Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chef Raekwon

At one point, Raekwon was my favorite member in the Wu-Tang Clan.  Although that spot is held by Ghostface Killah (and I'll be doing a piece on him also), it's definitely NOT a knock on Rae, as he's the best storyteller in the Clan after Ghost. Raekwon is definitely one of those artists who has gotten better over the years, and while he's always had his own distinct sound, more often than not his style can be classified as a respective cross between Nas (descriptive) and Kool G Rap (cinematic vision on record).

The Top

This is one the greatest original & sequel combinations in hip hop history. For years we were promised the sequel to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. It was THAT close to reaching "Detox" levels of anticipation, but thankfully Raekwon delievered this in 2009. It's not better than the original, but overall it's excellent and was my pick for best album of 2009. OB4CL2 also started the trend of artists wanting to do sequels (some were successful, others won't). I also hope he drops Part 3 at some point in the future, and I feel he can pull it off if Part 2 was any indication.

Wayne's Words on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 1 & 2
This is one of many albums that I've owned since its initial release, and it's SO timeless. This is such a cinematic masterpiece on all levels. Rae and Ghost, along with the rest of the Wu members (except ODB-RIP), essentially delivered in spades on the mic, and The RZA made what is possibly the best produced album ever. It's a classic in every sense of the word, and it was difficult trying to pick 5 favorite songs on this one!

5 stars for OB4CL, 4.5 stars for OB4CL2

5 favorite songs on both albums
Knowledge God, Rainy Dayz, Guillotine (Swordz), Verbal Intercourse, & Glaciers Of Ice
House of Flying Daggers, Catalina, Broken Safety, Sonny's Missing, & Ason Jones

Wayne's Words
Rae's "hot streak" continued with this 2011 release (which I purchased when it first came out). When I first played it, I thought it was very good, but then didn't play it again for a while, however, on multiple listens after that, it grew on me more and more. This was one of the best albums of 2011 (hugely slept on, unfortunately). It's not better than OB4CL2, but it's just as good.

4.5 stars

5 favorite songs
Rich & Black, Silver Rings, Every Soldier in the Hood, Masters of our Fate, & Ferry Boat Killaz     

The "Middle"

Wayne's Words 
Well, to say anticipation for Rae's sophomore album was high is a complete understatement. After dropping a CLASSIC in the form of "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx", many fans, including myself, was all but wondering how he was able to even come close to the success of that album, especially on a critical and artistic level. Needless to say, this album received mostly mixed-negative feedback for a variety of reasons (no production from RZA, no Ghostface features, lackluster production), although lyrically he was still on point. Commercially it did well by still hitting Gold status. This album does have a small nostalgia factor with me and I like it a little more than most people I know. He was definitely capable of more and better, but what can you expect when following something monumental like OB4CL.

3.5 stars (I changed the rating from 4 stars, to 3, then I just settled for 3.5 overall.)

5 favorite songs
Yae Yo, Live From New York, Sneakers, Casablanca, & Real Life

The "bottom"

Wayne's Words
Well, talk about an album that slipped under the radar of most fans when it came out in 2003. I'll admit, I didn't immediately check it out either, until much later. It's not a wack album per se, just above average because again, Rae was capable of so much more.

3 stars (which is probably generous)

5 favorite songs
Pitbull Fights, Missing Watch, King of Kings, Planet of the Apes, & Clientele Kidd

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