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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/165b48c2f7ac40bb08d51f065bd53f7dc10fdea6.jpg Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang

Raekwon

Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang

IceH2O/EMI
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
March 21, 2011

With 2009's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II, Raekwon managed to conjure a satisfying sequel to one of rap's most hallowed albums. The pressure's off now, and on Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang, Rae sounds at ease — as loquacious as ever, unfurling martial-arts-movie allusions and street-crime narratives in a weave of internal rhymes. ("Lightin' Phillies/Fly-by Willies/Can't come through unless your vehicle 300 chain, silly.") RZA, the production sensei behind Wu-Tang, is absent, but Scram Jones, Bronze Nazareth and others evoke his claustrophobic soundscapes. It's a classic Raekwon record; it sounds like no one else because it sounds so stubbornly like 1995 — still behind the times, and still ahead of the competition.

Listen to "Butter Knives":

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