Raekwon - 'Fly International Luxurious Art'
Delayed by Wu-Tang's "soft" last album, the rapper's thunderous seventh is finally airborne
Raekwon’s aviation-themed sixth solo outing begins with a wash of ambient airport sounds: roaring jet engines, husky-voiced lady passport officials and paparazzi shutterbugs snapping the Wu-Tang master at arrivals. The message is unsubtle: after two fairly glittering decades in the hip-hop game, he leads a glamorous jet-setter lifestyle far removed from his gritty former life on the streets of Staten Island. The journey to release for new album ‘Fly International…’ though has been a turbulent one, disrupted by a frustrating two-year layover for the rapper. Finished long before Wu-Tang’s 20th anniversary album ‘A Better Tomorrow’, Raekwon chose to delay this latest solo effort “out of respect to my brothers” only for work on that record to over-run. When it eventually emerged late last year, the rapper described it as “disappointing” and “soft.” The same accusation couldn’t be made of this collection. From thunderous Mafioso fable ‘Live To Die’ to A$AP Rocky-starring calypso riot ‘I Got Money’ via Snoop Dogg collab ‘1,2 1,2’, the Chef’s steely signature East Coast flow has seldom sounded more imperious. Timeless solo debut ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’ it ain’t, but after 20 years in rap’s first class, Raekwon’s got no intention of flying coach.
Director: Jerry Wonda, Scram Jones, S1, She Da God, Snaz, Frank G, Scoop DeVille, Bluerocks, Matthew Burnett
Record label: Ice H20/EMI
Release date: 26 Apr, 2015