Purple Music: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 Raekwon Edition

Eight million stories nigga… Take ya’ll niggas somewhere man, ya’ll niggas never heard niggas rhyme like this before, man.  This ain’t no Wizard of Oz shit neither, man.  Real man. Ayo…” –Surgical Gloves, Raekwon Only Built for Cuban Linx Part 2

If you weren’t paying attention before, I suggest you go ahead and make that purchase and pick up the Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Part 2 by Chef Raekwon and guest starring Tony Starks AKA Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan. Seriously, it already dropped on September 9th, so you’re already all late and you need to hurry up and make the purchase if you are serious about hip hop. I’m not even kidding about this album because it is that deep.

Write this down: Raekwon is holding the title right now for a brand of lovable thug that New York is known for. But just like most Wu-Tang albums, it is not just what he says, but how he proclaims it that makes the hood music worth listening to. Raekwon is a notorious braggart of larcenous repute and the shit that he spits in the studio is fueled by his own reality of coming up in the “Mean Streets” of Staten Island –also like most of the Wu-Tang Clan.  A great value, the record is a barrage of 18 tracks (What A Bargain !) designed to wake up real street music aficionados from a slumbering haze. 

Raekwon keeps it real with drug references in titles of songs like “Pyrex Vision,” “Baggin Crack,” and “10 Bricks.” (Shout outs to the Original Gangster, New York legend, O.C. who supplied a break beat extended by Marley Marl –lifted straight off another album ahead of its time in, O.C.’s 1997 masterpiece, Jewelz.)  What separates Raekwon is his willingness to continue to embrace a lifestyle of cooking crack cocaine in “Pyrex,” even though he is far removed from the days when he was supposedly forced into the profession of drug dealer as a youth. In that regard, he is not unlike Jay-Z, except when Raekwon puts the shit down on wax he isn’t necessarily trying to make you dance, or impressing you with street credentials.

The Wu-Tang Clan is above that and Raekwon delivers a beautifully crafted product designed to get you into that mind frame of New York ghetto corruptions and destruction. I guess some people need more help than others getting there.  The album unapologetically plunges you into a world that you, most likely, could never survive in.  Now that I think about it, Raekwon never said he didn’t choose the life on his own and I can’t recall any excuse ever being made. Nihilism ain’t really got shit on gangster rap, anyway. Some of the despair in Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 would undoubtedly be wholly intolerable if it were not for the intricate production and slicing lyricism. The production seems to bear a fair share of the weight of urban pessimism by echoing thumping bass lines.

Only Raekwon and Ghostface are willing to delve that deep into their pasts of crack selling, shooting niggers, and generally robbing motherfuckers. “We Will Rob You” even employs Slick Rick, hip hop storytelling icon.  Johnny Blaze, also known as Method Man, slides through on  Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 but even when others from the Wu-Tang Clan make guest appearances they tend not to glorify negative, criminal rants. (This void has been even more pronounced with the passing of Old Dirty Bastard, and he is shouted out on “Ason Jones” produced by the late J Dilla) Enter Raekwon who changes the game by creating another album of murder music made for niggers to do nigger shit.

Well most of my friends aren’t niggers, and they bought Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2, so they could bump it and escape into a fantasy land. Mission accomplished –and not that fake George Bush shit either, because Raekwon gives up the goods on every single track. There is something interesting to hear in just about all of the songs on the album and so I must give it a stellar review. You just can’t play anything from this album in front of your kids because it is so explicit that it is beyond obscene for their bourgeoisie asses.

On the other hand, there are some cuts on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 that are certain to be in the official thug party rotation for decades. (I don’t think that Jay-Z is going to be able to say that about Blueprint 3 when it is all said and done.) The difference between making hip hop and hip pop has never been more apparent as niggers have entered into the over thirty club and double O-G status by even the most conservative ghetto pecking orders. Raekwon lets the kids have their day, but he still raps about what he knows the best.

Case in point, in between Blueprint albums Jay-Z dropped Kingdom Come and got his grown man on and even teamed up with a corporate sponsor in Budweiser. Raekwon basically said “Gihad,” and he clearly wasn’t concerned about selling records to your average rap fan when he put down Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2. Just like the first classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx album the music was tailor-made for a subculture so small and minute that dare I say that the real niggers that would purchase it are probably already all dead or incarcerated. Raekwon’s debauchery knows no bounds, and Ghostface is right there to back him up together with the Wu-Tang Clan in incremental steps, as the album cover alludes. The second iteration of Raekwon going for self is another classic.

I’m not going to waste time getting into the intricacies of each track and what it could do for you. I will tell you this, though: if you ever need a soundtrack to commit a murder to, or bag up your drugs to, this is it. If you are mature enough to hear the stories and let it end with the fantasy, you’re going to love Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 right along with the gangsters and niggers in the “Penitentiary.” This is that thug music that we speak of. Run out there and tell the world that DannyKnuckles put you on to Raekwon. I bet you hear “Canal Street” at homecoming this year, too.  There are DJ’s probably mixing that with the Jadakiss right now.  Erick Sermon, Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, and the RZA all lent their talents to this excellent example of why we even listen to this nonsense, so get on it.

Oh, and no free music from me on this. You can listen to some of the music on You Tube and all that, but I’m telling you that you’re not getting the full benefit unless you go out there and support it. (I don’t mean that you should get out there and rob someone with Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 playing in the background, although that would be bad-ass.) In the spirit of supporting the artists that supply us with concepts, I’m going to be giving away a copy of the next chapter in the chronicles of Wu-Tang, Ghostface Killah’s new Ghostdini Wizard of Poetry in the Emerald City. Details tomorrow.

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