Raekwon To Release Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Ii
(EMI) With Wu-Tang Clan's noisemaking, groundbreaking 1993 arrival on rap's desolate East Coast landscape, the music and the culture were forever altered. Expectations were shattered and rebuilt much more stringently. From that unassailable 9-man collective emerged one particularly salient voice, a true mouthpiece for the people: Raekwon. With uncanny lyrical vividness and poignancy, Raekwon painted bleak, biting portraits of urban life. Never had Staten Island seemed so intriguing, so cinematic.
In 1995, Raekwon aka the Chef stepped out from under the Wu-Tang umbrella to release his solo debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Instantly heralded as a classic, the album retains its sheen and substance fourteen years later. For years, fans have frothed for the promised sequel. Well, salivate no more. Come September 8th, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II is set to impact like no rap record in recent history. In fact, overseas hype already has Cuban Linx II trumping another prominent release, Jay-Z's forthcoming Blueprint 3.
The first imprint off Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II was "New Wu" featuring Clan members Method Man and Ghostface Killah. Produced by the RZA, the production maestro behind Wu-Tang, "New Wu" bears that beloved sparse, eerie boom-bap. "New Wu" set the stage for current single "House of Flying Daggers," which springs from the uncommonly gifted hands and ears of J. Dilla. Dilla, in wanting to work with Raekwon, created music specifically for the Chef to incorporate on Linx II. "House of Flying Daggers" bears Dilla's trademark soulful samples, but the beat is a departure from his headnod fare. Insistent, cantankerous, almost militant, "House of Flying Daggers" takes no prisoners. A full complement of Clansmen- Inspectah Deck, GZA, Ghostface Killah and Method Man- contributes seething verses, as if each MC could barely wait for another to finish before grabbing the mic. Raekwon respectfully likens the song to "Triumph," Wu-Tang Clan's stellar single off their 1997 sophomore album, Wu Tang Forever.
It's been an odyssey for Raekwon, a journey full of epics. Nearing two decades in the rap game and he's as pithy and relevant as ever. He's finishing up the massively successful Rock the Bells nationwide tour alongside artists such as Nas, Damian Marley, the Roots, Ice Cube, Common, Big Boi from OutKast, as well as his Clan kin GZA and RZA. His place is the game is already assured. But Only Built 4 Cuban II, the album everyone wanted but some suspected would never happen, cements the Chef's legacy as one of the best ever. On September 8th, fourteen years after the first installment, history will be made again. Raekwon is the truest Top Chef.
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