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First Thoughts: Raekwon's 'The Wild'

The Wu-Tang Clan's cuisine specialist shares that purple cloth talk.

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Back at it and in rap mode again, Raekwon the Chef makes his return to the vicious hip-hop soundscape with his seventh solo album The Wild. Two years after dropping off F.I.L.A., the legendary emcee takes a light and swift approach to the latest chapter in his narrative. Chock full of mayhem and fitting artist features, Rae’s new LP delivers what most fans ought to expect but does so in a way that depicts his growth as an artist with a tremendous multi-decade career.

Setting the pace for the album is lead single “This Is What It Comes Too,” showcasing Rae’s extraordinary skill in the art of being a braggadocios, rhyming assassin. Boasting lines like, “I'm nice, targets get hit whenever I squeeze/Don status, get my dick sucked whenever I please.” Keep in mind, these are separate skills housed in one and are played well alongside the track’s frenetic production.

Continuing the journey through, an amazing takeaway from The Wild comes in the form of Raekwon’s talent as a storyteller. He’s become much stronger in that regard, and with ease, paints much more vivid depictions of his various yet engaging tales. The album’s fifth track, “Marvin,” is a clear example of this. Leaning on Cee-Lo Green for a soul-lifting hook, the emcee pays tribute to the legendary Marvin Gaye, detailing his lifelong feud with his father who would eventually shoot and kill the “Sexual Healing” singer in 1984.

The Wild is mostly a smooth listen and, at times, quite reflective. The Chef is a seasoned veteran in this game and doesn't shrug it off. Throughout the course of the album, Rae's dropping off lines that you'd typically hear on any Wu-Tang project, actually, but there's a vulnerability behind the bars ("Can't You See," "Visiting Hour," and "The Reign") that absolutely gives listeners a smarter, wiser perspective.

From hugging the block to his Old Earth being able to see a black man become the 44th President of the United States, Raekwon isn't preaching by any means, he's simply explaining that sometimes this world can be a rugged one.

Watch Raekwon talk with REVOLT on the album below:

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