RAEKWON_STRIPEY_JACKETOk so the Chef is back with his latest album Shaolin V Wu Tang minus the charismatic and influential production skills of one Rza. Is it beef or is it just the natural progression of life who knows but Rae’s back doing what he does: dropping bars from great heights because he intends to injure somebody? Anway, let’s get to the burning question and cut the bull.

Is the album any good?
I was lucky enough to get a private listening period of the album. I arrived one track in and as I sat with the other journalist, we clearly wanted something that would blow us a way. For the first four tracks I would say that did not happen but then Shaolin v Wu Tang went to another level and the foot tapping from all started earnestly.

He has not shirked collabos on the album, indeed names like Lloyd Banks on (Last Trip To Scotland), the effervescent Ghost Face Killa (who features on no less than three tracks) and the distinctive Method Man add an interesting dimension to the album. But Rae has been savvy and tried to capture another market. Added collabos with people such as Estelle with Inspectah Deck on Chop Chop Ninja and (adding a huge dose of surprise), Raheem DeVaughn one of the kings of that ultra cool (take your woman to bed soul) appears on (I will kidnap your woman) Raekwon’s album. It seems strange but guess what, in the main I think it works and it shows some creative slightly risky innovation on his part?

With production swinging between Raekwon, some the well knowns such as: DJ Khalil and the Alchemist to the not so well known, Raekwon has managed to take fairly different ingredients and make something tasty and satisfying.

It is not the best album by any stretch of the imagination but there are definite things that people will like. For some the added Wu Tang feel with all the samples from terrible but infinitely watchable king fu movies (a quintessential ingredient for any Wu Tang track) will add that ju ne sais quoi. For others you might consider this a weak imitation of an era that can never be imitated

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