"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Brief History Of Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II (1995 - ????)

"This Better Be The Cover..."

For the benefit of those who only started listening to hip hop six years ago, Raekwon’s seminal masterpiece “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx” aka “The Purple Tape” is considered in some circles (some would say the correct circles or the “perfect” circles if you will…) to be the greatest crime rap album ever recorded in the history of mankind…ever. If there is such thing as a perfect rap record than Raekwon and his partners-in-beats-n-rhymes, RZA and Ghostface, perfected it. The record red-defined cinematic crime narratives in rap music and was the perfect culmination of… you know what? You’ve heard the record. I’ve heard the record. It’s awesome. We know this. Let’s move on for a second.


After it’s August 1995 release, Raekwon has spent the next fourteen years doing his best to slowly ruin his legacy after releasing such a seminal record by releasing two massively “underwhelming” follow-up records, making a run at Big Pun’s all-time fattest rapper record and securing the title of the “worst beat picker alive” this side of a Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones’ record. Rae has promised to rectify his rapidly declining stature in the hip hop world by releasing the uber-anticipated sequel to his debut record, “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II. Unfortunately, label politics, Dr. Dre’s legendary laziness, and Rae’s insatiable hunger for Kentucky fried, chocolate covered ham sandwiches have prevented “Cuban Linx II” from seeing the light of day. Every few months, rumors surface of this apparent “Wu-Tang Democracy’s” undeniable genius and murmurs of it’s imminent release leak onto the internets but alas, something inevitably goes awry and another year passes without the record blessing our iTunes. Recently, Rae has released the monster new song, “Wu Ohh!”, allegedly the new single from the record which has raised interest that the record may exist and not be some fantastic delusion in Corey Woods head. I thought in celebration, I would look over a brief history of “OB4CL2”’s existence on this earth and present it to you my loyal readers. Let’s see if we can learn something.


Timeline


- August 1, 1995 – “The Purple Tape” is released to an adoring, amazed public. Celebrations ensue across the world in which Rae, Ghost, and RZA are hailed for their undeniable genius. Biggie gets his feelings hurt. Cheap imitations flourish. Sales Of John Woo’s “The Killer” sky-rocket. Oddly enough, the record only sells about 500,000 copies. Apparently, Napster was ruining records even before it’s own creation. At least, that’s what the RIAA will have you believe.


- June 25, 1996 – Shawn Corey Carter releases “Reasonable Doubt” to a mostly indifferent public. About ten years later, a whole bunch of people deeply infatuated with Jay-Z’s nuts will start frontin’ like they actually listened to Jigga in ’96 and will start erroneously claiming that this record changed the face of hip hop instead of Rae and Ghost. Ignore them, they’re responsible for this monstrosity.


- September 1998– I start high school.


- November 16, 1999 – Raekwon releases his sophomore album, “Immobilarity” (an acronym for something too retarded for words), to the extreme disappointment of every solitary human alive. Apparently, Rae thought it would be a good idea to replace RZA with such surefire “Hall of Shame” producers like the Infinite Arkatechz and Triflyn and Ghostface with the legendary weed carrying force, the American Cream Team. Nobody associated with this record escaped with a career alive.


- January 25, 2000 - Ghostface Killah unleashes “Supreme Clientele” on an unsuspecting public, eventually becoming the consensus “Album Of The Decade”, and leading to the first round of public “Gee, maybe ol’ Raekwon had less to do with Cuban Linx’s success than we thoughts”….


- Nov. 2001 – George W. Bush is “quasi-kind-of-sort-of-maybe-but-not-really” elected to the position of “Our Country’s Glorious Leader” by the Supreme Court.


- 2001 – Rumors about a possible sequel to “Cuban Linx” start to manifest for the first time as the original title for Ghost’s upcoming next album come to light. Ultimately, the album manifests itself as “Bulletproof Wallets” which is probably a good thing since any potential sequel to “OB4CL” that features a Carl Thomas song automatically equals an EPIC FAIL. “The Forest” and “Strawberry” were fuckin’ wicked, though.


-September 11, 2001 - Jay-Z releases “The Blueprint”, the other consensus “Album Of the Decade”. Also, some towers fell.


- 2002 – Tray starts listening to rap music.


- December 16, 2003 – “The Lex Diamond Story” is released to the shock of everybody who assumed Rae’s “Wu-Gambino” name was actually Lou Diamonds like it said in the damn liner notes of the original album. Once again, RZA was apparently too dusted to show up but Ghostface partakes in on some of the action which saves this record from being a complete waste. Only sort-of a waste but not a complete one. An important distinction, folks!


- :Late 2004/Early 2005 – Raekwon announces his intention to release “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II” to the world! Wu-stans and fanboys rejoices in an orgy of ecstasy and self-delusion! And then nothing happens…


- November 2005 – The “first” “official” “single” for Cuban Linx II, “State Of Grace”, is released to the public. It has Al Pacino samples, it has RZA, it has Raekwon sounding focused. It’s totally awesome in every way, humanly possible. And then nothing happens…


- January 2006 – Raekwon inexplicably announces that RZA and Busta Rhymes will act as executive producers to the confusion of everybody because since when is coke rap and Busta Rhymes remotely synonymous. Five months later, when Busta Rhymes drops a fuckin’ coke rap album to the bewilderment of everybody who owned “The Coming”, this development will seem less strange and more ominous to everybody concerned. And then nothing happens…


-May 2006 – I complete college and move to New York.


-June 2006 – Raekwon signs with Aftermath Records following the less than hallowed footsteps of Rakim, Eve, Bishop Lamont, Joell Ortiz, Stat Quo, RBX, Truth Hurts and Hitmann and promises to drop “OB4CL2” in 2007 under Dre’s supervision. Hip hop fans cream their pants in anticipation but like the aforementioned unfortunate souls, Raekwon proceeds to fall victim to Dr. Dre’s irrepressible need for steroids. And then nothing happens…


- January 2007 – Raekwon drops “My Corner”, the “second” “official” “single” off of the album. The joy this song brings to my ears is immense but as with the first song nothing happens afterwards…


- November 2007 – Ghostface completes his unprecedented run of back-to-back-to-back-to-back classic albums with the release of “The Big Doe Rehab” basically cementing his status as the rightful creative genius behind the original version of the album. Nobody even bothers to complain…


- 2008 – Raekwon is dropped from Aftermath. As if that wasn’t going to happen.


- Late 2008 – Raekwon pinky swears that “Cuban Linx II” exists and is not just a concoction of his own fevered imagination. He promises that it will come out in March 2009. And then nothing happens…


- Nov. 2008 – After 15 years, Guns-N-Roses releases “Chinese Democracy.” It’s mostly mehhh. We also elect a black president. Pigs learn to fly.


- Feb. 2009 – Raekwon releases “Wu-Ohh!”, the third “yes-we-are-serious-this-damn-time-please-believe-us” “official” “single” for “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II.” It’s awesome as per usual. And then nothing happens…


- And then nothing happens…


28 comments:

Jordan said...

You completed college before starting high school? Nicely done.

DocZeus said...

Yes, I'm like a reverse Doogie Howser. I started out doing higher education and then reversed to do lower. I'm now completeling the 6th grade.

bding7 said...

Ghostface completes his unprecedented run of back-to-back-to-back-to-back classic albums with the release of “The Big Doe Rehab” basically cementing his status as the rightful creative genius behind the original version of the album.

do you mean from Bulletproof to Big Doe? Supreme to Fishscale seems more likely, and even then, we're talking one classic, one great album, and two underrated solid albums.

Badmon3333 said...

It's still kind of discouraging that Rae is laying on the ground in this album cover, and you can still see the fat roll through his hoody with no problem.

Re: Ghostface's classic run, don't forget 'Pretty Toney' is jammed in there somewhere. Between 'Toney,' 'Bulletproof' and 'Big Doe,' there's a classic album. Otherwise, I'll take 'Fishscale.'

In fact, I'd probably take either of the Masta Killa solo albums over 'Big Doe,' if for no other reason than MK proved he was, in fact, NOT the Useless Member, as we all thought.

bding7 said...

i was always under the impression that was U-God, thanks to "Black Shampoo."

DocZeus said...

Well, Supreme Clientele til Big Doe Rehab...

DocZeus said...

Well, I guess technically "Ironman" to "Big Doe Rehab" but whatever...

Ghost has a lost of classics.

brandon said...

One of the bumpier developments--before recent maybe singles got me hard for OB4CL2 again--was announcing that TRAVIS BARKER would be on the album. Maybe add that in there?

Lolz to Tray. What made him decide to suddenly listen to rap in 2002, I've wondered...

Anonymous said...

Doc, you forgot about "Blue Eagles" coming out in 2006. That was also a pretty great song that was supposed to be on the album.

Is "Wu-Oh!!" supposed to be another name for "Return To The Slums" (which is just vicious), or is it the same song?

JustChad

Badmon3333 said...

U-God WOULD be the useless member, but he has such a great voice. But you remember MK's verses on pretty much all of 'Wu-Tang Forever' (actually, you probably DON'T, except to remember that they weren't on the beat and usually didn't rhyme).

Besides, I've been inexplicably chided on this blog before for slamming "Black Shampoo."

DocZeus said...

JustChad-

Yeah, "Wu-Ohh!" is "Return To The Slums."I've heard like four different names for the song. Nah Right called it "Wu-Ohh!" so I went with that.

I don't think I've ever heard "Blue Eagles" before. If you gotta link than hook me up.

Brandon-

Travis Barker? Really? I suppose "Dope Boyz" was cool but really? But that's totally not a good sign. If Raekwon announces Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy is gonna be on the record than this could be a disaster.

Badmon-

You got lambasted for hating on "Black Shampoo?" It certainly wasn't from me. That song is the worst official Wu-Tang song on any of their albums. By a wiiiiiide margin, too.

Zilla Rocca said...

"Blue Eagles" + "State Of Grace" = Canseco/McGwire of ill cocaine hardbody Wu shit for this decade. Get that shit! "Blue Eagles" was only released as a snippet on the net (maybe 2 mins long at most) in like late '06/early '07. Shit is so dope, yo....

goathair said...

Kentucky fried, chocolate covered ham sandwiches sound delicious though.

DocZeus said...

"Kentucky fried, chocolate covered ham sandwiches sound delicious though."

Well, obviously. I'm not saying it was the wrong decision but it's keeping him from releasing the record.

Christopher said...

How about his inexplicably hyped announcement of having Necro doing beats on the record, which considering how cool some of the instrumentals on Death Rap were, wouldn't have been an issue it the song, posted shortly therafter on Rae's myspace, didn't eat dick.

Badmon3333 said...

Well, not lambasted precisely, but the Doc definitely did not agree with you on its place in the Wu pantheon.

Really, though, Cappadonna is the true useless member, and has in fact been the most disappointing solo artist from the whole fam (that is, if your expectations weren't sky-high for Dek's solo albums).

bding7 said...

yea, cappuccino's verse on 'for heaven's sake' is turrible. i thought he was all right on 'paisley darts.'

in terms of most useless, i am sticking to golden arms. how can you waste such a good voice? get superb or shorty shit stain to write for you. put that talent to some use.

DocZeus said...

"How about his inexplicably hyped announcement of having Necro doing beats on the record, which considering how cool some of the instrumentals on Death Rap were, wouldn't have been an issue it the song, posted shortly therafter on Rae's myspace, didn't eat dick."

Wait, are talking about song "Necro" that came out last year that featured Ghostface Killah talking about drool dripping down his balls? Because that song was definitively awesome.

Jonah said...

I might get shat on for this, but the mixtape that Travis Barker and Dj Am put out in fall of last year wasn't half bad. "Can't Stop" transitioning into "Juicy" was pretty tight and the drumming on it was decent.

Jay (d)eff Kay said...

as indicated by the length of your waiting for cuban linx post, I'm not investing any energy into this project till it actually releases. Seriously, like each time a rapper puts a "2" next to the record that gained him prominence, I'm supposed to believe that its gonna be good times all over again.

btw man, i thought i was the only who was disappointed by masta killa on the wu tang records. you could make a stronger case for u-god being the weakest link, but masta killa always was my least favourite.

Actually, much of this has to solely with his performance on "For Heaven's Sake" aka a track so awesome, it still makes me want to punch myself in the face (out of sheer joy, just to be clear). That track starts with an absolutely ferocious inspectah deck verse. but then masta killa decides to follow all of that "Boom master, with the faster blade, track slasher /Manufacture poems to microphones, bones fracture /Limited edition composition spark friction
non-fiction, the calm bomb keep your arm distant" heat with his usual lecturing monk steez

"Now all pay tribute to this entity
A spark that surges through the undergrowth overwhelmin the populace from the entry"

OMG. Just KILLS all the energy and tempo that deck had built up. And i don't think i'll ever forgive him for that. That monotone always sounded like a rap version of that annoying boss on office space, Bill Lumbergh. Uhhh, yeeeeeeeaah...I can just picture him being a Lumbergh type office manager "Ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too... "

but like badmon mentioned, he totally redeemed himself on his solo records, no said date in particular

DocZeus said...

Killing the energy on "For Heaven's Sake" or not, Masta Killa murders his verse on "Glaciers Of Ice."

Badmon3333 said...

Oh no question, MK was my least favorite all the way up until 'No Said Date.' And Cappadonna's uselessness mainly stems from his Nas-like penchant for picking awful beats.

tray said...

I actually think this is the best thing you've ever done. I particularly liked how I'm immediately followed by the Lex Diamond Story. I'm pretty sure that was the fifth album I'd ever bought shortly after it dropped - the first four were Get Rich or Die Tryin, The Black Album, College Dropout and the G-Unit group record. In fact I remember being in this Durham fye and debating over buying that or the new Westside Connection album and finally turning for advice to a customer who told me that "you can't go wrong with Rae." Yeah, not so much.

What made him decide to suddenly listen to rap in 2002, I've wondered...

Basically, hearing 'Hovi Baby' on the radio one day at work.

Combat Jack said...

Wow. Nicely put in proper perspective

DocZeus said...

"In fact I remember being in this Durham fye and debating over buying that or the new Westside Connection album and finally turning for advice to a customer who told me that "you can't go wrong with Rae." Yeah, not so much."

Well, that Westside Connection album was horrible, too. At least, Lex Diamonds had "Smith Bros" and "The Missing Watch" on it.

"Basically, hearing 'Hovi Baby' on the radio one day at work."

This explains so much.

Raoul said...

No one I know who adores Jay now ever heard of dude before 98. I saw Jay open up for Puffy in 97, *yes shame* I went to that abomination of a tour

Trey Stone said...

i mean while it's not my favorite Jay album and i'm not talking in terms of influence, i don't think the idea that RD has better production and rapping than Cuban Linx is all that radical.

sing_o_muse said...

masta killa always was my least favourite. ... his performance on "For Heaven's Sake"...I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too... "

Damn that's brilliant.

I'm not too hopeful for Raekwon or OB4CL2 these days. Two examples: 1> Ghost's Yolanda's House (from Big Doe), which is starts strong with Ghost and Method Man. Then comes Raekwon with a full 1/3 of the song still to go. As soon as he comes in it sounds like the song is over and fading out, for an _entire_ minute. 2>"My Corner"'s excuses.