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In concert: Raekwon

raekwonRaekwon's 9:30 club show Tuesday lacked the fire of his fantastic 2009 album "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. 2." (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Sarah Godfrey

Raekwon has figured out how to beat the dreaded sophomore curse - take more than a decade to record a second album. The last time the Wu-Tang member had a hit record, it was blaring out of Acura Legends and Toyota Land Cruisers: almost 15 years elapsed between the 1995 classic "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" and this year's sequel "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. 2." (He released four albums in the interim.) The waiting game seems to have worked: "OB4CLII" has been critically acclaimed and commercially embraced to an insane degree, a fact Raekwon wasn't afraid to gush about at his show at 9:30 on Tuesday night.

"Number 1 album on iTunes, number 7 album of the year in Time - all genres!" he said.

(Wait, we're in Pittsburgh? After the jump...)


But the careful, restrained approach Rae has had success with in making one of the best rap albums of the year went out the window when he stepped on stage. The show featured far too many asides (Do we really need to know that the Chef likes to throw turkey burgers on the grill? Or hear him sing Teena Marie songs?), a DJ that didn't know what city he was in ("Pittsburgh! Are you still with us?") and a mid-set appearance from Queens rapper Capone, who performed without his better known partner, Noreaga.

Still, it's hard to make a complete mess of a show built around two superlative solo albums and tracks from the Wu archives. With "Black Mozart," and its distorted Godfather-themed hook, the monastic chanting of "Gihad" from "OB4CLII" and "Glaciers of Ice" and "Incarcerated Scarfaces" from the first "Cuban Linx" album, Rae showed that he's still relevant.



By Chris Richards  |  December 16, 2009; 12:17 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: 9:30 club, Raekwon  
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do you guys have all the pics you took last night??

Posted by: MOOSE101 | December 16, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I think the DJ's vocals were higher in the mix than Rae's.

That got obnoxious fast.

And is it just me or is Capone not all there mentally anymore?

Posted by: azaghal1981 | December 16, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

"Raekwon has figured out how to beat the dreaded sophomore curse - take more than a decade to record a second album."

This is wrong. Have we forgotten "Immobilarity"? Oh, right, we almost certainly have. But the review does not mention the checkered rap career that was indeed taking place over the 15-year interval mentioned.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | December 17, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

To the reviewer: Do some research the next time you write about someone. Google Raekwon and you will easily discover he released Immobilarity in 1999 (number nine on the charts at the time) and flop The Lex Diamond Story in 2003. Seriously, awful. This makes the paper look incredibly unhip and lazy.

Posted by: flamfives52003 | December 17, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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