Taken From ThisIsRealMusic.com
What might’ve been concerns that Raekwon was taking this Shaoulin concept/style too far were melted away during the first couple of tracks. In world full of artists recording their diary entries an MC taking a risk on a concept; to produce something artful; to get his point across in a more indirect way would be a breath of fresh air if it wasn’t a bit too similar to his previous work. However that is not to say the recent episode is any less value; the sample says that no-one owns the style, it only develops. The Ninja theme of Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang is prevalent, but Raekwon is once again able to add stories to his style, and remembering how he ghosted back into our consciousness from the dark corners of the internet (slicing Kanye West pre-releases and a notable Miguel remix) we start to fully appreciate the quiet danger of his lyrical prowess.
Seemingly aware that this might not carry a full LP, Raekwon has not been afraid of bringing people with him. An effective contribution from Lloyd Banks on Last Trip to Scotland makes me want to hear more from them as a duo, Ghostface and Method Man provide their unfaltering support, thickening out From The Hills and Every Solider in The Hood. Raekwon reminds us of a great point guard, making intelligent selections, bringing out the best in his supporting cast, whilst commanding the tempo and rhythm of the game to his own needs.
The Scroll epitomises the development of his style. Dipping into the autobiographical Raekwon leaves a lasting message of salvation and survival in testing times; a theme prevalent for the veteran artists in an increasingly unfamiliar genre. The assumed singles Rich and Black and Molasses will be turntable bangers way into 2012.
Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang doesn’t only remind us of times gone by, but also pushes the art of making an album in 2011 forward, with disciplined attention paid to the overall piece; leaving enough flexibility for others to excel in the same arena. Raekwon as an MC is undeniable, and with this album he’s forged a solid, but sweetly sharp weapon.