As a member of the legendary Hip Hop crew Wu-tang Clan, Raekwon and his classic solo LP Only Built 4 Cuban Linx helped to define the sound the eclectic collective of New York rappers became famous for. A gritty street narrative backed up by dusty breaks and loops with several of his fellow Wu swordsmen in tow, most notably Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and his “purple tape” LP could be found blaring from street corners to the suburbs by rabid fans eager to connect to the Wu-tang movement.
OB4CL was released today (August 1) in 1995, a turning point in the rapidly changing Hip Hop landscape when the East Coast reigned supreme and still had the attention of the majors almost exclusively. Fifteen years later, a reflective and still celebrated Raekwon has done much to preserve the legacy of his solo debut – releasing a sequel in 2009 naturally titled Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. II. MTV News caught up with The Chef as he looked back to his debut album with the bravado of a world champion.
“I knew I had a classic when I formulated with these nine members in this group,” remarked a proud Raekwon about how his classic album came to fruition. “Everything at that time that we was making, we was so sharp, it was super visual already.” Raekwon continued with, “It was like something that you already knew you could get but it was just a matter of time before you could get it. When I tell you we was all at our best, it was serious!”
About OB4CL Raekwon added, “We came with Cuban Linx, my vision was already mapped out in a great way that everybody seen it. It’s like going back to the tapes and saying, ‘yo this is how we going to win the war.’ We carefully mapped it out and I knew when I made that album that in the mix of it I knew it was gonna be something that was gonna shock the world.”
Raekwon has gone on to release five studio albums in total with his latest Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang dropping earlier this year.
Happy anniversary to Raekwon and the “purple tape” Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.
Do you have any memories of Raekwon’s debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx? Tweet to us at @MTVRapFix or leave us a comment below.