Wu-Tang Clan Reunites, Preparing '8 Diagrams'

Wu-Tang Clan's

reunion with Loud Records founder Steve Rifkind is official, as the group has

announced a new album titled 8 Diagrams, which will hit stores this summer

on Rifkind's SRC label, through Universal Records. 8

Diagrams, which is named after a Kung-Fu epic, is the the first new album

from Wu-Tang Clan in six years. The

album will feature RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon the Chef, Ghostface Killah, Inspektah

Deck, Masta Killa and U-God, all original members of the Wu-Tang Clan. The

new album will also contain an unreleased performance that will show fans why

deceased group member Ol' Dirty Bastard "was considered one of the illest

MCs ever," before dying of a heart attack in Nov. 2004. “This

is the perfect time for us to come back, the stars are aligned,” RZA said.

“It’s like when we first started with Steve. We put out real hip-hop

at a time when it was turning into pop or R&B. We brought the focus back to

the music in its rawest form, without studio polish or radio hooks.”RZA

founded the group with GZA and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, who is memorialized

on the song “Life Changes." The

group has released several groundbreaking albums including Enter The Wu-Tang

(36 Chambers) (1993), Wu-Tang Forever (1997) and 2001's Iron Flag.According

to the RZA, the new album will be a "conjunction of creative and corporate

thinking by the whole group.”“People

want something that gives them an adrenaline rush,” RZA continued. “We’re

here to supply that fix. How could hip-hop be dead if Wu-Tang is forever? We’re

here to revive the spirit and the economics and bring in a wave of energy that

has lately dissipated.”The

reunion with Rifkind comes as the seasoned music industry veteran is enjoying

a banter year. Akon's

SRC/Universal sophomore release Konvicted was recently certified platinum,

after five weeks of being on the shelves. “The

energy is just like it was, and it’s needed in our industry same as back

then,” Rifkind said. “Over the last few years, the group has developed

a whole new fan base of 20-year-olds and even younger who’ve never even seen

them play.”