Album Review — Raekwon: The Wild

Written by: Danish Z

Raekwon of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan has a new album out. It’s his 7th in 22 years. His debut, Only Built For Cuban Linx aka “The Purple Tape”, is universally recognized as a hiphop classic. I saw him perform the album a couple of years ago in Toronto, and it was incredible. Raekwon was born to rap. None of his other albums are on that same level, but he’s never released a straight dud either. Let’s get into his latest one:

The Wild Intro — Raekwon speaks a few words declaring he’s “in rap mode again”, sets the tone and theme with some wilderness metaphors, and dedicates the album to Mel Carter, an A&R executive who passed away in November 2015. 

This Is What It Comes Too — Good start. Raekwon is still high-level on the mic, giving the lay of the land in a dangerous “concrete jungle”.

Nothing — A downshift in tempo and a cool vocal sample in the hook highlight this track. Rae drills down from describing the environment on the first track to more personal scenarios and motivations. 

Skit (Bang Head Right) — A short sung acapella skit with people chuckling and bustling in the background. 

Marvin — An excellent biographical song about Marvin Gaye. Cee-Lo Green features on the hook. Rae builds the song around Marvin’s relationship with his father, who tragically shot and killed him. We need a video for this. A quick YouTube search turned up this unofficial one.

Can’t You See — This features some great soul samples. Rae is young and wilding in the first verse, older and wiser in the second. The retro production complements the song well.

My Corner — Lil Wayne features here, and does his damn thing. The beat sounds kind of futuristic. The production so far is really varied, but the quality is there. This is one of those songs where 2 raw, high-level MC’s put on a show. 

Skit (F*ck You Up Card) — A funny little skit of a kid handing Rae his card and offering to f*ck people up for him in exchange for cash. Sounds like the kid is Raekwon with his voice pitched up. 

M&N —If you enjoy alliteration, this song is for you. The first half is flooded with words starting with “M”, and the second half with words starting with “N”. So yeah, that’s what the title means. Not the best song here, but not bad either. There’s a rapper named Pure on the track with Rae who I’ve never heard of.

Visiting Hour — Andra Day sings the hook here. Similar in concept to “Can’t You See”, Rae drops some wisdom about the fast life over a somewhat poppy (by Wu standards) piano-driven track. 

Skit (Bang Fall Down) — Another short acapella singing/chuckling skit. 

The Reign — This is a cool track to keep things moving along. Rae raps about the rap game being like the drug game over some pretty epic-sounding production. Just feels like this one didn’t quite reach its full potential. 

Crown of Thorns — A similarly epic feel to the last track, but more downtempo. It comes together better here. 

Purple Brick Road — I don’t know who is singing this hook but it sounds awful. Like nails on a chalkboard. Rae does his thing but this track is rendered unlistenable even before getting to G-Eazy’s guest verse at the end, which isn’t bad. 

You Hear Me — This is OK. A short, rapping to show how good he can flow type of track.

Bang Outro — A slightly longer singing/chuckling acapella than the other ones. I guess this represents continued existence in “The Wild”. The album is over, but The Wild remains.

Raekwon wasn’t kidding when he said he was in rap mode. He is rapping his ass off through the whole album. Most of the songs are good, and a couple of them are great. Mel Carter would be proud.

4/5

Author: FTESWL

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