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The Lex Diamond Story

Raekwon

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Album Review

For his third album, The Lex Diamond Story, Raekwon again evokes the gangsta mythology of his classic debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995), while at the same time stretching out into new territory, to generally impressive results. The Wu-Tang member's previous album, Immobilarity (1999), also stretched out into new territory, but for that very reason the album was met with general indifference, which very well may be the fate of Lex Diamond also. After all, it's no secret: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx had been a masterstroke, not only one of best Wu-Tang albums ever but also one of the best East Coast gangsta albums ever. It was such a masterstroke that Raekwon struggled to follow it up. Perhaps that's why it took him so long to record his follow-ups, taking several years between albums to record Immobilarity and The Lex Diamond Story. Whatever the reason, the wait was worthwhile, for The Lex Diamond Story is a worthwhile album, not a masterstroke but an impressive accomplishment nonetheless. It makes heavy use of cinematic storytelling, framing the album as if it were a gangsta film with Raekwon's Lex Diamond alias as its main character, and a conflicted character at that. It helps, of course, that there are quite a few hot tracks here, particularly "Pit Bull Fights," "All Over Again," and "Once Upon a Time." The album employs a relatively large supporting cast, some good (Ghostface Killah, Method Man, the latter on an "Ice Cream" sequel) and some not so good (Rae's new posse, Ice Water). As all longtime Wu fans will no doubt wonder, RZA is nowhere to be heard here, which is a mixed blessing. Sure, who wouldn't love to see him drop some Cuban Linx-style beats? But at the same time, it's nice to hear Raekwon work with some original sounds from a wide-ranging pool of largely underground production talents. The overall result is a good album, not an especially great one on a par with Cuban Linx but certainly a better one than most other rappers out there were capable of in 2003.

Biography

Born: 12 January 1970 in New York

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Raekwon may not have achieved the solo stardom of his fellow Wu-Tang Clan mates Method Man or Ol' Dirty Bastard, but along with Genius/GZA and frequent partner Ghostface Killah, he's done some of the most inventive, critically acclaimed work outside the confines of the group. Born Corey Woods and also nicknamed the Chef (because he's "cookin' up some marvelous sh*t to get your mouth watering"), Raekwon joined the Staten Island, NY-based...
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The Lex Diamond Story, Raekwon
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