This album was released on November 16th in the year of our lord 1999. I’m not really expecting this album to be that good to be honest. I obviously loved Raekwon’s first album, but this album has a far less positive reputation. Based on what I’ve seen people saying, I’m expecting the production to be really bad. There sadly aren’t many Wu-Tang features on this project. Also, this thing is over an hour long, and, for whatever reason, Apple Music has it labeled as a Pop album. I’m sure that’s just a mistake though. Anyway, I’m just gonna try to get this over with as quickly as possible so that I can move on to Supreme Clientele.
The opening track is an intro skit produced by Infinite Arkatechz, who had production credits on Nas‘ worst album, Nastradamus, so that’s a red flag right from the jump. With that said, I actually think the beat in the background is pretty good personally. The skit itself didn’t really interest me at all, but it’s not bad. I was just indifferent towards it. It’s an okay track, but I have no reason to listen to it ever again. Track 2 is called Yae Yo, and it has production from 6 July. As soon as this track started I understood why people were shitting on this album’s beats. It’s a very dull instrumental. It’s at least tolerable to me though. Thankfully, Raekwon is still rapping at a very high level here. The storytelling about trying to cook up some crack was pretty nice, and his flow was great.
Fuck it, pull out the pot let's cook it, light the stove up
Junior, go to the store get some flour
Sat back burning a big dutch
With the crisp 18 shot glock stashed in my nuts
Poured it in the Pyrex sizzling
Now it start drizzling
Rainy day murder, black won't miss him
Still I'm yelling this shit is business
But they still ain't gon' violate
What I stand for with these drizzers
The whole song is just one verse, so there’s not really much here to make the track worth returning to for me. I don’t think it’s a bad song though. Yes, the production kinda sucks, but the rapping is very good. It’s an okay track to me. The following track is called Casablanca, and is produced by Infinite Arkatechz. Pretty much everything that I said about the preceding track applies to this one. The production is lacking, but the rapping from Raekwon is very good. I think the production is worse on this track than it was on the preceding song though. There’s actually a hook on this track too, which is okay I guess. I don’t know. I mean, I still wouldn’t say that this song is bad, but it’s just not that enjoyable to me. I guess I enjoyed the rapping to an extent, but this track has pretty much zero replay value to me. I think it’s mediocre. It’s followed by 100 Rounds, which is produced by Triflyn. I’m sad to say that the beat on this track is even worse than that of the preceding song. As I listened to this album, it just felt like the instrumentals were getting wacker and wacker. This beat is fucking trash. Again, the rapping is really goddamn good, but it’s just nullified by the terrible production. I love how aggressively Rae’s rapping on this song, but overall I can’t fuck with this shit at all. I also could’ve done without the F bomb in the third verse. It’s not wack enough for me to say the whole song is bad overall, but it’s definitely incredibly mediocre. Track 5 is called Real Life, and is produced by DJ Devastator. I think the beat on this track is definitely a step up from the preceding couple of instrumentals, but it’s still not particularly good to me. I appreciate how dark it is though. Again, the rapping from Raekwon is pretty nice. The hook is just okay to me though. There are two verses on this song, and both of them are good, but overall this is another mediocre track to me. It has absolutely zero replay value. However, with that said, this is definitely more entertaining than the preceding track. It’s followed by Power, which features a group named the American Cream Team. That is a really bad name for a group. Anyway, according to RateYourMusic, American Cream Team is comprised of Baby Thad, Chip Banks, Polite, Rhyme Recca, Superb, and Triflyn. I’m not familiar with all of them, but I have heard some of them rap before. Superb is on Supreme Clientele, Rhyme Recca is on The Pillage, and Polite is on Tical 2000. Anyway, Polite actually doesn’t make an appearance on this song, but the rest of the crew is present here. The production from Triflyn is pretty wack to me. It sounds like a shitty version of G. Dep’s Special Delivery. Thankfully, the rapping is still pretty good on this track. The first verse from Raekwon was nice, and I actually really dug the second verse from Baby Thad. His flow wasn’t as good as that of Rae, but I liked how aggressive and hostile his delivery and lyricism were. The third verse from Superb was really great too. I liked his flow a lot. Chip Banks’ verse was cool. I think Rhyme Recca had one of the best performances on the track too.
Fly like iceberg, nice with verbs, precise words
Bentley swerve, hit the curb, jump out, cock back, spit out
Shut your block down, get out, criminal route
Gangsta shit, can't talk now, gun in your mouth
Cream Team killers, cocoon cats like caterpillars
Giant sized gorillas, break niggas backs for the scrilla
Scratch, greenback track, Fed's berserk
That's my word, disrespect Recca, get what you deserve
This is definitely my favorite track up to this point on the album. It’s still not something that I’d return to just because the production is really bad, but the rapping is really goddamn great. I’m impressed with the American Cream Team despite their dumb name. The song is okay to me. The following track is called Skit No.1. This track is incredibly pointless. I got absolutely nothing out of it. I have no idea why this is here. I’m not gonna pretend to have a strong opinion either way though. The following track is called All I Got Is You, Pt. II. I guess it’s supposed to be a sequel to All That I Got Is You by Ghostface Killah & Mary J. Blige. I don’t like this song. I wouldn’t say it’s bad, but I just don’t like this sound at all. The production from Pop & Vo is baby lotion soft. I guess it matches the content well enough, but it’s just not for me. Speaking of the content, this is pretty much a dedication to Raekwon’s mother, which is cool. I think the verse is well-written. It’s not really interesting enough to make me wanna return to it in the future though. The song features a singer named Big Bub, who sounds decent enough. This song just isn’t for me at all. I wouldn’t say it’s bad at all—it actually has one of the more tolerable beats on the album. I didn’t enjoy it personally though. I think it’s mediocre. It’s followed by Jury, which is produced by Infinite Arkatechz. I actually genuinely like the beat on this song. It’s very dramatic and emotional sounding. I think it’s pretty good. All three of the verses from Raekwon on this track are pretty good, and I even like the sung hook from Kim Stephens. I think she sounds good. This is easily one of the best tracks on the album in my opinion. Nothing stood out about it in a bad way. It’s a good song to me. It’s followed by Fuck Them, which is a pretty disappointing song to me. I mean, I guess it’s not really. I was excited for this track because it features Method Man, and it’s not that his performance was bad or anything. It’s just not a very good song overall because the beat from Triflyn is really shitty. I’m not crazy about the hook from Meth, but the verses on this track are great. Raekwon killed it.
One point five a liter, take a taste, splash your heater
Smack your face twice, clap your sneakers
Shit is like a mission to Mars, fishing for bars
Taking what's ours, knowledge the car, pa
Don't be stupid, get a little cash, better swoop it
Throw it in the ground and recoup it
Next check was best, your family pack your shit
Get vexed, leave a nigga standing in a bag of leaves
Some niggas catch on later, try to put them on, they haters
I met eighty of them niggas, yo
The final verse from Meth is pretty nice too. I just can’t get into this song because of the crappy production and weak hook. It’s not a bad song or anything, but it has zero replay value for me. I think it’s mediocre. This track is followed by Skit No.2, which is just as pointless as the first skit. Again, I’m not gonna pretend to have a huge issue with it, but it really didn’t need to be here. Track 12 is called Live from New York, and it has more production from Infinite Arkatechz. I actually think the beat here is pretty solid thankfully. The first verse from Rae is great. The storytelling is really well done. I even think the hook is pretty solid on this track. I mean, it’s not amazing or anything, but it serves its purpose well enough. The second verse is also pretty great.
Bottles strictly Dom, ring the alarm
Rollie on the arm, arms crossed, new sneakers on
Fly shit, Nikes the majority
NYC state of mind and we talk with authority
5 Boroughs is thorough, still out of town playing mellow
I thought I seen Shallah suede yellow
Rippin' it, new six flippin' it
Shorty is drip, dippin' in it when she sit, throw dick in it
His flow was really nice on this track. This is easily the best track up to this point on the record in my opinion. Raekwon’s rapping is great, and the beat is far more tolerable than the majority of instrumentals on this album. I think the song is pretty good. The following track is entitled My Favorite Dred, and it’s got another beat from Triflyn. I don’t think it’s a good instrumental, but it’s at least tolerable to me. There’s just one verse from Raekwon on this song—the whole track is just under two minutes long—but it’s actually pretty awesome. I think he killed this shit. I love how aggressive his flow is, and he was rhyming really well. Even though I’m not completely sold on the production, this is actually my favorite track up to this point on the record just because Raekwon’s rapping is so good. I think he slaughtered this track. It’s one of his best performances on the album in my opinion. The song’s dope. Track 14 is called Friday, and it’s got more production from Triflyn. Once again, I actually think the production here is pretty decent. I’m happy to say that I think this track is even better than My Favorite Dred. Raekwon rapped his ass off here.
Yo, up in the game room 4 in the morning and it's storming and we blitzed
Just rocked another wig, yeah, we on it
God had blood on his sweat pants
The way the tech dance on a nigga face, son ain't have a chance
Once again, the whole track is just one verse from Raekwon, but it’s much longer than the preceding song. Again, the storytelling from Rae is really great. I think he murdered this track. The song is really dope to me. Track 15 is called The Table, and it features Masta Killa. The production from Infinite Arkatechz is actually pretty good to me honestly. The first verse from Raekwon is really nice too. I was kind of disappointed in Masta Killa’s verse to be honest. Normally I wouldn’t expect much from him, but I saw a lot of people hyping his verse on this track up for whatever reason. I definitely think it’s better than most of Masta Killa’s performances in general, but that’s not really saying much. It’s a fine verse, but it didn’t really do much for me. Anyway, I think the song is pretty good overall, although not my favorite on the album. The following track is called Sneakers, and it’s produced by Pete Rock. This may be a hot take, but… I actually think this is the worst beat on the album. This beat is fucking garbage. I’ve never been the biggest Pete Rock fan in the first place, but this is easily the worst beat I’ve ever heard from him. It’s super discordant. I can kind of understand how some people might like it just because it sounds more rugged and raw than most of the other beats, but nah… This shit is fucking garbage. It literally sounds like a fucking joke. It sounds like something DistantCry would produce. Seriously, if Pete Rock’s name wasn’t attached to this beat I feel like everyone would be shitting on it. It’s awful.
Anyway, as far as the actual rapping from Raekwon goes, I think it’s decent. I just don’t really care for the content of this song. As the title indicates, he’s just rapping about shoes. He’s definitely rhyming well, and his flow is cool, but it just doesn’t interest me very much. I think the song is pretty terrible. It’s one of the few tracks on the album that I would say is genuinely bad as opposed to just being mediocre. It’s wack af to me. The following track is called Raw, and it has a pretty weak beat from Pop & Vo. This song also has another appearance from the American Cream Team, although this time it’s just Baby Thad & Chip Banks. Raekwon’s flow on the first verse is really nice, and I guess Baby Thad’s verse is solid enough. Unfortunately, I think the hook on this track is pretty weak. Chip Banks’ flow was actually pretty goddamn good, and Raekwon sounded really good on the final verse. With that said, I don’t like this song at all. I actually think it’s pretty bad. If the production and hook were better the song would probably be more tolerable for me, but, as it is, I think this shit is wack. Track 18 is called Pop Shit, and it has more production from Pop & Vo. The beat here is fucking terrible. It’s not as bad as that of Sneakers, but it’s still trash to me. There’s just one long verse from Raekwon on this track, and it’s pretty good, but I just can’t get passed the shit ass beat on this track. I think it’s a wack song. It’s followed by Heart to Heart, which has one more beat from Pop & Vo. Thankfully, this beat is far more tolerable than that of the preceding track. It’s still not particularly good though. The first verse from Rae is pretty good aside from the two F bombs. The second verse is pretty good too. The hook isn’t really anything special, but overall I think this is a tolerable track. It doesn’t have any replay value for me, but I didn’t hate it. I just think it’s mediocre. The penultimate track is called Forecast, and it’s produced by Triflyn. I don’t think the beat is very good at all, but it’s tolerable. There’s just one verse from Raekwon on this track, and it’s solid. I guess it was kinda cool how he was shouting out a bunch of regions in the United States.
Miami and North Carolina like family, yeah
Spoil a nigga like kids with cotton candy
Yo, V.A. all the money makers generate
Shorty driving around still making ten a day
L.A., yep, it's real when they tell me
Yep, I know it's ill 'cause police tried to kill me
N.O. and let's politic and make di-dough
D.C. I hope y'all feel me when I blidow
ATL, Tennessee ring bells
Out in Ohio bumping twenty inch wheels
He actually mentioned my hometown at one point, which was kinda shocking. I guess my hometown isn’t as obscure as I thought it was, but it still kinda feels random for him to mention it. Anyway, I think the song’s pretty mediocre overall. Maybe if the production was better I’d fuck with the song, but it’s just not that interesting to me lyrically or sonically. It’s tolerable though—aside from the sung outro; that part was terrible. The closing track is just called Outro, and it’s a skit in which a father tells his son to say the word “immobilarity,” which isn’t even a real word by the way. I don’t know who the father is; it’s definitely not Raekwon. I guess it doesn’t matter though. Anyway, I got pretty much nothing out of this skit. I’m not ever gonna listen to it again. It’s fine though. I don’t really mind it being here that much.
This album is very mediocre. I think it’s pretty obvious what the main issue here is… The production is severely lacking. I don’t know where the hell RZA was at when Raekwon recorded this shit, but his absence is very painful. This must’ve been one of the most disappointing albums of all time coming off of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… It’s just weird to me that Raekwon would have picked such shitty instrumentals to rap over. Did he genuinely think this shit sounded good? Personally, I wouldn’t say that this album is particularly bad overall because there are some very good moments, and I don’t think there’s a single bad verse here. The lack of participation from other Wu-Tang members definitely hurt this album a lot though. Overall, I think it’s midpack.