audio review : 8 Diagrams ( album ) … Wu-Tang Clan

audio review : 8 Diagrams ( album ) ... Wu-Tang Clan

Rza’s beats are still the most interesting thing about Wu-Tang Clan. Over the years, it’s transcended into an experimental mix of acid hip-hop and ghetto soul with old Kung Fu movie samples mixed in for nostalgia’s sake. This album presents it amid some of the rawest vocals the eight remaining Clansmen have to offer these days, but, despite guest crooners like Erykah Badu and George Clinton, the album is weak at the hooks; one of the main Diagrams to consider when it comes to making a good rap album.

my rating : 3 of 5


audio review : Wu-Tang Forever ( album ) … Wu-Tang Clan

audio review : Wu-Tang Forever ( album ) ... Wu-Tang Clan

This album presents Wu-Tang Clan as not just a rap group but a cultural and spiritual movement, though Islam is the religion of choice and mere men are referred to as “god”. It’s a “double CD” of what Rza describes as hip-hop “in the purest form”. That’s a boastful claim, but it’s one that’s hard to argue against when it comes to the beats; raw lo-fidelity New York City slum music.

The verses; there are no nonaffiliate guest rappers; are consistently on-point, especially in the case of Rza. He’s my favorite rapper in the group, despite his mumble-mouth speech impediment. It’s the hooks, not so much the silly Kung Fu samples or sloppy mixing and mastering, that flaw the set. Reunited is a grand opener though and Bells Of War is one of their best songs.

my rating : 3 of 5


audio review : Starter ( song ) … Street Life + Gza + Inspectah Deck + U-God ( featuring Sunny Valentine )

This is a pretty good song if you can get pass Sunny Valentine and his annoying chorus, which doesn’t sound as bad over a jazzy Rza beat with Tash Mahogany crooning softly in the background. It’s basically a love ode bursting with ghetto testosterone and sloppy metaphors. The concept has the rappers putting their girls on a sports team, which is about as romantic as Wu-Tang get.

my rating = 4 of 5


audio review : A Better Tomorrow ( album ) … Wu-Tang Clan

audio review : A Better Tomorrow ( album ) ... Wu-Tang Clan

The main problem I have with this album is the title. Wu-Tang Clan (members) made a song called A Better Tomorrow in 1997. Making a new one that seems to have nothing to do with the original and titling a new album after it, or vice versa, is conceptually outlandish. Surely they could’ve thought of a different name for this project. I guess Rza is the one to blame. He’s not only the leader but also my favorite member. As an MC, he’s generally underrated in comparison to the more critically acclaimed ones like Method Man, Ghostface and Raekwon. Not that he has many chances to rap. Wu-Tang Clan is a group of nine; Cappadonna seems to have unofficially taken the place of Ol Dirty Bastard; and Rza’s busy making beats.

That mix of raw eclectic hip-hop is more elaborate but usually less fulfilling than his earlier simpler stuff. It does, however, represent the best parts of an album with raps that are rarely better than decent and hooks you don’t want to hear more than once. Crushed Egos, Hold The Heater, Ruckus In B Minor; all fall victim to banal breaks. Miracle, the chorus of which sounds laughably out of place on a Wu album, needs a Disney disclaimer. Felt, a disaster in wordplay à la KRS-One’s Hold, is stupid. Forget the lack of chemistry between rappers; the monologues consist of old Dirty Bastard clips; the album is basically another 8 Diagrams. That means I’ll play the one or two songs I like and just hope they do better next time.

my rating : 3 of 5