Album Review: Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2
Wu-Tang has been one of the greatest dynasties that Hip-Hop has ever seen. Just about every group album has been stellar, not to mention that every solo album is top notch quality. Raekwon comes into Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 fourteen years after the original Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, which, to this day is a classic. The aforementioned information may pose the question: Is Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 as good as the original? The answer, in my opinion, is a definite yes. I took one run through this album in my car, and I knew immediately I was listening to a classic . Raekwon brings along an all-star cast of producers and emcees to “cook up”, without a doubt, one of the best albums of 2009. Creating a magnificent masterpiece that is just as good as it’s predecessor is no easy task, but as OB4CL2 shows, for The Chef it comes naturally.
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 takes off where Only Built 4 Cuban Linx left off perfect and precise, with Poppa Wu providing Raekwon some words of encouragement. What comes next is the brilliant burst of excellence that is my favorite track on OB4CL2 ,“House of Flying Daggers“, which is cleverly concocted by the late and very great J Dilla. Dilla’s beat is a great example of pristine production full of hard hitting drums, melodic strings and well placed vocal samples (both chanting & Kung Fu). Raekwon, Ghostface, Inspectah Deck & Method Man spit verses harder than concrete on one of the best tracks of the year. Even though the track “Pyrex Vision” is only a mere 54 seconds long, it is long enough for Raekwon to vividly describe what it’s like to put his apron on and cook in the kitchen. Chef narrates, “The Pyrex is bubblin’/the stove is broke, fuck it use the flame from the oven/the famous dozen/about to hit the streets, they buzzin’/break it down yo’, chop it like he raided your luggage”.
Raekwon & Ghostface use the superb storytelling abilities that only they are capable of, on the track “Cold Outside”, and the soulful beat that is put forth by Icewater Productions is a perfect backdrop. Another sure highlight on the album is the track “Black Mozart” which is produced by none other than the RZA, and features Inspectah Deck. RZA’s beat features eerie organ keys and powerfully placed guitar loops all underneath some lava flow lyrics. RZA gets yet another ridiculous production credit on yet another sure highlight of the album, “New Wu”. Chef brings along Tony Starks & Method Man to samurai slice the shit out of the RZA’s beat. I must say Ghost killed it the most, “…You Planet of the Apes standin’ next to King Kong/Forensic Files, ultra violet hype, sky blue Bales/laying niggas’ like ceramic tiles/I’m like Urlacher beastin’ at top of the pile/kneein’ niggas’ in the nuts nigga, damn I’m foul”.
Alchemist lends his hand to the production boards on the track “Surgical Gloves”, and Raekwon no doubt spits some vicious verses about the game. Dilla has yet another incredibly impeccable production credit on the track “Ason Jones”, which is The Chef’s tribute to ODB. Dilla’s soulful strings, glorious gospel samples and slow slamming drums create the perfect canvas for Raekwon to pay tribute to one of his good friends. “Ason Jones” is another sure highlight of the album, and it may be one of the most well produced tracks of the year. Raekwon, Cappadonna & Ghostface rip through Dilla’s spaced-out strings and leave nothing left to be salvaged. One of my personal favorite tracks on the album is “We Will Rob You”, which features Slick Rick on the hook, and GZA & Masta Killa spitting verses alongside Rae. The main reason I love this track so much is because it’s so great to hear GZA paint a picture with words, “Black niggas’ in the Jeep get the fuck out the car/put your hands where my eyes can see, or suffer a scar/he was a veteran who kept pepper spray in a canister/donut shop lounger, 38 brandisher/on top of that, the blunt smoke just rang the bell/of his Blood Hound, who had an acute sense of smell/beef trippin’, saliva drippin’ from razor sharp teeth/that was as pointy as the daggers of Indian Chiefs”.
I know this review was long, but this album is truly something special. I didn’t even get to talk about the Dr. Dre tracks on the album, and those are just as equally incredible as the rest. If there is one thing that’s clear about Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2, it’s that Raekwon can diligently deliver classics that will no doubt live up to their hype. Everything about this album is exemplary, from the production, all the way to the narrative lyrics, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 has it all. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of the top 3 releases of 2009.
9.5 Bricks out of 10