Sunday, September 03, 2006


Corey Woods on Jan 12, 1968.Raekwon may not have achieved the solo stardom of his fellow Wu-Tang Clan mates Method Man or Ol'Dirty Bastard, but along with GZA and frequent partner Ghostface Killah, he's done some of the most inventive, critically acclaimed work outside the confines of the group. Born Corey Woods and also nicknamed the Chef (because he's "cookin' up some marvelous sh*t to get your mouth watering"), Raekwon joined the Staten Island, NY-based Wu-Tang collective in the early '90s and played an important role on their groundbreaking late-1993 debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Although the group's contract allowed its individual members to sign with whatever label they chose, Raekwon stayed with Loud when the first round of Wu-related solo projects began to appear. Following his 1994 debut single, "Heaven and Hell," his own solo debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, appeared in 1995; while it didn't sell on the level of Method Man's Tical, singles like "Ice Cream" and "Criminology" earned him a reputation in the hip-hop underground. Moreover, the album received near-unanimous critical praise for its evocative, image-rich storytelling and cinematic Mafia obsession (on some tracks, he adopted the guise of gangster Lex Diamonds). Also notable was Raekwon's crackling chemistry with heavily featured collaborator Ghost Face Killah, who enjoyed something of a coming-out party with all the exposure (he hadn't been nearly as much of a presence on Enter The Wu-Tang).Raekwon returned to the Wu-Tang fold for the group's 1997 sophomore effort, Wu-Tang Forever. That LP was followed by a second round of solo albums, and Raekwon's Immobilarity was released in late 1999, this time on Epic. This time around, neither RZA nor Ghostgace Killah contributed to the album at all and perhaps as a result, reviews were more mixed. Raekwon recorded with The Wu on their subsequent albums The W (2000) and Iron Flag(2001), and announced plans to reteam with Ghostface Killah for a sequel to Cuban Linx.

Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995)
A serious contender for the title of best Wu-Tang solo album (rivaled only by The Genius' Liquid Swords), Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is also perhaps the most influential, thanks to Raekwon's cinematic imagination. If The Genius is The Wu's best overall lyricist, Raekwon is arguably their best storyteller, and here he translates the epic themes and narratives of a Mafia movie into a startlingly accomplished hip-hop album. Raekwon wasn't the first to make the connection between gangsta rap and the Cosa Nostra (Kool G Rap pioneered that idea), but he was the one who popularized the trend. Cuban Linx's portraits of big-money drug deals and black underworld kingpins living in luxury had an enormous influence on the new New York hardcore scene, especially Nas, the latter of whom appears here on the much-revered duet "Verbal Intercourse." The fellow Clan members who show up as guests are recast under gangster aliases, and Ghostface Killah makes himself an indispensable foil, appearing on the vast majority of the tracks and enjoying his first truly extensive exposure on record. Behind them, RZA contributes some of the strongest production work of his career, indulging his taste for cinematic soundscapes in support of the album's tone; his tracks are appropriately dark or melancholy, shifting moods like different scenes in a film. Cuban Linx's first-person narratives are filled with paranoia, ambition, excess, and betrayal, fast rises and faster falls. There are plenty of highlights along the way — the singles "Criminology" and "Ice Cream," the gentle "Rainy Dayz," the influential posse cut "Wu-Gambinos" — and everything culminates in "Heaven & Hell" and its longing for redemption. Like The Genius' Liquid Swords, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx takes a few listens to reveal the full scope of its lyrical complexities, but it's immensely rewarding in the end, and it stands as a landmark in the new breed of gangsta rap.

Click To Download: Part 1 & Part 2

Raekwon - Immobilarity (Nov 16, 1999)

It's a rare Wu-Tang solo album that doesn't bear the stamp of the collective's production mastermind, RZA, to some extent, and Raekwon's second full-length is no different. Except for the fact that RZA doesn't actually appear on Immobilarity, the paranoid synth-strings and soundtrack feel he pioneered on Wu-Tang's Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers and Forever are all over this album. The producers, including Raekwon's American Cream Team, Infinite Akatechz, and Six July Productions, give Immobilarity the same sounds RZA gave to Raekwon's first album, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Though few rappers are more entitled to the sound than Raekwon, most of these songs just don't contribute to the lyrical concerns or delivery (a notable exception is "Sneakers," the only track produced by Pete Rock). And since the album's success depends wholly on Raekwon himself, it's almost impossible for him to trump the excellence of his first album.

Link Deleted

Raekwon - The Vatican Mixtape Vol 1 (Oct 9, 2006: Nocturne)

Click To Download

Last Added: Raekwon - The DaVinci Code The Vatican Mixtape Vol 2

Click To Download

No comments: