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DJ Absolute & Raekwon: Blood on Chef’s Apron

Regardless to whom or what, no one can deny that the summer of ’95 belonged to Raekwon the Chef. That infamous purple tape was in every tape deck in every hood in America. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx was one of the best produced and greatest crafted hip-hop albums of all time. Just last year me and a few homies up in the XXL office were debating on who was the better producer back then: RZA or Dr. Dre. What with RZA producing damn near every solo Wu album that dropped and Dre creating commercial hit after hit. But that’s neither here nor there.

In anticipation of the release of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2, Shallah Raekwon is back with a new mixtape to show the masses that he hasn’t lost a step… or has he?

He’s still as hard as he was when he was talking about life being tougher than leather. “Cocaine Blunts” says it all. Ain’t too many people who steam on wooley blunts that are considered sane by any means. I mean he went nuts with the quick flow on the Twista-assisted, “A Bigger Gun.” I know he must’ve smoked something highly illegal to get that song done. And surprisingly enough after everything Nas said on “Last Real Nigga Alive” you’d never think that Rae would have his own “Letter To Big” but he did.

Over the Kiss instrumental he explained, “You legend/a father with his brethren/a Coogie sweater that’s cost effective/gangstas from the Stuy, that’s you/they thought we had a beef, kid/but I would never violate you/you from a part where I come from too/just because we rhymed, had on diamonds and had albums that blew/and that beef was a sucka beef/friendly competition/but filled with crazy love underneath.” Damn who would’ve thought.

And it was also pretty dope to hear Noreaga rap over a hard beat again when he appeared on “Beauty.” What with dude going back and forth with Melvin Flint and that reggaeton crap that I ain’t know where he stood in the game anymore. Other notable features include The Game on “Flashback Memories,” Busta on “Stick Up Music” and B-Real on “R.I.P.”

While the intensity level isn’t what it used to be (he sounds more laid back and relaxed now. Like an old gangsta who moved to Miami), he’s still got the kind of rhymes and flows that hustlas around the way can tip their fitted and salute. But like Mariano Rivera, the velocity of his music is down a notch. But no one stays as hot as his first album… well, except Pac, Big, Jigga and Nas. But you can’t expect dudes to sound angry and hungry for their whole career. And Rae does a good job of painting ghetto canvases and dropping gems at the same time. So open wide and let the chef feed you what you need in your life, son!-The Infamous O

Hottest Joint: Too hard to just choose one, man.

Weakest Joint: “Fortune and Fame”

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