1 August 2013

1st August - Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx

Artist – Album: Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
Released:  1st August 1995
Sounds Like: "I love all kinds of music. I like Wu Tang Clan..."

A thorough history of the ins and outs of the Wu Tang Clan is far beyond the grasp of mere mortals such as myself. An old school friend, soon-to-be flatmate and occasional blogger pal of mine text me about a month ago declaring that he was trying to piece together a bit on them, and the poor fool has been reduced to a jabbering wreck, with still no sign of the blog. If I ran at that rate, Albumaday... would take me thirty years (although I concede that his blog is considerably better than mine, check it out: http://watersstewartewan.blogspot.co.uk/). As he put it, before his mind became too discombobulated – “their history and productivity is insane. They’ve got to be one of the vastest outfits ever. Offshoots, alter-egos and general chaos everywhere. It’s absolutely mental!” So I thank my lucky stars that I’m only dealing with one of the solo albums rather than anything by the collective as a whole, and I’ll do my best not to let the labyrinthine back-story drive me crazy.

To be fair, Raekwon’s debut album only just qualifies as a solo effort, as the irrepressible Ghostface Killah appears on almost every track and every Clan member, as well as affiliated acts Cappadonna and Blue Raspberry, makes at least a fleeting appearance across the 18 tracks. The fluidity of the lineup helps to keep the record fresh, whilst lynchpin Raekwon keeps the material sufficiently focussed, ably backed by Ghostface Killah (who, to my amateur enthusiast’s ears at least, threatens to steal the show throughout).

There’s a plethora of standout hip hop tracks here, from the beginnings of the Mafia style rapper on ‘Incarcerated Scarfaces’ and the seminal ‘Wu-Gambinos’, to the typical hoes and cristal of ‘Ice Cream’ (from Raekwon’s verse: “Shaolin's finest, whattup Boo, peace your highness, Yo I'm loungin, big dick style, y'all niggaz is the flyest”). ‘Glaciers of Ice’ and ‘Ice Water’ complete the triumvirate of exceptional tracks featuring the word “ice”.

I wouldn’t say this record is for everyone – if you don’t consider yourself a fan of hip hop, this ain’t gonna be the album to change that view. But for lovers of East Cost Rap, this is a must have. If you’re an inbetweener, such as myself, it’s resolutely a should try.

Albumaday... rating:  7/10

1.       Striving for Perfection – 1:43
2.       Knuckleheadz – 4:03
3.       Knowledge God – 4:24
4.       Criminology – 3:47
5.       Incarcerated Scarfaces – 4:42
6.       Rainy Dayz – 6:02
7.       Guillotine (Swordz) – 4:22
8.       Can It Be All So Simple (Remix)  - 5:38
9.       Shark Niggas (Biters) – 1:38
10.   Ice Water – 3:38
11.   Glaciers of Ice – 5:20
12.   Verbal Intercourse – 3:31
13.   Wisdom Body – 2:38
14.   Spot Rusherz – 3:13
15.   Ice Cream – 4:13
16.   Wu-Gambinos – 5:39
17.   Heaven & Hell – 4:56
18.   North Star (Jewels) – 3:58

Listen to ‘Ice Cream’:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz3z33Zyg3s

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