Raekwon: “Fly International Luxurious Art” album recap

By - Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Raekwon has dropped his highly anticipated solo album, Fly International Luxurious Art, stacked with features from Ghostface, A$AP Rocky, French Montana, Busta Rhymes, 2 Chains, Rick Ross, Estelle, Assassin, Liz Rodrigues, Melanie Fiona and Snoop Dogg. From the first seconds of “4 In The Morning” Raekwon’s signature 90’s hard boom bap style blasted through the speakers and we got excited.

As it turns out, this was not misguided hype because this album is exactly what you would expect from the rap legend. Sonically, Raekwon stuck with what he’s best at: raw lyrics about his life experiences growing up and living in in the jungle we all know as New York City. His flow and distinct vocal sound gave me flashbacks to listening to Wu Tang for the first time as if I had just smelled something that triggered high school memories.

“Heated Nights” transports listeners to New York City, after dark, with its mellow and uneasy boom bap beat and Raekwon’s lyrical storytelling about the dangers of the city and hoping he’d make it home at night. We played “1,2,1,2”, and shit got real.

The single of the album, “1,2,1,2” bangs – simply put. The beat comprises of some killer horn samples and ’80s cypher style drums that left me incessantly bobbing our heads. Snoop Dogg’s verses are a refreshing trip away from all of that Snoop Lion reggae he’s been on lately, and reminded us of his Dre days. “Revory (Wraith)” featuring Rick Ross may be our favorite on the album. The sample they use and build off of is classic and keeps with this ’90s early ’00s theme of most of this album, and both Raekwon and Rick Ross kill their verses. Raekwon closes out the album with “Worst Enemy” which is a darker, melancholy sounding song with storytelling style lyrics grounded in anger and resentment. When the drums dropped in and Raekwon started flowing we began to feel an empathetic anger. After it had finished, it had us wishing there were more tracks to this album. 

All and all, Raekwon gave his fans exactly what they wanted: sampled beats with ’80s and ’90s influence and hard verses with real life content. That being said, there is one track that we personally didn’t vibe with, or feel necessarily fit with the overall sound with the album. That track was “F.I.L.A World” featuring 2 Chains. This album has such a raw and hard sound and this beat threw us off that vibe completely. The rest of this album is a must-listen. If you miss Wu Tang, sampled beats, or are just in the mood for some ’90s nostalgia: “Fly International Luxurious Art” is for you. 

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