It seemed that after the release of the very disappointing 8 Diagrams album that the Wu Tang Clan as a group and as a brand was done. The group faced alot of turmoil within that time period. Raekwon claimed that he often clashed with RZA with the direction of the album, Ghostface claimed RZA was robbing him, Method Man had the IRS after him and not to mention the groups struggle to compete in what was a forever changing market in the Rap Game. It seemed like the soldiers from Shaolin were fading into irrelevancy.
The critically acclaimed and superb sequal to Raekwon’s Cuban Linx album put the Wu back in the forefront of hip hop and gave the Wu that credibility boost that they really needed. Raekwon continues to carry the Wu flag going into Shaolin Vs Wu Tang where Rae abandons the cocaine tales and revisits the 36 Chambers.
Raekwon is still a sharp spitter and seemed like a veteran that has gotten better within time. He still shows that he can shoot poisonous dark on the cinematic Butter Knives which sound like something fresh from the 90s. Rae’s solo Songs such as Shaolin Vs Wu Tang, Pretty Boat Killaz and Dart School are also pretty stellar as well.
It’s clear that Raekwon can carry an album on his own, It’s the guest appearances that really shine on Shaolin Vs Wu Tang. Everybody from members of the Wu Family, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Black Thought, Lloyd Banks and even Rick Ross with Ross sounding pretty damn good over Wu Tang style production on Moleasses which rekindles that classic Wu sound.
The album’s best track no question is Rich and Black which features another stellar appearance from the legendary Nas. Backed with a heavy Minister Farrakhan sample. Rae and Nas go back and forth on what its like to be young, black, and successful.
What really surprised me about Shaolin Vs Wu Tang was how Raekwon was able to make a great album without RZA. There were many that doubted Rae considering he made Immobility without RZA and that was a dud. The contributors such as alchemist, Dreddy Kruger, Scram Jones, mathematics and others do an outstanding job of supplying Shaolin Vs Wu Tang that rugged Wu Tang sound that would truly make the Abbott proud.
Last Trip to Scotland
There isn’t truly a bad song up here even though Rock and Roll, From the Hills would be considered filler. This album isn’t as good as Only Built 4 Cuban linx II but Rae is carrying the Wu brand on his back and this album will be sure to satisfy his fans.
Vic Rating: 8.5 outta 10