8 Diagrams - Wu-Tang Clan

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. The album belongs to the hip-hop hippie. And an album it definitely is.
  2. The result is the best end-to-end Wu-Tang Clan album since their debut, 15 years ago.
  3. All in all, it’s the usual captivating chaos.
  4. Of course, in due time--maybe it'll take years--8 Diagrams will sink in as a compelling, well-regarded album.
  5. 80
    Sprawling and dense as it may be, but amid its deranged lyricism and brutal soundscapes, 8 Diagrams vindicates The RZA's devotion to the collective ethic. [Feb 2008, p.100]
  6. 80
    On record at least, Wu-Tang have made the comeback of the decade.
  7. 80
    Despite the odds, their fifth album is arrestingly, chillingly good.
  8. 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.
  9. Ghostface Killah is as wickedly esoteric as ever, Method Man sounds reinvigorated and snapped out of his recent slump, and Raekwon, who's been on record decrying 8 Diagrams, is ice-pick sharp.
  10. While perhaps not the triumphant return that many fans have hoped for, the murky and dystopic excursions of 8 Diagrams are uncompromising, visionary and unique. [Mar 2008, p.62]
  11. These songs have deep bones, and though they don't always have an in-your-face immediacy, they're worth revisiting.
  12. 8 Diagrams is as exciting as they’ve ever been.
  13. In the end, 8 Diagrams is a very good album that is best appreciated when taken out of the shadow of the Clan's greatest endeavors.
  14. 8 Diagrams is intricate, inoffensive, interesting.
  15. Yeah, that’s 8 Diagrams--a knockabout set rather than a knife to the jugular.
  16. It's a broken diorama, exceedingly imperfect, and as moving for what it isn't as for what it is.
  17. 8 Diagrams is better than most would have expected: a terrific mix of classic Clan grime and enough new tricks to justify Inspectah Deck's claim that "Wu-Tang keep it fresh like Tupperware."
  18. 8 Diagrams is a paradox of track selection and pacing.
  19. When looked at from afar, 8 Diagrams is far more of a success than it is a failure, and years from now, when it is fully removed from the drama and hype, it just may sound even better.
  20. The Wu-Tang Clan are undoubtedly in decline, but given the musical peaks they have scaled in the past, there remains plenty of sublime scenery to observe on the way down.
  21. 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.
  22. Despite considerable strengths, the uneven but sometimes exhilarating 8 Diagrams nevertheless suggests that it might have made sense for one of rap's all-time greatest groups to bow out gracefully following the death of ODB.
  23. The lyrical flash and chop-socky samples signify business as usual, but at heart 8 Diagrams is a bold move into deeper, mellower terrritory, and certainly a vast improvement on 2001's "Iron Flag." [Feb 2008, p.93]
  24. 60
    It's a relatively solid record, but without any of the spectacularly gritty flashes the Wu are known for.
  25. You're left with an album that's as chaotic and uneven as the circumstances surrounding its release, It's alternately great, unsatisfying and marked by the sense that not everyone in the Wu Tang Clan is pulling in the same direction.
  26. I guess once you define hip-hop you can't really go anywhere but down, but unlike of any of the other Wu-Tang Clan albums 8 Diagrams is able to stretch itself out of the shadow of "Enter the Wu-Tang" which in itself makes this an impressive record.
  27. Minus ODB, the collective's most charismatic member, and rife with in-group strife, 8 Diagrams is a long way from the hip hop revolution, "Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)." It still ain't nothin’ to fuck with.
  28. Considering all that [has happened], it’s easy to be grateful for a quirky, uneven album like 8 Diagrams.
  29. If as much heart and group energy went into the rest of the tracks, Diagrams might have been the electrifying re-entrance of the Wu-Tang Clan that fans were hoping for instead of just the minor miracle it is.
  30. The formula ain't broken and it occasionally still cracks with some of that old pharmaceutical majesty.
  31. The sounds are largely tepid arrangements that fail to generate much excitement.
  32. Raekwon, Meth & Co. have lost their lyrical ferocity. Judging by this disappointing return, Wu-Tang may not be forever after all.
  33. The album's dominant sound is dreary even by Wu standards: grey, bass-heavy beats for the eight living members' equally drab rhymes.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Mar 13, 2012
    For my incredibly high expectations it was a disappointment. Was an overall good album with a few standout songs such as "Campfire" "Wolves (with George Clinton)" and a tasteful rap remix of the Beatles classic "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" however i found myself expecting more when i finished the album. Definitely could have been better, but still takes down a vast majority of hip-hop albums released in that year. Full Review »