Wu-Tang Clan and Ghostface Killah

8 Diagrams, and The Big Doe Rehab (Street / Universal Motown)

Phases & Stages

Wu-Tang Clan

8 Diagrams (Street/Universal Motown)

Ghostface Killah

The Big Doe Rehab (Def Jam)

To expect Iron Flag Part 2 would be wrong. 2001 marked the last time the Wu-Tang Clan swarmed as one, Flag an assault of poisonous darts shot over streetwise RZA bangers. Six years later, fifth WTC LP 8 Diagrams pops vintage Shaolin lyrical heat, "Take It Back" prepping a firing line of "Wolves" in feeding frenzy. Opener "Campfire" burns slow as Method Man and Ghostface tag-team a haunting beat, even depleted Wu MC chemistry rivaled only by Tribe's Q-Tip and Phife. Yet as that chemistry holds the album together, so does it tear it apart. The much-publicized rift of RZA and his seven other swordsmen glares on 8 Diagrams, production far more experimental and melodic than any prehiatus work. RZA of Renaissance proffers an unequaled vision, and the inability to convince his soldiers to follow suit keeps the disc from being the complete innovation Wu's abbot intended. The dubbed out "Get Them Out Ya Way Pa" lacks fervor, a disjointed bassline laid erratically as Meth, U-God, and Masta Killa struggle to fall into rhythm, while "Gun Will Go" slips into the irrelevant as a failed experiment of melodramatic strings generates sleepy verse. Only featured on four tracks, Ghostface Killah's been busy with his seventh solo LP. The Big Doe Rehab falls closer to 2006's More Fish than his previous releases, lacking the creative edge that separated him as a solo artist from his fellow Clansman. Ghost comes strong on the Raekwon and Meth accompanied "Yolanda's House" but mails it in for "White Linen Affair," name-dropping fellow celebrities who show up for the fictitious Toney Awards. One of the hardest working men in hip-hop fails to push himself on Big Doe, but better Ghost rapping than Soulja Boy. So "We Celebrate."

(Wu-Tang) ***

(Ghostface) **.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Album Review: PES’s <i>Corales Prematuros (En Vivo)</i>
Album Review: PES’s Corales Prematuros (En Vivo)
Peruvian-fronted rock band offers a daring approach of their debut EP

Cy White, July 12, 2024

Album Review: Fastball’s <i>Sonic Ranch</i>
Album Review: Fastball’s Sonic Ranch
With their latest, the trio creates what they call their best album yet

Cy White, June 28, 2024

More by Chase Hoffberger
The Reporting Life
The Reporting Life
Oh, the places you'll go

Sept. 3, 2021

Revisiting the Railroad Killer
Revisiting the Railroad Killer
Local journo Alex Hannaford’s Dead Man Talking podcast investigates the case against a man on death row

Nov. 16, 2018


Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle