Raekwon Sound Academy, Toronto, ON August 15

Raekwon Sound Academy, Toronto, ON August 15
Fashionably late, Raekwon made the stage as the patrons of the Sound Academy were beginning to get restless. The Chef has had some bad luck in his past shows in Toronto: in 2006, his luggage had been lost during CMW, and on this occasion, he was battling a cold.

However, there were no obvious signs of lag in his voice as he opened with "C.R.E.A.M.," the 16-year-old track featured on the Wu-Tang Clan's first album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). With the crowd now in frenzy, Raekwon shifted into another Wu classic, "Can It All Be So Simple," which equally enraptured the fans in attendance.

Shockingly, there seemed to be a drop off in the hype level of the crowd when the MC went into some his best solo material from 1995's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, such as "Glaciers of Ice." He also gave the audience a slight sampling of cuts from his forthcoming and long overdue Cuban Linx Pt. II, including the new song "Nu Wu."

Rae used time in between tracks to address a number of topics, including his recently filmed dust-up with New Jersey rapper Joe Budden. "All I've got to say is we've got the tape," he said, using his diatribe to segue into "Eye for a Eye (Your Beef Is Mines)," a cut he was featured on from Mobb Deep's The Infamous.

Rae did shout out to RZA in the latter half of the hour-plus set, as well as took time to honour the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, saying that "Rza did raise up Wu, but ODB raised up Rza."

Turing 40 next year, the Staten Island native performed with vigour and focus, delivering a performance that easily lived up to any and all audience expectations.