The Lex Diamond Story

Artist: RaekwonTitle: The Lex Diamond StoryRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Toshi Kondo

There will never be another Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…. So get over it and stop comparing it to Raekwon’s third solo release, The Lex Diamond Story. Despite telling myself this, thirteen different producers, generic-ass Ice Water shout outs, and the lack of concepts kept me reaching for that purple tape. Rae’s rapid-fire delivery and colorful descriptions still entertain, but this album never comes together.

With so many producers, the production is very uneven. The splattering horns of “Pit Bull Fights” and the soft trombones of “King Of Kings”, allows Rae’s lyrics to weave in and out seamlessly. On the other end, tracks like the Hangman 3-produced “Planet Of The Apes,” sounds very synthesized and plastic. This musical fluctuation creates very hit or miss results with few in-betweens.

“Missing Watch” is the most creative track on the album. Rae’s paranoid narrative of losing his iced-out timepiece in the club is topped off by Ghost’s hilariously frantic threats to clubgoers. Rae shows social consciousness riding “All Over Again’s” looped strings: “It time to rebuild, teach our seeds that guns don’t kill/It’s the nigga behind the trigger that will/Society’s ill/Blacks support seeds for their mils/Mentally brainwashed, time moves on, we stand still.”

Many tracks such as “King Of Kings” featuring Havoc and “Clientele Kidd” featuring Fat Joe and Ghostface are strong, but lack concepts. They resemble mixtape bangers, with hot beats and emcees spittin’ whatever they feel. Ghost does come with a graphic verse that’s sickening in a good way: “Skin his ass, as lame as he look, he ready to cook/And he pleading for mercy, bleeding from his dome and he thirsty/The first week we made him eat shit/Videotaped his wiz and I fucked his bitch.”

“Robbery” and “Wyld In Da Club,” tracks showcasing his Ice Water affiliates, are so generic that they sound like parodies. None of the Ice emcees distinguish themselves, relying on overused thuggisms. “Ice Cream Pt. 2” is an unnecessary update of a classic (Refer to the horrible “Cream 2001”). Meth, Rae and Cappadonna sound ridiculous spittin’ explicits over a fluffy, Nickelodeon-ass beat.

When Rae chastises an interviewer on “Smith Bros,” it’s clear he’s sick of people wondering when he’ll drop another classic. That was a time when RZA produced the whole shit and guest featuring on a Wu release actually meant something. While The Lex Diamond Story has its moments, in the end, it’s just another indication that the Wu era is over.