Cormega - Raw Forever

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"Raw Forever" is still worthy of a purchase from the Queensbridge emcee's many fans, but it may not be enough new material to leave them fully satisfied.

It’s a little hard to believe that it’s been a decade since Cormega’s classic The Realness was released. Since then he has seen nearly every up and down that the typical rap career goes through – a little bit of beef, a little bit of reconciliation, some label drama, and an effort to do something besides music (in his case start his Legal Hustle record label and put out a DVD). So what’s left? Naturally a decade’s worth of music is finally worth a greatest hits compilation, and being backed by a live band is always fun, so Cormega has decided to give his fans a 2-disc project that tackles both at once.

The resulting Raw Forever is unpredictable. On one side of things there’s nothing new to see – Corey’s greatest musical moments are narrowed down to eleven tracks and grouped together for a trip down Queensbridge memory lane (included are “Get Out My Way,” “The Saga,” and “Dead Man Walking,” among others). But the other half of the LP is where the surprises are. Cormega’s trademark monotonous delivery style isn’t something that in theory would be guaranteed to mesh well with a live band, but in actuality it comes together with the sounds of The Revelations (of Wu-Tang Chamber Music fame) surprisingly well. As if that wasn’t enough of a stretch, Cormega also decided to try something new by neglecting to name each track on this portion of the album, instead settling for a Roman numeral corresponding to each song’s placement in the track list to serve as a name for the song. It’s neither a good or bad thing, really, but it will likely prove to be an inconvenience for anyone wishing to discuss the album, as all they have to reference songs with is numbers.

With more than enough experience under their belts, The Revelations provide instrumentation polished enough that most of the album listeners may forget that the beats came from people playing instruments rather than a producer chopping up samples. It’s really only obvious on tracks such as “IV” featuring Sha Money XL and Maya Azucena which is actually a remix of sorts of the Nottz-produced “What Did I Do” from Cormega’s 2009 release  Born and Raised. Brooklyn songstress Azucena sounds fantastic picking up the vocal side of things, however the instrumental adaptation of the original sample is cumbersome and begins to drag a bit. Also slightly disappointing is the inclusion of two instrumental-only tracks (the closers – “X” and “XI”). Though The Revelations deserve their time to shine, with only eleven tracks of new sounds for fans, diminishing Cormega’s presence to only nine of them is underwhelming. 

Standouts include “I,” the introductory track, showcasing Cormega wasting no time getting deep as he touches upon envy, friendship, and more with lines such as “especially when you on and he wish it was him, in the position you in, that’s when the resentment begins.” Queens comes together on “VI” featuring AZ and Nature, a refreshing offering, while Cormega reminds people that “Corey about making money no doubt, only time I chase the past is when Jordan’s come out.”

Perhaps the best thing to come out of Raw Forever is the potential for an incredible live show from Cormega, with The Revelations as backup and the features such as Lil Fame of M.O.P., Tragedy Khadafi, Kool DJ Red Alert, Havoc, and more coming through for guest appearances. With the live band fueling a different context for Cormega’s lyrical style, Raw Forever is still worthy of a purchase from the Queensbridge emcee’s many fans, but it may not be enough new material to leave them fully satisfied.


Additional note from the writer: HipHopDX doesn’t usually rate “Greatest Hits” compilations. Though revisiting Cormega’s catalog is always a welcomed task, one has to wonder where “Love In Love Out” is. What about “Fallen Soldiers”? “Thun & Kicko”? Though we might not have gathered up the same eleven tracks if provided the task, we’re still not mad at the selection.


  • Jonathan J-Ronin Marvin

    this is fiya! go cop this! its in stores now!

  • Brian Absolute Omosanya

    I gotta hear that!

  • Cyrus

    I put my heart in my lyrics everytime I sit down to write My *Source* a inspiration, ain't three and a half mics I must have been an MC in my past life presently I'm unquestionably poetic, I'm mad nice people act like I don't deserve nothing I got I grew up in the spot, my sleep was interrupted by customers knocks some of y'all should just stop the animosity you got for me luck it was not for years we ran our projects like a marathon, its catastrophic our time, death, and pride came out on conquest subsequently some are with me others ain't, yet the gutter's within me I wish for nothing except that my mother was with me some place judgement against me based on nothing but envy they pray for My Downfall like the song by Biggie

  • X

    Cormega is one of my favorite rappers. Not many can match his depth, but this album is a piece of shit. Another best of compilation, on disc 1, he's already packaged one of those. How many times can you drop your greatest hits and try to sell it? Disc 2 is a mix mash of live shit, mostly recent stuff. Cormega, please drop a real studio album. the Realness was undeniable, one of the biggest underground rap records ever. He hasn't been able to come close since, because he's too inactive and when he does drop shit, it's half hearted material like this. Elzhi offered a STRONGER album over live beats with the illmatic remake and gave it away for free. I don't know what the expectations were, but I was disappointed. 2/5

  • Anonymous

    Very good review, even though I'd rate this somewhere around 2.5 Stars. Cormega isn't a good rapper by any means, his delivery is waaay too weak to rap with a live band and this shit doesn't deserve a purchase. Just lazy.

  • stanislav

    The album is great. The second CD is perfect and the first one is more then great. I give it 5 stars

  • Arkitek

    "Queens comes together on VI featuring AZ and Nature" um sorry Amanda but I have to ask how your writing album reviews on rappers like Cormega and you don't even know that AZ is from BROOKLYN!!! If you would of said "the Firm come together" that would of made more sense at least but it's just shocking the lack of hip hop knowledge some of you HipHopDX editors/writers have...

  • aviefresh

    great article, i was never a fan of Cormega's delivery but i have felt a few of his tracks. I never pictured him with a live band, but that seems to be the cool new thing. Everyone is hopping on Elzhi's nuts apparently. I wont give a star rating to mega cause i haven't heard the album yet. However, this piece makes me want to hear it so kudos and 5 stars to the author.

  • Boss DonDon

    Review is fine as it is; 67, how about you fall back and go back to what you do best, eating pussy!! stfu This is basically a Remixed Album of old material. No new songs means any rating higher than a 3.5 is unwarranted...

  • 67

    Amanda suck a dick! It's a good album i give it a four; but DX is slippin' with the reviews.


    Album is dope. Thank you for this stupid review AMANDA BASSA. 4.5/5. I gave it a perfect 5.