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When Ghostface Killah and Raekwon took over Boston’s Paradise Rock Club this past Friday night, their presence wasn’t only intensely felt throughout the venue–it was worshipped. The Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 20th Anniversary Tour kicked off earlier this month and wraps up at the end of August. The rappers have undeniably solidified their place in music history–Wu Tang Clan is arguably the most vital hip hop collective since the genre’s inception. This grandeur wasn’t lost on either emcee; amidst unadorned heavy lidded beats Raekwon expressed his awe of the record’s staying power. “We made this album for niggas who hustled. We gonna take ya’ll back 20 years and if ya’ll know these songs we wanna hear ya’ll…this shit is lit up.”
That turned out to be quite the understatement; the sold out club was clamored with diehard Wu fans vying for the best spot in the building. The chemistry between the two made for quite the spectacle: Ghostface seamlessly recited his quiet storm raps laced with sneaky boasts while Raekwon remained anchored in chilly conceits and jarring phrases. “Incarcerated Scarfaces” and “Rainy Dayz” carried an almost elusive energy; “Can It All Be So Simple” and “Ice Cream” were tracks better left for the audience to carry. The deceptive emotionalism of “Heaven and Hell” flooded the whole room with its grit and explosive delivery.
Of course, the evening wouldn’t have been complete without a tribute to the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard. “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and “Got Your Money” were given in slivers, but that didn’t strip them of their sentiment. While Raekwon proudly advocated for everyone in attendance to pick up Ghostface’s latest project, 12 Reasons To Die II, Ghostface playfully prodded the audience of its Red Sox and Yankees fans. Wu Tang classics like “C.R.E.A.M.,” “Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin’ To Fuck Wit,” and “Triumph” also crept their way into the pair’s set. The insular nature of Wu Tang shows is their most addicting characteristic by far. The visceral tumult of each performance, coupled with each rapper’s precise detailing and rawboned lyricism, makes them as timeless as their records.