Rich And Black
Label: Caroline Records
Raekwon continues his late-career hot streak with Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang. In some ways, it's better than 2009's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. II: Raekwon doesn't rely as much on crack-boiling scenarios for lyrical inspiration, but still convinces listeners that he "runs with generals that flash Uzis in interviews." The music isn't as strong, though, because Wu-Tang affiliates such as Mathematics and Bronze Nazareth generate a scroll of cliched Wu-Tang beats -- kung-fu snippets and chopped samples. Still, Shaolin bangs with standouts like "Crane Style," "Rich and Black" and "Masters of Our Fate."