Wu Tang Clan - 8 Diagrams
The prevalence of solo efforts from the numerous members of the Wu-Tang Clan makes their joint efforts less of an event than they should be. The band’s last two outings have been worryingly inconsistent affairs and this, the Staten Islanders’ fifth album, lacks cohesion but their skill is as undeniable as ever.
The Beatles’ sampling of ‘The Heart Gently Weeps’ may have been the talked about track (it’s the first ever to sample the Fab Four) but it is among the less affecting, effective tracks here. RZA’s production remains at odds with commercial hip hop; he may have inspired Kanye West but he remains a remote outpost and his tracks are melancholic, soulful, even antagonistic. His broken beats make the perfect framework to house the still verdant verbal trips from Method Man, Ghostface, GZA, et al. Surreal, indulgent, spiritual, cosmic; the sprawling energy of 8Diagrams suggests we, (and the rap world) still need them around.