Best Rapper Resurrection (2009)


This has been a great year for New York rap classicists—Jay-Z, most famously, but also Harlem's Cam'ron and Yonkers rapper Jadakiss, who released the improbably excellent and even more improbably commercially successful Last Kiss in April. But no one came back fiercer than Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon, whose long-awaited sequel to 1995's beloved Only Built 4 Cuban Linx . . . proved, against all odds, to be everything it promised: transportive, soaked in pessimism and grime, virtuosic as all hell, and a faithful second act to what is now regarded a rap classic. The record was a powerful display from a guy who could've easily had nothing left in the tank—instead, the Rae ran circles around rappers half his age, to say nothing of longtime peer Jay-Z, whose way more hyped second and third comeback had little of the vitality and almost none of the lyrical bravado of Cuban Linx 2.


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