Wu-Tang Clan released 8 Diagrams, their eagerly awaited reunion album on December 11th, on Steve Rifkindâ€™s revived Loud Records label through Universal Records in conjunction with SRC & Wu Music Group, marking a reunion between the legendary hip-hop group and the pioneering rap entrepreneur. The first single, â€œThe Heart Gently Weepsâ€ is an interpolation of George Harrisonâ€™s classic Beatles song, â€œWhile My Guitar Gently Weeps,â€ Harrisonâ€™s son Dhani Harrison, Erykah Badu and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante guest on the track.
Loud founder Rifkind launched the hiphop iconsâ€™ groundbreaking first album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), nearly 15 years ago on his label. The group proceeded to create one of the most distinctive catalogs in rap history, its nine members going on to success not only in music, but also acting, scoring films, video games and clothing lines.
â€œThis is the perfect time for us to get back together, the stars are aligned,â€ says the bandâ€™s founder, the RZA, who started the group with GZA and the late Olâ€™ Dirty Bastard, adding six other members from Brooklyn and Staten Island; Method Man, Raekwon the Chef, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa and U-God.
â€œWhat a thrill to be able to work with Wu-Tang again,â€ enthused Rifkind, who broke such acts as David Banner and more recently, Akon, into multi-platinum sellers on his SRC label. Rifkind and RZA were the first to employ corporate and label synergy by bringing in major corporations to sponsor individual artists within the Hip hop community.
From the start, Wu-Tang Clan represented a hip-hop collective, its individual members all pursuing solo careers, then coming back to their base. The groupâ€™s 1997 breakthrough, the two-CD Wu-Tang Forever, set a record for hip-hop acts by selling 600k in its first week, debuting at #1 on its way to 4 million in U.S. sales. In 2000, the group released The W, and most recently, Iron Flag in 2001. With Wu-Tangâ€™s combined album sales reaching 25 million, they will once again prove that â€œWu-Tang Clan ainâ€™t nothinâ€™ to f**k with.
“I think the time is perfect right now,” says Gary “Genius/GZA” Grice. “Hip hop is missin’ somethin’ important – it’s missin’ a main element. And Wu-Tang is the one to bring that element.”
8 Diagrams, will be the first group recording since the death of Olâ€š Dirty Bastard in Nov. 2004, and RZA promises the new album will include a performance by ODB, â€œin his rawest form,â€ from the vault, â€œwhich will show you why he was considered one of the illest MCs ever.â€ There is also a tribute song to ODB, â€œLife Changesâ€, that has been on ice for a while. â€œHopefully, it will provide some closure for the fansâ€, says RZA.