The Wild

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The Wild nearly lives up to the Dan Lish illustration that covers it. Leaner and sharper than the preceding Fly International Luxurious Art, Raekwon's seventh solo album has the rapper acknowledging his responsible adult reality ("Now it's all about good livin', raisin' my children"), looking back at his conflicted past (on highlight "Visiting Hour," featuring well-matched throwback belter Andra Day), and narrating a gripping Marvin Gaye bio ("Marvin," with CeeLo Green). The majority of the verses are, however, devoted to street survivalism. The more combative, the better, as on "Nothing": "Automatic tax, not askin', get your jawbone fractured." Common breaks color some of the tracks, but they don't sound worn beneath Raekwon, who thrives on the strong-arming likes of "This Is What It Comes Too" [sic] and "Can't You See." Without the occasional blaring horror-score synths and an overcooked "Purple Brick Road," which involves a fawning G-Eazy verse and a pouty pop hook, this would be Raekwon's steadiest work since the Cuban Linx sequel. Unlike Raekwon's other proper full-lengths, this contains no appearances from any of his Wu-Tang brethren.

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