February 5, 2004

Test Spin: Raekwon

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Every member of the Wu-Tang Clan has about a dozen different aliases, and Raekwon the Chef is no different. Here he elaborates on the legend of Lex Diamond, a mobster persona he has schizophrenically created for himself. The result is a fine, but fairly inconsistent, record in terms of both subject matter and song quality.

The songs where the gangster theme is abandoned are by and large the weakest, like the mindless wannabe-hit “Wild in the Club.” But when Fat Wu — as I like to call him — sticks to what he knows best, he paints a vivid picture of a corrupt and violent underworld. “Pit Bull Fights” sets the scene, and Ghostface Killah continues the story on “Missing Watch,” where he shoots up a bunch of heads who stole Rae’s favorite timepiece.

Later, Raekwon becomes the latest rapper to employ Alvin and the Chipmunks’ vocal talents as they apparently lend a hand on the chorus of “All Over Again” where the Chef pauses and reflects on his rise from dealer to millionaire.

A set of less-known producers fill in for what would normally be RZA’s job, and they take turns replicating his style, as well as Kanye West’s. So after having done the knowledge to The Lex Diamond Story, it’s evident that while it certainly has its moments, none of them really make you jump like Rod Strickland.

Archived article by Ross McGowan