Former Wu-Tang affiliate and general hell raiser, Hell Razah (Chron Smith) is on a new path: on September 28th he brought us Heaven Razah, an album preaching peace, redemption and other bits of arcane religiosity. Themes aside, though, Hell Razah’s sixth solo effort in ten years exhibits his raw flow, and his keen understanding of rhythm.
The first half of the album was incredible with track after track of expressive, deeply symbolic lyrics entrenched in head nod-inducing production. “Book of
Heaven Razah,” “Raised in Hell,” and “Cinematic” served as the main foundation on which the beginning of the album was supported with other catchy hooks like “Medical Kush” and “Negro Angelitos” filling in the gaps.
My issue with this album is the course the second half took. It’s not that any of the songs were particularly bad or that there was a lack of fire, but it seemed as though the latter parts took on a dénouement; a slowing of pace from the early proclamations to that of a more soulful worship. This is, of course, Hell Razah’s prerogative, but I would caution any artist who was inclined to end their CDs as anticlimactically.
Please don’t misunderstand, there are some killer tracks on the second half of this record.
“My Testimony,” “Heaven on Earth” and the hidden bonus track, “Heaven Sent” were all worth hanging around to hear, and it really comes down to a matter of taste: Does one create an album that stays one hundred percent true to his artistic vision or does he stick close to it while making his product most marketable?
The second half of the album was only disappointing by the standard that the first half set. Is this good or bad? Should audience expectations be met or should they just be thankful they were created in the first place? In this case, it’s safe to say that Heaven Razah, a concept album, if you will, is very much worth a listen as long as your prepared for the artistic journey.