Album Review: Raekwon- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx PT II

15 years ago view-show 499,158

cover_phixr2For several years now, when the topic of Raekwon’s [Click for Raekwon intrview] Only Built 4 Cuban Linx PT. II album was brought up, you might as well have been talking about mythical beasts like the Loch Ness Monster, or better yet—a unicorn.  (Pre-Order Here)

Reason is: Whenever it was supposed to happen, it didn’t, playing with the emotions of loyal Wu-Tang fans and “purple tape” owners everywhere.

But a new day has dawned, and for the folks who patiently waited, (virtually the entire Hip-Hop community) they can now say they know where they were when OB4CL2 was FINALLY released.

Staying with the identical mindset, as if he was stuck in a time capsule since 1995, Raekwon manages to actually create a sequel that is indeed fitting of being called a sequel.

Of course his Wu brethren make the cut, along with peers like Jadakiss [Click for Jadakiss interview], Styles P, Busta Rhymes, Beanie Sigel, and Slick Rick.

On the other side of the vocal booth glass, you’ll find names like Scram Jones, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, J Dilla, The Alchemist [Click for Alchemist interview], Dr. Dre, and RZA in your liner notes when it comes to production.

After a brief word from Papa Wu on the ‘Return Of The North Star’ intro, The Chef doesn’t waste time, and gives his followers what they’ve been yearning for with poisonous darts like ‘House Of Flying Daggers’ (feat. Ghostface Killah, GZA, Method Man, and Inspectah Deck), ‘Sonny’s Missing,and ‘Cold Outside’ (feat. Ghostface Killah and Suga Bang).

The lone cardinal sin Raekwon commits on ‘Pyrex Vision’ is teasing the listeners with only 54 seconds of something that’s on the verge of getting you hooked like the paraphernalia he talks about on the song.

RZA only makes two appearances behind the boards on OB4CL2, but he makes them memorable ones with ‘Black Mozart’ (feat. Inspectah Deck), and the instant-classic of ‘New Wu’ (feat. Ghostface Killah and Method Man).

Raekwon then goes it alone on the flawless production of ‘Surgical Gloves’ provided by The Alchemist , followed by the Scram Jones-produced ‘Broken Safety’ (feat. Jadakiss and Styles P).

‘Ason Jones’ is a well-done tribute track dedicated to fallen Wu-Tang member, Old Dirty Bastard, where the hook consists of excerpts from an interview conducted with ODB long before his passing.

J Dilla continues to bless MC’s posthumously, as he has four placements on OB4CL2, with ‘10 Bricks’ (feat. Cappadonna and Ghostface Killah) being one of his strongest contributions.

In the end, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx PT. II was well worth the wait, with Rae putting an exclamation point on the project with ‘Have Mercy’ (feat. Beanie Sigel and Blue Raspberry), ‘Fat Lady Sings,’ ‘We Will Rob You’ (feat. Slick Rick, GZA and Masta Killa) and ‘Canal Street.

Paired with production that surpasses all expectation, Raekwon delivers his signature picture-painting flow to perfection. In an age where most would consider an MC of his caliber to be in his twilight, The Chef proves that there’s more left in his tank than people think.

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx PT. II is a fitting title to compliment the first album, which basically helped jumpstart Hip-Hop to the next level.

Raekwon’s concentration to make sure this project remained in the same vein was a procedure that was executed right down to the letter. So with that said, it just goes to the point that Hip-Hop can never die, because Wu-Tang is forever…

Rating: 4.5