As a self-aware connoisseur of all things rap, I have to admit my tastes have become suspect over the past couple years and not by my own admission. The definition and subsequent spins of ‘What’s Hot’ on the radio has aided in corrupting not only my ears, but the ears of hip-hop heads nationwide, forcing millions to dumb down or ditch their respect for the art-form all together. Hell, my favorite rap release of last year came from Rick Ross, the self proclaimed ‘Boss’ who once rhymed 22 with 22 for eight straight bars.
That is why I, along with millions of others, let out a large sigh of relief when the Chef, better known as Raekwon, also known as Lex Diamond, decided to don the Superman cape and drop Only Built 4 Cuban Linx pt. II, the long awaited, oft delayed sequel to his ’95 timeless classic, that has served as a much needed reminder that hip-hop does in fact live. It is easily the best rap release since 2006 and possibly since his partner in crime, Ghostface, released my all time favorite, Supreme Clientle, at the dawn of the century.
So it came as a surprise when reviews started trickling in and none were able to capture all of the glaring aspects that make this new album what it is: meeting the hype created by its status as a sequel to possibly the most hip-hop album of all time, the chopped up production from a laundry list of lauded producers that perfectly coincides with Rae’s undercurrent flow, and the pitch perfect guest list of co-conspiritors, including, but not limited to all of the Wu members, mysteriously excluding U-God.
But then about a week following it’s release, I stumbled upon a review from our class’ favorite music review site, Pitchfork. And surprisingly the review touched on all the points I mentioned, including the glaring absence of U-God (possibly that he was killed off at the end of the original OB4CL), all without their trademark pretension.
I included a link to the review, as an example of an ‘A’ review, for its ability to finely capture all that I, along with everyone who knows anything about Shaolin Shadow Boxing and the Wu-Tang sword style, recognize about the greatness that is OB4CLII. I also chose to include a video after the link from the albums second single, House of Flying Daggers, produced by the late J Dilla and featuring fellow Wu’s Inspectah Deck, GZA, Ghostface and Method Man.