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Old 06-15-2011, 02:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3,531
Default Word Is Bond; A Series of Reviews on Hip Hop's Essential Albums.

Hi, my name is anticipation and this thread will serve as a place of discussion for true hip hop heads on what are considered "the classics". I'm going to review a bunch of really well loved hip hop albums and hopefully that'll generate some conversation. I'll keep a list up, and in theory this thread will go on forever so the list will grow as I add more reviews of current/alternative classics. For now, I'll stick to what I believe the average hip hop enthusiast sees as time-honored albums. First up;

Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...

Track listing:

Striving for Perfection
Knowledge God
Incarcerated Scarfaces
Rainy Dayz
Guillotine (Swordz)
Can It Be All So Simple [Remix]
Shark Niggas (Biters)
Ice Water
Glaciers of Ice
Verbal Intercourse
Wisdom Body
Spot Rusherz
Ice Cream
Heaven & Hell
North Star (Jewels)

One of my personal favorites and a critically-acclaimed Wu production, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... may or may not be the pinnacle of the East Coast rap style. Raekwon & co. display incredibly complex lyricism throughout the entire album, and the RZA's razor sharp production takes a wonderfully emotional turn, blending lush soul samples and kung-fu samples. The entire album combines the main concept of a duo of high-profile coke dealers, Tony Starks (Ghost) and Lex Diamond (Rae), going on one last mission, with stoic John Woo samples and frequent spoken-word skit tracks that reflect on the harsh realities of street life. In my honest opinion, the supporting cast on Only Built... is one of the strongest to have ever been assembled, featuring fellow Wu-heavyweights like the GZA, Ghostface, and Method Man in wildly impressive capacities, making it as much of a group production as it does a Rae solo joint. However, it was this release that introduced the world to the true skill of the Chef, and I suspect it is for this reason that OB4CL is so universally praised. Raekwon presents several convincing examples of his virtuosity on Only Built..., the most prominent being Criminology, Incarcerated Scarfaces, and Verbal Intercourse.

For my money, probably the best collab song Wu ever did period. Nas puts down one of his illest verses, while Rae and Ghost follow suit.

RZA's minimalist beat serves as the perfect foil to Ghost and Rae's gritty lines.

An interesting paralel is drawn between the often shady world of entertainment with the dramatic script of John Woo's The Killer. I'm a sucker for spoken samples in any genre of music, especially when it's well done. RZA crafts one of his best intro's on this one, and Rae delivers big when it counts.

Not only do Rae and Ghost showcase their talents to the world on OB4CL, as the true gems on the record come in the form of classic Wu group bangers;

Such a sick track, easily one of my favorite hip hop tracks of all time.

GZA and Ghost battle for supremacy on this one, and after a fierce struggle we see the Genius emerge victorious once again.

Give and go between Ghost, Rae, and U-God makes for a sweet single.

So, now that you've read what I think of the album, how do you think it stands up against other Wu releases/other classics in general. Overrated or underrated?
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