Filed under: Albums,Old Moufs,Reviews,The Unkut Opinion
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
How about some hype hardcore? It seems that 90’s rappers are all the rage this week, as three old favorites once again attempt to make some noise in this here rap game. Are any of them actually worth walking to your local record store though?
The interesting thing about the new records from Raekwon, Jay-Z and M.O.P. is that they all present dramatically different cases for why each of these veterans are still relevant. The fact that everybody is talking about them is proof that they all have a degree of relevance – but that doesn’t always translate into good music. The Blueprint 3 starts off a lot better than I expected, as the first few tracks present Jay in his “I’m rich, bitch!” mode fairly convincingly. It doesn’t take long for the wheels to fall off though, as by the time we hit the halfway mark it all begins to sound like something that his intern orchestrated. “Can you read some hip-hop blogs and find some hot artists for Jay to collab with? Thanks much”. Obviously I’m not the target market for this record, but as I commented elsewhere, I predict that ‘Young Forever’ will be heard at same-sex marriage ceremonies for a long time to come.
Cuban Linx 2 is a good record, but it’s not great. Weighed down by the weight of expectation that it’s title brings, it plays as the ultimate fan service to the Wu-Tang faithful. We demanded that Rae gives us more of that coke rap for so long that he finally relented, but at times it sounds as if he’s doing so a because he has to, not because he wants to. Without the blunted vision of The RZA controlling the project, it lacks the mystery, texture and pacing of the original. That Wu Slang that made The Chef so unique doesn’t seem as special anymore either, possibly because he flooded the streets of the internets with too much product (mixtapes) while he waited for our fix, diluting his potency and driving down the price. That being said, OB4CL2 is an uncompromising, hardcore collection of tracks in an age when no one really makes albums like this anymore, and it certainly contains some superior material. It just feels a little…over-cooked?
The real winners here of course are the eternal underdogs, the champions of working-class fight music themselves… Mo’ Peez! Finally delivering their first official release since Warriorz, anybody who’s been paying attention will immediately notice that they haven’t faltered at all in the meantime. The Foundation is simply another milestone in the timeless catalog of rap’s greatest duo. If you aren’t already a fan of what Bill and Slap have been delivering all these years then this isn’t going to convert you, but this latest installment has that hunger and unbridled aggression that both of the previously mentioned sequels are lacking. For those of us who aren’t sitting on a yacht or watching Scorsese flicks all night, this is the kind of music that will get you through another day in the trenches. And sometimes, that’s all that really counts.
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