It was a bad sign when Wu-Tang's own members started griping about their new album. Raekwon's contempt for 8 Diagrams has been a public affair since October, and Ghostface Killah told the Village Voice last week that producer RZA is 'fumbling the ball.' And this disc's no touchdown.
The album's dominant sound is dreary even by Wu standards: grey, bass-heavy beats for the eight living members' equally drab rhymes. RZA's awesomely fallacious boast 'Lord of the Wu-Tang sword, know what that means? Like J.R.R. Tolkien, it's the Lord Of The Rings,' can't revive Rushing Elephants. His solo track Sunlight plays like a long, pseudo-philosophical babble for help. The Beatles-sampling The Heart Gently Weeps (brightened by appearances from Erykah Badu and a falsetto Ghostface) is one of the better songs. With its weird George Clinton hook, Wolves is another.