First Take: Raekwon- ‘Fly International Luxurious Art’

Raekwon is the master of criminology raps. His overcharged mafioso persona has been front and center since the release of the iconic purple tape, and hasn’t slowed even as the MC himself gets on in years. To say I haven’t been anticipating Fly International Luxurious Art for a minute would be a complete lie. I get amped up for each and every Wu solo release like it’s 1997 all over again.

There’s not a single new twist or turn to report throughout F.I.L.A. Rae delivers the gritty bars we’ve come to expect, while allowing us a glimpse into the jet setting other side of his seemingly glorious life. He’s made a career of weaving elaborate street dreams before our eyes; ones where the bad guy always ends up on top. A ghetto Tony Montana, a master of both grams and Grammys. Only this time out it seems Rae’s focused on wooing a younger crowd, especially on the sugary “All About You” featuring Estelle.

F.I.L.A’s highlights are captured in the features. French Montana and Busta Rhymes’ appearances are golden, and ASAP Rocky’s verse on “I Got Money” cements his place as one of NYC’s brightest new stars. Don’t mistake Rae’s open invites as signs of weakness. He’s earned the right to bring ’em out.

When it’s all said and done, even Raekwon’s lackluster releases trump the mindless turn up churned out online by the minute. F.I.L.A. isn’t changing the game, but it doesn’t have to. Lex Diamonds still shining.

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