Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II
Sometimes the anticipation of something is better than the thing itself. Raekwon’s long-awaited sequel to his 1995 masterpiece, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II, falls into that category. Linx II is not a bad album by any means, but it doesn’t live up to the years of hype surrounding. Raekwon started the album several years ago and had a version ready for release as far back as 2007, but label disputes delayed it. With tracks produced by MF Doom, Dr. Dre, the RZA, J Dilla, Pete Rock, Marley Marl and Erick Sermon, and guest appearances from Method Man, Ghostface, Cappadonna, Inspectah Deck and the GZA, the album sometimes has a disjointed feel to it. But the production is flawless and Raekwon dominates each song with his impeccably delivered verses. I can’t help but think of this album in relation to its predecessor, and in that respect it’s a bit disappointing. But next to OB4CL, virtually any hip-hop album withers in comparison. On its own merit, OB4CL2 is a great record displaying all the characteristics of great Wu-Tang Clan-related records before it: the kung-fu flick intros, hard beats, soulful and/or spooky samples, abstract, slang-heavy rhymes that have become the trademark of Wu members Raekwon and Ghostface and, of course, Raekwon’s unique take on the world of cocaine, heroin, organized crime and the brutal reality of Staten Island ghettos. If you’re a fan of the Wu-tang, pick this album up immediately. Just don’t expect it to be a worthy follow-up to the original OB4CL.