Saturday, November 17, 2007

PROGRESS 2 AND THE LEX DIAMOND STORY

I forgot to add ink to my jar last night. Had to add it today. Now it's a liitle too thin for my tastes. I'm still working. But I'm tsking my time, hopin' for a little thickens.



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I've got my Wu-Tang Poker Mix goin'. All the Wu-Tang in my library. All day. So, what happened to Raekwon? Man, if anyone said that Only Built 4 Cuban Linx was the best Wu-Tang album, you could argue the point but you'd have to respect the choice. It's certainly in the top tier (along with Enter the 36 Chambers, Return to the 36 Chambers, Supreme Clientelle, Liquid Swords, Tical and Nigga Please). But Immobilarity?? The Lex Diamond Story??? When did he go from being The Chef to being The Fry Cook? Dude needs a Fishscale or Grandmasters.

The Lex Diamond Story:

Pit Bull Fights is just nearly a true burner. Nearly. King of Kings has a solid beat, a weak-ass lead-in rap by Havoc and an embarrassing chorus, "All around hungry that's us." It'd be great if Raekwon sounded hungry, but he just sounds like his sugar's low. Missing Watch sounds more like a Fishscale warmup. No, a More Fish warmup. The second strongest track is be All Over Again. Of course, it's a 'weren't we great one time' rap. Clearly, this should've been the first song on the album, even with it's Kanye-bitin' sample. The sample works, but it's a huge disconnect from the lyrics. Somehow writing a tribute to the RZA's vision with a remarkably un-RZA sound seems pretty far off. But that particular weirdness is fine. On Clientelle Kidd is the best thing on the album. It's got a hot beat and great work from Raekwon, Fat Joe and Ghostface. Smith Bros. is fantastic, but it starts with a nerdy guy asking if Raekwon will ever again match the greatness of Cuban Linx. We're at about the halfway point on the album and it's clear that it won't be happening here. I'm not sure if it's to his credit or not, but Raekwon just dismisses that as his goal. Robbery is fine if you're looking for a just-below-par G-Unit track. Pa-Blow Escablow would be a perfect filler song on a greater album. It shouldn't be a highlight. Inspectah Deck seems to be the only one who listened to the Muskateers of Pig Alley beat. It clearly needs his more melodic flow. Raekwon just sounds flat and confused. Masta Killa sounds like this was the beat he first tried to rap on. Ice Cream 2 is ok, but it's a sequel to a classic now with a leftover beat from Jay-Z. Hood is better, but it's one of those 'done with it' songs. Take the posse out of Planet of the Apes and Wyld in Da Club, and you got some decent Chef raps. Once Upon a Time is real nice, even if it's another track Raekwon seems to be guesting on. I'm not even addressing the pointless skits.

So, there's almost an EP there that would have people salivating a full-length. Instead, it's a full-length that sounds more like something Raekwon's friends had to drag him away from the side of the pool to make. And who were those friends? Look at these production credits: Mizza, Crummie Beats, Mercury, AndyC, Smith Bros., Emile, Zephlon... it goes on like that. The name most noticeable in it's abscence is the RZA's. Not that you NEED the RZA for a classic. But Pete Rock? The Neptunes? Mathematics? Inspectah Deck? Just to name a few people that would've been available in 2003. Yes. 2003.

There were two years between 36 Chambers and Cuban Linx. And four years between each subsequent solo Raekwon album until now.

Now it's going to be 5 years. At one point, we were going to get Cuban Linx II this past summer. That didn't happen. Is there hope for the album? FUCK YES. Co-production by RZA and Dr. Dre??? Additional production by J Dilla and Mathematics? Guest appearances, not by Ice Water, but by GZA, Ghostface, Inspectah Deck, Busta Rhymes and John Frusciante? Old heads? Sure. But the RIGHT old heads.

Can you read
this Raekwon interview at Hip Hop DX
and NOT get excited about the freakin' album? And check out the Wiki! The album is 200% done! 200%!!! At first, I was nervous about the title. Stillmatic was very good, but it was not Illmatic. Tical 2000 was definitely not Tical. When Ghost came back big, he called it Fishscale, not Supremer Clientelle. But then I remembered two things. First of all, the last time Raekwon came up with an original title, he called the album Immobilarity. Secondly, Cuban Linx is heavilly indebted to the mythology of The Godfather. And everyone knows that The Godfather II was just as good as the original.

So, despite a decade of disapointment, I say, bring me your Cuban Linx II!!! DO IT!

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