Earlier this month, influential hip-hop legends Wu-Tang Clan released 8 Diagrams, its first full-length in seven years. The group has demonstrated a rare and remarkable staying power in a fickle pop-music landscape, despite a paucity of releases and live dates over the last several years. It's largely because Wu-Tang still fills a void for quality and creativity. Leaks, bootlegs, and downloads will likely prevent this, the fifth studio album, from reaching the multiplatinum heights of the first two records, which came out in the go-go 1990s, when disposable incomes were at their highest. There are no instant anthems on 8 Diagrams on the order of sinister yet infectious Wu classics like "C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)." Yet the album finds producer and MC RZA and compatriots GZA, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Inspektah Deck, Raekwon, U-God, Masta Killa, and Cappadonnaand even the late, great Ol' Dirty Bastard, who passed three years agodisplaying top-notch lyrical dexterity and delivery. This dynamic will truly come alive when the members of the mighty Wu feed off each other on stage, offering up these new and past favorite songs.
Thu., Dec. 27, 8 p.m., 2007