The sequel to Raekwon's much loved 1995 solo debut picks up as if no time has passed. He's still rhyming about cocaine deals, hustlers and urban menace which makes for an elevated degree of difficulty, since a song about the production of crack ("Pyrex Vision") should be not only impotent in 2009, but deservedly so. The reason it works, like all of Cuban Linx, Pt 2, is that Raekwon is a poet of grime, a storyteller who understands that rap is less about an easy hook than the collision of carefully chosen words. He's also a melancholic who prefers replaying the circumstances of growing up in hell ("All my life around drug niggas, villains who want millions/ Niggas with them hoodies on with Teks in the building") to celebrating the trappings of success. With production from nearly every top name in hip-hop, it's a spooky and sad monograph not lovable, but quite powerful.