Raekwon: “The Wild” Album Review

Written By: Ethan Griggs

My Music: ethangriggsmusic.virb.com

Few rappers have been as creatively and critically prolific throughout the last twenty five years as Raekwon (the Chef). The Wu-Tang Clan veteran has proven time and time again to be one of hip-hop’s master lyricists, and his latest album for the Ice H2O and Empire labels is no exception. On The Wild, which follows 2015’s Fly International Luxurious Art, Raekwon goes hard AF like usual, but there is also some moments on the record that sting with emotion and tell of the morbid reality that is life.

The beats on The Wild have the rapper rediscovering his musical roots. There’s plenty of fat boom-bap beats that made the Wu-Tang Clan a household name, but Raekwon is also determined to keep up with the more recent trends. The influence of Kanye West’s immaculate sense of production is all over the record; the sentimental “Can’t You See” samples an old soul song, while the triumphant “The Reign” sounds like the Chef’s take on “We Major” from Late Registration. The sounds sleek synths on tracks like “My Corner” and “M&N” give the record a sheer and polished overtone.

While Raekwon remains as triumphant as ever on certain tracks, he gets emotional more than once on The Wild. The heart wrenching “Marvin” is essentially a biography of the late singer and the hardships he faced in his life, specifically his relationship with his father and it’s tragic end, with a melancholy chorus sung by Cee-Lo Green. “His mother screaming out ‘Honey don’t do it!’/One shot to the chest made Marvin lose fluids/April 1st he died on the spot, the scene was so horrific/How a father could kill his own son defines wicked.” Other tracks like the aforementioned “My Corner” are rock solid in their authority and confidence. Lil’ Wayne throws down with the best verse by a featured artist on the album:  “Come through in my bitch’s car, shoot you with my bitch’s gun/She asked where I’ve been, I just had to make a quick run/I’m an NWA, nigga with an AK/That’ll put an end to the melee.”

Like his classic solo debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Raekwon’s The Wild provides fans with hip-hop that sounds classic and brand new at the same time. With the exception of the numerous skits that bluntly and abruptly interrupt the flow of the album, the Chef’s new album is a cohesive effort that will likely earn its place as one of his greatest solo works when all is said and done.