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Thread: 2nd Track by Track review

  1. #1

    Default 2nd Track by Track review

    First Listen: Wu-Tang's '8 Diagrams'

    November 19, 2007
    The Staten Island collective make their disjointed return with more kung fu dedications and viciously funny rhymes.

    Much controversy has circulated on Wu-Tang's forthcoming album 8 Diagrams, the group's first set since 2001's Iron Flag; from losing their indefatigable spirit ODB, a.k.a. Ol' Dirty Bastard, in 2004 to the recent licensing deal for the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" to rescheduling the record's original release date to accommodate Ghostface Killah's forthcoming LP, 8 Diagrams has been somewhat of a feat. De facto frontman RZA has also earned the wrath of both Raekwon and Ghostface for his alleged micromanaging and recent guitar-playing trysts.
    Produced by RZA, the 14-track 8 Diagrams -- out Dec. 11 via SRC/Universal -- harbors the usual martial arts-inspired themes like on "Weak Spot" and "Rushing Elephants." Still procuring mostly antique beats and drab sounds, Diagrams is as much a revival as it is a throwback. Check out our notes from last Friday's listening session. RODNEY DUGUE
    1. "Campfire" -- Sampling Curtis Mayfield's "Gypsy Woman," 8 Diagrams begins with an old kung-fu master preaching about kindness and justice, evidence of their long standing fixation with martial arts. Method Man's voice emerges rapping: "cruising on the interstate follow me while I innovate." He later adds: "I don't eat berries" except Halle [Berry]. Impossibly accurate it would seem.
    2. "Take It Back" -- "Before you had a name / You were screaming Wu-Tang" is a great indication of what Wu-Tang means to Wu-Tang as a united group despite the recent divisiveness. Co-produced by Easy Mo Bee, the dusty sparse chills are pure nostalgia. The title doesn't disappoint, appropriately taking it back to antiquity.
    3. "Get Them Out Ya Way Pa" -- Ghostface provides the chorus, "If he drunk and he runs his mouth then we stomping him out" and then the refrain ("Get them out Ya Pa"). The tough guy ethos feels a bit out of place, but fits well with the grungy brassy beat.
    4. "Rushing Elephants" -- GZA talks about his "big booty cousin nasty Nadine" -- and then double-teaming her. Incest notwithstanding, it's a great track.
    5. "Unpredictable" ft. Dexter Wiggle -- Inspectah Deck and Raekwon split the lyrical duties manhandling this spooky off-key instrumental. Lines like "we keep it fresh like tuberware" only rival "bitches ride like the scream machine." Complete chaos reigns on one of the best tracks on album.
    6. "The Heart Gently Weeps" ft. Erykah Badu, Dhani Harrison, and John Frusciante -- Falsely billed as the first successful Beatles-sampling record of modern day, Ghostface makes most of the hype. Ghostface talks about taking his "bitch to Pathmark" then lamenting about getting his shoes dirty before realizing he's out of bullets. The sort of inscrutable oddball genius Ghost is famous for.
    7. "Wolves" ft. George Clinton -- George Clinton paints some weird yet effective imagery of running in the forest a la Little Red Riding Hood. With a distinct western whistle in the background, U- God cements the song with his running verse and pertinent drink choice -- "the apple martini of course is stirred." Our early favorite.
    8. "Gun Will Go" ft. Sunny Valentine -- Over these really articulate strings, Atlanta-based rapper Sunny Valentine sings an irresistibly charming hook about gun violence, remarkably. Raekwon spits an immeasurably deft verse, cautioning: "Y'all n**** be making shapes / Ours is art / Yours is trace."
    9. "Sunlight" -- Executive producer RZA makes one of two rapping cameos, performing a paean to Allah on a stormy, indiscreet track. "Allah is the most gracious / He made the earth so spacious," he raps stoically.
    10. "Stick Me for my Riches" ft. Gerald Alston -- The appropriate backlash for the rags-to-riches stories that dominates hip-hop these days. The hollow chute pistons ingratiate the track really well in spite of the tried theme.
    11. "Starter" ft. Sunny Valentine and Tash Mahogany -- A nasty sports/porn allegory persists where the female in question is the "number one draft pick." Don't forget about the "human highlight," either. A really wet misogynistic track, naturally.
    12. "Windmill" -- There's no formal chorus on here, just a disorganized lyrical exercise built on a guitar trapeze. "Nobody can't fuck with me I'm too nice / Smack a kid / On his head every time I'm right" stands the test of memory.
    13. "Weak Spot" -- Inspired by a kung-fu theme, this stuffy track, courtesy of the chafe bass line, is a chest-pounding, good time harkening back to some of the Wu's older material.
    14. "Life Changes" -- The heartfelt and emotionally sharp ODB eulogy that everyone chimes in on, accordingly. Raekwon pays his final respects, "My son gonna remember you / Rubbing a statue on his lap / That resemble you." An appropriate tribute? Yes, definitely.


    This review has been mentioned by a couple of posters but I didn't see a thread for it.
    Last edited by Dr Zayus; 11-20-2007 at 09:37 PM.
    Music labeler.

  2. #2
    Ill Blow Ya Lil Balls Off wilmington shogun's Avatar
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    i guess some verses on the songs will be changing from what we heard cause i rzas been on more tracks then 2....

  3. #3
    deluxe luxury
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    Not to be on some critical shit, but, the reviewer missed the whole point of the Ghostface line "next day you read in the paper 'man who came to kill gets knocked out'"...They think Ghost ran out of bullets...

    The reviews have been positive for the most part I think..I would like to know if these people that have heard the album in full have verified the internet leaks/radio leaks or whatever as the same shit they heard. That sound in Unpredictable comes to mind...Was that there in the version they heard?

  4. #4
    Mauling Panda's Rampage Dominus Santorini's Avatar
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    Can't take it seriously:

    *He needs to clean out his ears and listen closer to Ghostfaces verse on Heart Gently

    * How can Rza only be on 2? He's no longer on Life Changes? Unpredictable?

    * I haven't heard Rushing Elephants...Does Gza really talked about his cousin?

  5. #5
    SHAOLIN STUDENT Exodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominus Santorini View Post
    * I haven't heard Rushing Elephants...Does Gza really talked about his cousin?

    I just listened to it for the first time after reading this review

    that dude was WAY off

    1) It was RZA that talked about Nadine, not GZA
    2) He said " her " cousin, not my or anything like that, so RZA wasn't related to her

  6. #6


    Sounds positive. Im hyped because its less than 3 weeks away.

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