By Rob Markman
On August 1, MTV News caught up with Raekwon to chat about the 17-year anniversary of his 1995 classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…. Not only did the Chef talk about his mindset in creating his classic solo debut, he also surprised us by announcing that he will be adding another chapter to the series with Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. III.
“I know that, at the end of the day, people are paying attention to The Three, and my thing is when I give them The Three, I wanna give you The Three and I’m gonna give it to you at the level you can respect it,” Rae told MTV News confirming that the LP will come before 2014. “I just want people to be open and understanding that he is concerned with us wanting to have Three, and at the same times, he gonna do other things to impress the masses as well.”
Before he drops the long-awaited third installment to the Cuban Linx series, Rae says he will drop another project equally as powerful.
When Rae dropped the original OB4CL on August 1, 1995, his group, the Wu-Tang Clan, was already taking the world by storm with their kung-fu-themed rap standouts. With Cuban Linx, the Chef took the Wu’s already familiar sound and added a mafioso twist by crafting a cinematic crime narrative throughout the course of the 18-track opus. Before the LP was released, Raekwon knew he had an album that would resonate with rap fans everywhere, even if the people at his label did not.
“When I made that album I had so many visions for it; I was a super-visionary,” he told MTV News over the phone on Wednesday. “I would try to create everything to prove to the world, to prove to my company that this album is classic; it’s ahead of its time.”
Not everyone was a believer. “I remember a lot of times people didn’t understand that I was a dreamer on the level that I was with this project. And to be able to know that it attacked the world in the great way that it did and that it’s legendary, all I can remember is telling people ‘I told you so, I told you so.’ … I told them then it was a classic.”
With songs like the sinister-sounding “Criminology” or the dramatic “Glaciers of Ice,” Rae, along with the album’s co-star Ghostface Killah, left a rap blueprint that would inspire future generations of MCs. Even R&B superstar Chris Brown paid homage, first at the 2012 MTV VMAs when he danced to Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck” and then again in June when he performed on “The Today Show” wearing the Polo brand Snow Beach pullover which Rae made famous in the Clan’s 1993 “Can It All be So Simple” music video. “I love that kid Chris Brown for that. He just really been showin’ his Wu support forever to me,” Chef said.
Though Rae has released a number of highly regarded LPs, Cuban Linx, or The Purple Tape as fans have so affectionately dubbed it, remains his crown jewel. In 2009, Raekwon revisited his classic with the carefully crafted Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. II and he intends to supply the demand and complete a trilogy.
What is your favorite track from either Raekwon’s OB4CL or OB4CL II? Sound-off in the comments!