Legendary New York rapper Raekwon the Chef’s latest album, Fly International Luxurious Art (F.I.L.A.) is an album with classic material that shows off Raekwon’s braggadocios style. In recent years, especially after dropping Cuban Linx 2, Chef has compared his work ethic and energy to that of a new artist and this veteran of the game has done a lot to prove that with this album. Raekwon, as much as anyone else out of Wu Tang, is excellent at networking. That certainly shows on this album, from features like 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, and partner in rhyme Ghostface Killah to production from Scram Jones and Scoop DeVille, the album is stacked with quality talent. Yet the best cuts are his solo joints.
At the start of “Heated Nights,” a Frank G produced cut that slaps with deep, triumphant 808s, bass and a rhythmic piano sample, you can hear the front desk man at a luxury villa in a foreign country assure Chef that the guns going off are in celebration of his arrival and that he is a “God in this city.” In the track Rae, sounding mature as ever, advocates a safe lifestyle for kids in bad neighborhoods with gun violence, while also promoting lavish trips to tropical islands with amenities galore. The track has a lot of flavor, complete with Raekwon’s classic storytelling style and highly descriptive wordplay. Fly International Luxurious Art is a quality album, and even more important — Raekwon has a lot more classic material to come.