Before the Wu-Tang Clan emerged in 1993, rap music was kind of dull. When the Wu
showed up with their debut album (Enter The Wu-Tang) they brought with them a whole new wordspeak, mentality, and a strategy for succeeding in life and in the music biz. The album also introduced us to Wu member Shallah Raekwon. Raekwon's
debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (upon which Ghostface Killah also appeared),
is a hip-hop masterpiece the music is monstrously large, and Rae and
Ghost's vivid details of life on the street are heartfelt.
On his second CD, Immobilarity, Raekwon (alias Lex Diamonds) goes solo and
allows up-and-comers to take over production duties while his endemic Wu-slanguage
remains intact and as blistering as ever. But there are substantial differences
here to indicate that we're hearing a different Raekwon this time he's Lex
Diamonds, the flesh-and-bone street gangsta turned politician on a moral mission.
Immobilarity is full of tension-filled gangsta rap stories.
Produced by newcomers Infinite Arkatechz, Triflyn, and Vo and Pop, simple hip-hop
beats are slapped out with sharp precision and threaded through orchestral
and the freestyling "Pop Sh*t" demonstrate Rae's brutal lyrical acuity, while "The
Table" (featuring Masta Killa) and "All I Got is You" call for members of black
communities to support each other.
Raekwon inserts a little levity into the disc's tense atmosphere with the footwear
fantasy "Sneakers" (produced by Pete Rock), the bouncy dance floor track "Raw,"
and "Forecast" (RealAudio excerpt), his geographical shout-out to fans. Finally, the opening track
"Intro," with its speech about "Mr. Raekwon and his associates preparing to
deposit $500 million in the rap Vatican bank," will probably leave hip-hop heads
wondering if Raekwon is bluffing or if he really is funding his own high-powered
conglomerate. Either way, blood and a strong belief system propel
Immobilarity. Raekwon's gangsta tales may be off the meter, but his
unbridled passion to represent the Wu and the streets is undeniable.