The Mark of Excellence

Raekwon

Lost Jewlry

> > Jan 30 2013

Raekwon - Lost Jewlry
By Chris DartClocking in at a little over half-an-hour, this new free EP — how that's different from a mixtape, we're not totally sure — is a strong amuse-bouche from the Chef. Rae does what he does best on Lost Jewlry, crafting intricate crime narratives out of metaphors so multi-layered they verge on code talking, over film score-type beats from the likes of Statik Selektah and Scram Jones. There isn't much time for guest spots, but Raekwon manages to make the most of the few that do appear. Freddie Gibbs's direct delivery contrasts nicely with Rae's dense bars on "New Day," while Altrina Renee's hook adds an unexpected, light, airy feel to "86." Lost Jewlry is proof, if further was required, that Raekwon is just as good an MC in his 40s as he was in his 20s. In some ways, he's better. The only problem with the record is that it's too short. Hopefully the Chef will be blessing us with an entrée-sized album soon.
(Ice H2O)

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Hey Chris! The free EP/mixtape confusion comes from the degradation of the meaning of "mixtape" over the last ten years. At first it was a way for rappers and DJs to hustle new verses & mixes using jacked beats that already had an extablished audience, and therefore gave the audience something to latch onto from square one. Often those were free because they were seen as a promotional investment, but people who COULD charge for them, would. People started calling ANY unprofessional, barely mixed project a mixtape by 2005 though, whether they charged or not, and even if they had all-original production. So after that kinda settled into the public parlance, it was hard to get people back to the idea that just anything free or de-emphasized might not be a mixtape.

And that's... what... I think.
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