Sunday, March 20, 2011

Raekwon – Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang (2011) – Review

Raekwon – Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang
Raekwon’s fifth album has a good mix of Wu-Tang Clan members (Ghostface Killah, GZA, Method Man, Inspectah Deck) respected hip hop artists (Busta Rhymes, Black Thought, NaS) and more mainstream artists (Rick Ross, Lloyd Banks, Jim Jones). On the music side, the beats are mostly classic hip hop in style, but there is a more mainstream sound that creeps into a few tracks. The album’s single Rock ’N Roll, however, is completely mainstream in its musical composition, produced by DJ Khalil (who is making some of the best stuff in hip hop right now) and features an auto-tuned Kobe singing the hook (as well as verses from Jim Jones and Ghostface Killah). The album seems to have more of a mainstream appeal than Raekwon’s last effort, which some of his fans will not like but it will help him get his voice out there to the huge newer hip hop generation that is listening to Kanye West, Wale, Drake, J.Cole, Kid Cudi, and similar artists. This album does a nice job of blending styles and acting a bit like a bridge from the underground more old-school sound to the popular soul beats and pop beats of today. At its best, this album is very good (particularly thinking of the track Rich & Black featuring NaS). Fans of Raekwon should not be disappointed and new listeners certainly need to check this album out, as Raekwon’s flow and lyrical art is not to be denied. 3/5

Editor’s Song Picks:
1)      Rich & Black – Featuring NaS, produced by Sean C & LV
2)      Ferry Boat Killaz – Produced by The Alchemist
3)      Masters of Our Fate – Featuring Black Thought, produced by Tommy Nova
Available on CD and Digital Download

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