"Lost Jewlry"The past three years have been good to Raekwon. He went from being an obscure face in a dysfunctional Wu family to a rap Lazarus, accomplishing the near impossible with Cuban Linx II. So much so that he exhausted himself, proceeding to kick out a set of forgettable albums. Fair enough – he needs time to regroup. Enter Lost Jewlry. It’s a transitory project, a lyrical gymnasium keeping him in shape for the final leg of F.I.L.A.‘s post-production. Lyrically, Raekwon is sharp, but his verses constantly collide against a wall of stale beats. And as a result it plays out like a compilation of miscellaneous tracks rather than an actual EP. He’s holding back. But so go five lyrics that show he’s still a lyrical juggernaut.

Hold You Down feat. Faith Evans

Hold You Down

Having already collaborated on Something About Faith, Raekwon and Faith Evans are reaching for an old and familiar sound, one plucked right out of the 90s and stuck dead center in a Buckwild produced beat. Faith Evans is the throwback element, and she fails to stimulate, sounding winded throughout the majority of the hook. Rae takes a good shot, but he has to slow down considerably so Buckwild and Faith can keep up: [LISTEN]

No I’m not nice boo, I’m humble and spicey
I be down to shoot the fire for my wifey, draws and nikes

86′ feat. Altrina Renee

86 feat altrina renee

This is where antiquitous becomes vintage, which is where Rae wants to find himself if he’s feeling nostalgia. The beat is a two-stepper’s paradise, with just enough boogie in the funk to make it a proper nod to the 80s. It falls short only because it sounds incomplete like an unrehearsed demo. Altrina Renee powers through, and sounds right at home next to Rae. Unfortunately we get one hook, and barely enough time to digest a description of one helluva a party: [LISTEN]

Winter time rocking the fox, hangin’ with Bruno Mars, The Lox
Sting yo, Nas’ pops, we gettin’ honeys, rap pack click in my gunny
Blowin’ two L’s Ocean’s 11 it’s money

Prince of Thieves

Prince of Thieves

“Prince of Thieves” is something you’d hear from the early 2000s. It’s a lackluster effort reminiscent of the Killa Bees offshoot. The writing is there, but Rae is an empty vessel, operating solely on fumes. As an opener it certainly sets the tone, which is that Rae’s not completely tuned in. And if he isn’t, what makes him think his listeners will be: [LISTEN]

Swim like Phelps over beats
I rhyme with the elites
Who live off the land takin’ your eats, nigga

Die Tonight

die tonight

Producer Frank G tries to give Rae a sounding board, but it never extends beyond a lack luster guitar riff and a generic horn sample. It’s trying to be epic, and Rae does deliver a biting verse or two, but overall it lacks depth. At just under three minutes Rae never has a chance to settle in, rushed from the very beginning. He does, however, have enough time to tell us how he farted and groped a girl once: [LISTEN]

Smooth Willy, chillin’ with the Spartans
Fart in front of your bitch
Squeeze her tits, move aside, pardon

Whatever, Whenever

whatever, whenever

This is a good sound for Rae. The Barry White sample is sparse and dramatic, which allows him to approach his verse at a leisurely pace. He sounds at home, and dips into a nostalgic recollection of “ghetto visions.” As a closer this song accomplishes its goal, giving fans something savory to chew on before the new album drops: [LISTEN]

Show em how we position, all of the shit glisten
Stones flooded the Smith and liquor, I’m reminiscing
Fiends still sniffin’, sons are still in prison
My pen is still scriptin’ all of them ghetto visions