by Erykah Badu. The RZA also confirmed that Stone Mecca, one of the newer Wu-Tang-affiliated groups, contributed backing music to the track.[12]

Reception

The first official review of the complete album was posted on Hip-Hop Connection magazine's website on November 19th.[13] "Watch Your Mouth" was praised by Evan Serpick of Rolling Stone magazine, calling the song a relief from the "simplified ringtone rap" that he claimed was dominant of the hip-hop industry while Wu-Tang Clan was inactive from 2001 to 2007. Serpick also highlighted the lyrical parts of U-God and RZA.[14] Serpick gave the song 4 out of 5 stars. Rolling Stone also praised "The Heart Gently Weeps".[15] Allhiphop.com gave the album a 7/10, claiming that while the album is "arguably RZA's most diverse group of beats," the "lack of cohesiveness found throughout the album bolster and prove some of the members' claims of friction." Similarly, About.com's Ivan Rott noted that 8 Diagrams proved to be "like no other Wu-Tang album to date."[16]

Marisa Brown of Allmusic.com stated, "8 Diagrams is certainly not perfect. There is far too much singing, particularly in the second half of the album, where things slow down considerably, which helps substantiate the criticism that's surrounded it: that it's too pretty, too soft. This is indeed a record that will be debated for a while and one of the few about which pretty much everyone will be right, whether they love it or hate it. It is a departure from previous releases and it does focus on melody and guitars and strings, but it is also lush and well-crafted and smart and addictive."[17]

Track listing

# Title Producer Performer(s) Samples / Notes Time
1 "Campfire" RZA
  • "Gypsy Woman" by Curtis Mayfield (performed by The Persuasions)
  • Dialogue from the film Shaolin & Wu-Tang & Writing Kung Fu
3:59
2 "Take It Back" Easy Mo Bee, RZA 3:26
3 "Get Them Out Ya Way Pa" RZA
  • Verse 1: Method Man
  • Verse 2: U-God
  • Verse 3: Masta Killa
  • Chorus: Ghostface Killah & Raekwon
4:18
4 "Rushing Elephants" RZA
  • Verse 1: Raekwon
  • Verse 2: GZA
  • Verse 3: RZA
  • Verse 4: Masta Killa
3:00
5 "Unpredictable" RZA
  • Verse 1: Inspectah Deck
  • Verse 2: RZA
  • Chorus: RZA & Dexter Wiggle
  • Bass: Shavo
  • "Wailing Wail" by Nicholas Flagello
4:11
6 "The Heart Gently Weeps" RZA, George Drakoulias
  • Verse 1: Raekwon
  • Verse 2: Ghostface Killah
  • Verse 3: Method Man
  • Chorus: Erykah Badu
5:37
7 "Wolves" RZA
  • Verse 1: U-God
  • Verse 2: Method Man
  • Verse 3: Masta Killa
  • Chorus: George Clinton
4:14
8 "Gun Will Go" RZA
  • Verse 1: Raekwon
  • Verse 2: Method Man
  • Verse 3: Masta Killa
  • Chorus: Sunny Valentine
4:16
9 "Sunlight" RZA
  • Performed by RZA
3:22
10 "Stick Me for My Riches" Mathematics, RZA
  • Verse 1: Method Man
  • Verse 2: Inspectah Deck
  • Verse 3: RZA
  • Verse 4: GZA
  • Chorus: Gerald Alston
6:08
11 "Starter" RZA
  • Verse 1: Streetlife
  • Verse 2: GZA
  • Verse 3: Inspectah Deck
  • Verse 4: U-God
  • Chorus: Sunny Valentine & Tash Mahogany
4:13
12 "Windmill" RZA
  • Verse 1: Raekwon
  • Verse 2: GZA
  • Verse 3: Masta Killa
  • Verse 4: Inspectah Deck
  • Verse 5: Method Man
  • Verse 6: Cappadonna
4:32
13 "Weak Spot" RZA, George Drakoulias
  • Verse 1: RZA
  • Verse 2: Raekwon
  • Verse 3: GZA
3:58
14 "Life Changes" RZA
  • Verse 1: Method Man
  • Verse 2: Raekwon
  • Verse 3: GZA
  • Verse 4: Masta Killa
  • Verse 5: Inspectah Deck
  • Verse 6: U-God
  • Verse 7: RZA
  • "The Road We Didn't Take" by Freda Payne
  • "Easiest Way to Fall" by Freda Payne
7:21
15* "Tar Pit" RZA
  • Verse 1: U-God
  • Verse 2: Cappadonna
  • Verse 3: Streetlife
  • Chorus: George Clinton
4:56
16* "16th Chamber" RZA 2:45
  • (*) symbolizes bonus material

References

  1. ^ http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=wu-tang+clan
  2. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan close to releasing new album “Eight Diagrams”", hiphopnews.com.
  3. ^ Montgomery, James; Aswad, Jem; Roberts, Steven (2007-10-03). "Wu-Tang Clan's First-Ever Cleared Beatles Sample Claim Is Incorrect". MTV News. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1571114/20071003/wu_tang_clan.jhtml. Retrieved 2007-10-14.  
  4. ^ Strong, Nolan. Wu-Tang Clan Reunites, Preparing '8 Diagrams'. AllHipHop.com. (2007-January 24). Retrieved on February 10, 2007.
  5. ^ » Loud.com
  6. ^ Wu Tang Clan reveal new album plans.www.nme.com.
  7. ^ Cohen, Jonathan. Wu-Tang Clan 'Unique' As Ever on 'The 8 Diagrams'. "Billboard.com" (2007-July 10). Retrieved on July 10, 2007.
  8. ^ http://www.xxlmag.com/online/?p=16812 Ghost Disses The Wu Album
  9. ^ http://www.xxlmag.com/online/?p=16052 Raekwon Opens up About Wu-Tang’s Internal Conflicts
  10. ^ http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1575174/20071127/wu_tang_clan.jhtml?rsspartner=rssFeedBurner RZA Insists Infighting 'Evaporates' When Crew Is Together
  11. ^ MissInfo.tv BLOG » Miss Info Exclusive: Raekwon reveals the turmoil within the Wu-Tang Clan
  12. ^ YouTube - RZA talks to Kotori on the Beatles' "My Guitar Gently Weeps"
  13. ^ THE HHC NEWS BLOG » Blog Archive » Wu-Tang ‘8 Diagram’ Review
  14. ^ Serpick, Evan (October 4, 2007), "Downloads - "Watch Your Mouth"", Rolling Stone (1036): p. 82  
  15. ^ Hoard, Christian (November 1, 2007), "Downloads - "The Heart Gently Weeps"", Rolling Stone (1038): p. 88  
  16. ^ Rott, Ivan. "Wu-Tang Clan - 8 Diagrams". About.com. Retrieved December 6, 2007.
  17. ^ http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kvfwxzuhld0e~T1







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