Raekwon The Chef, member of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan is quite possibly my favorite of the Staten Island group. His sturdy rap style, lyrical flexibility, ability to tell stories and mafioso flavor has always won me over. Truth is Ive barely gotten myself beyond his debut classic "Only Built For Cuban Lynx" but wherever Raekwon pops up on a track, if its Outkast, Mobb Deep or Schoolboy Q, you can count on him for a solid rap. Twenty five years into his career its fantastic to hear how well hes held together his craft. That and the production makes a decent record out of "The Wild" however it doesn't quite spark for the goosebumps and adrenaline I fiend for.
The song "Marvin" however is the exception, in itself an exceptional track that hits that mark, a remarkable and fitting tribute to Marvin Gaye, sampling his record, Ceelo Green singing his sorrows in the chorus and Raekwon telling the story of his life and tragic death and the hands of his father. His flow like a glue keeps me gripped on every word as he paints the heart breaking story for us. Its a wonderful tribute, a track Ill tune back into for time to come.
With that one exceptional moment out the way, the rest of the record is a rather diverse collection of instrumentals. Nostalgic samples of the 70's, the music of his youth, recycled Wu-Tang beats from 36 Chambers, dark club synth bangers like "My Corner" where he teams up with Lil Wayne and "You Hear Me". "Visiting Hour" is a dreamy bitter-sweet pop like song with bright pianos and airy synths and this varied selection of tracks is tied together with what sounds like people hanging out in the studio while a soulful voice sings some humorous lyrics as others laugh along with him. Raekwon is solid throughout with his stories, mafioso boisterous raps and fond reminiscing. Its all great but lacks a kick for the songs to transform into anything special, with exception to "Marvin".
Favorite Tracks: Marvin, Can't See You, Visiting Hour