Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang by Raekwon
“Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang” is a throwback. The beats and overall production value are very similar to that of older Wu-Tang stuff. Plenty of Kung-Fu clips, blunts and guns to go ’round. “Fucking every part of the planet / slam a forty with a salmon” just might be the emblematic rhyme on the album. Raekwon even dug up a whole bunch of his fellow iconic 90’s hip-hop brethren for guest spots (Nas, Busta etc). If there is one thing that Raekwon seems to want to accomplish it’s to drive away the Bieber collaborating brand of ‘hip-hop’ and replace it with something less flashy, but in his eyes more substantial.
The album itself is a spotty one. First off, it’s hard for Rae’s tough guy persona to not be clouded and weakened by all of the fairly silly ninja references. Secondly, a lot of the guest verses are …meh. Busta Rhymes on “Crane Style” for example is pretty ridiculous sounding to say the least, and as usual Jim Jones adds little to “Rock N’ Roll”. That being said, I do really find the heated back and forth between Raekwon and Nas on “Rich and Black” to be pretty compelling, especially when spit over this simple but tense high pitched string sample. Also, the classic thump of “Silver Rings” is a top notch call back, and still sounds plenty fresh. In general though, the album doesn’t seem to have the craftsmanship of Raekwons last one. It feels a bit rushed and even incomplete. But maybe I’m just jaded by all of the overproduced Bieber-rap.
Shaolin vs Wu-Tang: 2.5 out of 5