The major problem with Icewater’s debut record, Polluted Water, is the cover art: Reakwon’s name is sprawled across the top and his likeness is the dominant image, and that will prove misleading for fans. Rae does appear on seven of the album’s seventeen tracks, but Polluted Water is meant to highlight his up-and-coming crew, not him. Anyone expecting the next volume of The Vatican mixtape series need look elsewhere.
If you keep that in mind, the album really isn’t a failure. Although the four emcees (Polite, Stomach, Paulie Caskets and Donnie Cash) haven’t quite found their sound, none of them are incompetent. In fact, tracks like the Marvin Gaye-aping “Mercy Me” or “Actin’ Fly” show promise. Still, there is some inconsistency in direction: The crew seems far more at home with the back-in-the-day jam “Hip Hop Tribute” than on tracks that are more in the vein of their mentor’s Only Built For Cuban Lynx-era work.
In truth, Polluted Water will probably get lost in the flood of recent and upcoming Wu-Tang-related records. But Icewater is a group worth keeping an ear out for.