The First review is in.. I'll edit this post and add my review on Sept 8th
Raekwon - Only Built For Cuban Linx 2 Review (WORLD EXCLUSIVE)
July 21st, 2009 · 1 Comment
“A Toast To The Best To Ever Do It”
Lyric on final track of the album
A few hours ago, I had the pleasure of being the only blogger/journalist/anyone who has had a chance to listen to the much anticipated “Only Built For Cuban Linx 2″.
Every since speaking with Raekwon the last time he was in town, I’ve been very excited to hear this project and honestly, it doesn’t disappoint.
Below are just some of my thoughts. At this stage, I don’t have titles for the tracks but do have most of the features and production credits. Hope you enjoy it
The album starts with a skit. The beat is soulful, very smooth.
A voice that begins to speak. Its Papa Wu and he’s speaking to the rapper.
“Yo Rae, that you baby, heard all these things about you … we went through so many trials and tribulation, watch the people that cheat you”. Not only is Papa Wu dropping knowledge, but he reminds the listener just how far the rapper from Staten has come.
Already from the sound of the track and the opening skit, it sets up a mature album without the raw, gritty sound we are familiar with on Only Built For Cuban Linx.
Rae has gone through so much and hes taken it in his stride.
Starts off with the classic Shaolin fighting sounds. I think to myself, this is a RZA beat. As the upbeat track is in full flow, I’m still thinking this is a RZA beat. I’m completely wrong, its actually a J-Dilla beat.
Already bopping my head, Rae fires some dope rhymes and some swagger “I’ve always been an ill dude”. Ghostface then rolls through and adds some style. Method Man is also featured on this joint. This is the album version, but the single version which will drop next week will have GZA on the hook. Its called “Flying Daggers”
Pete Rock produces this next street and grimey track. Its a street tale and its vintage Raekwon.
He’s looking to make that paper. One line he raps “I haven’t got my money yet”
The third track on the album features Erick Sermon. It has good chemistry. This is followed by what I’m guessing will be called “Its cold outside”. It has the hook from Rainy Days “Its cold outside” but essentially the track is about Raekwon and everything he’s faced from his street life, his music right through to the present. It also features Ghostface.
Track 6 on the album is produced by the legendary RZA with a rich sounding record. “That black Mozart shit right here”, that’s a lyric that sums up the track.
This is followed by a skit with Raekwon flossing. “yo where them Levi’s at”. He picks out some Gucci.
Then the album goes into some vintage Raekwon and Ghostface. The chemistry is still there, they compliment each other very well. It has an old school feel to it. This is followed by Criminology 2.
Then the album takes a mature turn. Something we didnt hear on the first album, soulful beats. This is the first of many tracks that show the Chef reflecting. “In order to be a general, you still need to be a solider”.
The hook goes “The Fat Lady Sings”.
A skit follow this and it seems Raekwon is getting cut out of the street life. A person says to Rae “The bosses dont want to war with you … delete the friendship”.
Then comes one of my favourite joints on the album. Its another Dilla beat. It had my face all screwed up! It features Ghostface. The joint has that Wu feeling. I was expecting the great late Dilla to come with a Wu-sounding record but he comes hard!
Then comes another mature sounding track. Its a RZA produced one. Its a chilled out record, something you can zone out to. It features a German singer on the hook who is very very talented.
Track 15 is one of few Dr. Dre tracks on the album. Raekwon raps “I grew up on the bad side” and later “talking that cocaine rap, that’s what we live for”.
I knew straight away that the track was produced by Dre. The use of the piano said it all.
As that song fades out, I’m still on the sofa wondering whats going to come next!
I hear the Shaolin fighting sounds, im expecting Method Man or Inspectah Deck, instead I hear the raspy voice of Yonkers own, Jadakiss. This is definitely a street joint. Styles also blesses the track.
The legend that is Slick Rick does the hook on the next joint. He sings “we will, we will rock you”. Slick doesn’t rhyme on the record, he just does the hook. Raekwon comes through with his vintage flow. What’s amazing is that the joint was produced by GZA’s teenage son Kareem who I’m told is about 15-16 but I’m not sure.
As the album comes to a close, I’m still wondering what more can I expect. In my mind, I’m thinking if I’m going to hear the Nas record, was it done? Did Esco come through??
But then my attention is taken away by Beanie Sigel who features on a joint and he KILLS it!!! Good energy and its compliments the Chef. The track is about life in jail and being trapped. Sigel came through on that joint for real!
We are on track 19 now, its another chilled joint with a soulful sample. Its not as grimy and funnily enough, it will appeal to the female Wu Tang fans. I say “funnily enough” because even the males gonna like this track (i think i’ll say no homo at this point lol). But seriously, a nice joint but the only difference between this and the other tracks is the content. Rae is talking more about boats, Gucci, Louis Vuitton. Its a feel-good joint and Rae asks the listener to “Walk with me”.
Alchemist record also makes the cut. You already know its a street record with the Wu-Tang member going in hard. This is followed by a fantastic Dr. Dre beat. Its a horn filled track. This beat is banging. I was trying to pick out lines but the beat was so nice, i found myself just enjoying Rae flowing effortlessly with Dr. Dre behind the boards. Real nice Hip Hop joint.
The album is coming to a close now. While reeling over some of the joints I’ve heard so far, I didn’t manage to catch the next one. I think the following line from the hook summed up the track. “Who can you trust, look up ahead, you know we got sharpshooters”.
The final track on the album, which RZA co-produced I hear. This will be the biggest surprise to everyone but a VERY nice one at that.
The track opens with a skit. New Wu plays in the background, there’s loads of chatter and it seem like Raekwon is walking through a crowd with them praising him. There’s fireworks followed by a pop of a champagne bottle…its a celebration.
“Toast to the best who ever done it”.
This beat is actually my favourite of the album. Firstly whats crazy about it is it samples Elton John’s “Yellow brick Road”. Its a classic Elton joint. Now I’m bugging out. I’m thinking “DAAAMN, Raekwon got Elton John to give the go-ahead. Elton has only given his work to Tupac, Kanye West and a UK artist by the name of Ironik.
The story goes….
RZA and Elton are good friends, RZA reached out to Elton and told him about the project. They sent the beat to Elton and he immediately signed off on the record and actually really likes it.
A great end to a solid album.
Ok, so there’s no Nas on the album. I know everyone is disappointed and I’m sure both Nas & Rae are too but it doesnt take away from the fact that Only Built For Cuban Linx 2 is a solid effort.
The production on it is tight. There isn’t one joint where I’m going “yeah, I’ll skip that”. The album has a variety. There’s joints on there to get you hyped, a joint to listen with your lady, a joint to zone out on and a classic Wu-Tang posse cut.
I know people will ask “Is it better than the first OBFCL?”. My response would be, don’t compare Raekwon to Raekwon, compare the album to whats out now. The first album was in a different time, the artist was in a different place so it would be impossible to compare.
The features are pretty good. I didn’t get to hear Erick Sermon’s verse but in terms of guest verses that I heard, Beanie Sigel kills it with his rhymes. But Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck, Method Man, Jadakiss, Styles P, and of course Ghostface all appear on the record
Has the Chef lost any game? Hell no! Is his flow still flawless? Hell yes!
I definitely want to hear the album again just to listen to the lyrics.
September 8th is the release date. I suggest Hip Hop fans pick this one up.
Raekwon aint nothing to f*ck with, Wu-Tang Clan aint nothing to f*ck with!!!
1. Return of The North Star (Featuring Popa Wu)
2. House of Flying Daggers (Featuring Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah & Method Man)
I like how this opens the album up on some hard/fast paced, the beat by J-Dilla goes hard on here, Inspectah Deck opens this up pretty solid with his verse sounding better than he has in a long time so that's a plus. Raekwon comes in real hungry on here his sword is still sharp
"Fly criteria, bury me in Africa/With whips and spears, and rough diamonds out of Syria"......"And speak with the youth in the spot, eat the fresh fruit in the crop/All these hip hoppers eat cock/You could see me in the street or the yacht/I'd rather be promoting your block or buying fresh sneakers with gwops"
Raekwon definitely picks up where Deck leaves off on this track going even harder. Ghostface has the MVP award on this track, everything is point with this guy, his lyrics, voice, delivery all on point it's like he's never even lost a step and it does sound very easy for this guy to do, he just smashes this track. Method Man does his thing on the closing tip, his flow is still there, lyrics are sharp sounding harder than he did on Blackout II. I Love this line right here
"See these fans can't resist the rush, they Wu-Tang for life/Scarred for life, they can't forget the cuts"
That's so true, that's why most of ya'll clowns are still here. Anyways.... 4.5/5
3. Sonny's Missing
I was worried about this, I was wondering how Raekwon would do on his own, the first Cuban Linx Raekwon only had about 2-3 solo tracks on it, he has a good number of solo tracks on here but this is definitely good right here, I'm definitely feeling the street tale he delivers on here, this is was Cuban Linx is about right here, Lyrics are so vivid on here, you can see the whole story unfold in your mind. This line right here gets me hyped everytime
"He had the steal on 'im, niggaz went savage, they had him spread out
T position, opened his jeans up
Shot him in the leg bone, he rose up like Kung Tut"
That shit was crazy, Raekwon is just thinking on a whole new level right there. Plus this is nice and short not too long. I'm feeling this track alot. 4.5/5
4. Pyrex Vision
Everything about this track is perfect, Nice and short, straight up coke bubbling on this shit. Raekwon just goes in, he does a U-God and just throws it right in your face no games. Marley Marl definitely came through with this beat, them bubbling sounds got me buggin over here, this shit is that 21st century grimy shit right here. 5/5
5. Cold Outside (Featuring Suga Bang Bang & Ghostface Killah)
This had to grow on me right here, but it definitely did, especially in the car this sounds 3x better. The hook is pretty dope Suga does his thing I always thought he came through whenever he was on something so I wasn't bothered by this hook at all. I'm loving the horns on this beat, it just makes this shit realer, you can feel this track more. Raekwon and Ghostface definitely deliver on this Rae hasn't lost a step I mean damn
"Religious with hammers, fakes get jammed up
Cakes get battered, coming through to get it, them transactions
Blood stinking fiends, machine guns, cannons and teams
Baking sodas, gold Rovers and gophers"
His calm flow even makes the rhyme sound better, I'm glad he's matured on this one alot. Ghostface delivers his heartfelt verse, you feel cold listening to what he has to say
"They found a two year old, strangled to death
With a "Love Daddy" shirt on in a bag on the top of the steps
Police blowing niggaz, NARCs and judges
Me and son had beef, I had to murk him, we supposed to be brothers
Cause he came home fronting, feeling like that I owe him something
Cause I'm getting money, drive a little something something
Renee got AIDS, with five kids smoked out
House is brick, bills haven't been paid in days
A Brooklyn man's a molestor, court case and the crime's raising
SWAT stickers on the church, they Satan
Holiday season is here and I'm vexed
Who the fuck made Christmas up? I'm fucking broke, it ain't making no sense
Newports are $7.50, a box of Huggies is off the meat rack
She's back, thirty days, she relapsed
Our troops need to leave Iraq
And rap niggaz need to go on strike so we can get more cash"
This nigga whole verse is just COLD. Overall they definitely deliver on here no doubt about it. 4.5/5
6. Black Mozart (Featuring Inspectah Deck & Rza)
Rza definitely delivers on here, I'mma tell you what my uncle told me "Rza never left the clan, the clan left Rza" that's real, it shows on here, Rza delivers a stellar offering on this Pt. II. Back to the rhyming tip, Raekwon is obviously letting Deck take this one on here, as he just goes in and comes out on this one. Inspectah Deck takes the lead and runs with it
even better than his first serving on the album, he is just solid on here taking it back on his verse. This is definitely that Black Mozart shit right here. 5/5
7. Gihad (Featuring Ghostface Killah)
When this first came out months back I barely pay attention to it, but when I heard this in the speakers I was like "Oh shit" This bass goes hard for real, I didn't even know Necro did the beat until recently, this shit goes mad hard. This is that classic Wu feel R.A.G.U. a straight up hood tale "Chef in the kitchen cooking up with the crimey's" that shit get me hyped every time I hear it, peep this line though "And everybody love vintage, you see like 4, 5 niggas With half moons and wave intentions" DAMN! Raekwon....Ghostface delivers a classic tale about fucking one of his Sons bitches, the question is....is he talking about his real son of one of his mans???? Whatever the case may be this is classic Ghost right here and Ghost at the end of this is just classic. 5/5
8. New Wu (Featuring Ghostface Killah & Method Man)
I don't know about ya'll but this was a 5/5 for me on first listen, Rza delivers another great offering on the album and they go in on this shit. If this is a preview of that joint album I'm definitely giving my money up. Raekwon just has quotables everywhere one of my favorites on this one is "Move like 91 romans" LOL that shit is just ill for some reason. Ghostface smashes this one with ease, I love how he sounds confident on this one, Method Man definitely has the MVP verse on this one I mean you can just throw the track on and listen for yourself, his flow on here is flawless and lyrically he is on point "But on the humble I'm a good dude, don't short change me, see that's a hood rule" that was nice as fuck and his last line is real "I'm what these kids is killing to be, but I don't want my Chidren to be" who says Method Man ain't got lyrics, we need more of this from Method Man. 5/5
9. Penintentiary (Featuring Ghostface Killah)
I like the back and forth rhyming on here, plus this is Raekwon and Ghostface, you know it's a story going in here somewhere. Raekwon is planning his escape with Ghost playing undercover. Pretty dope. The beat is aight on here, keep BT on those mixtapes Rae. This is a keeper strictly because of the MC's on here. 4/5
10. Bagging Crack
Raekwon talks about baggin crack with some lil nigga. Anyways this is nice and short, I think if he would've extended this song he would've killed the vibe on here. Eric Sermon could've came better on here though. But on a good note another Raekwon solo that Raekwon handles well. 4/5
11. Surgical Gloves
Yo I get mixed feeling about this track everytime, one day it's a classic next day it's a banger. Alchemist comes through on here though with some heat. Raekwon "Super Charged Kangols" this nigga has so many quoteables on here it doesn't make any sense. But anyways Raekwon is just going hard on this track proving to these little niggaz that he still has authority on the mic. 4.5/5
12. Broken Safety (Featuring Jadakiss & Styles P)
I wasn't feeling this until i played this in the car, this shit goes hard for real, I'm mad at myself for sleeping on this track. Beat is definitely raw on this one, He has JADAKISS AND STYLES P on the track, did you really think this was gonna be wack, them niggaz deliver on the Purple Tape Pt. II my nigga Kiss goes hard on here
"That's why I'm still bringing the seed back
The sneakers that I can't pronounce, that cost a G stack
Niggas in the yard, got this on repeat, black
Fuck saving hip hop, we bringing the streets back"
and Raekwon manages to definitely hold his own weight on this track.
"Player spit snipping, different color wallies on
Bliffen had to take 'em off, they fucked up the soles, flipped it
I'm forever zooted, crushed up glass, I'm just flashing through it
Nine times out of ten, suede down at the Jumer"
I mean come on, Raekwon is just sharp with these lyrics.You see that shit? Raekwon literally just shitted on Lex Diamonds Story with this...LOL Now Add Styles P to end the track and you get
"I used to move brown rectangles
Roll you a blunt, then smoke you with death's angel
Chrome trey pound is making your neck dangle
Blue trey eight is leaving your chest mangled
It's math but the gun could kill you at all angles
Leave the toast home, I'm leaving you all strangled"
Oh God! WTF Styles P is ripping this shit, I'm glad Raekwon showed love to these niggaz on here, they brought their A game on this one. 4.5/5
13. Canal Street
Another Raekwon solo, I noticed this beat from the Jadakiss album just slowed down for Raekwon. He definitely goes in on here, I can see alot of niggaz sleeping on this one but you just have to listen, Raekwon is giving you that Raw shit on here. Pretty Solid. 4/5
14. Ason Jones
I'm loving the ODB tribute track, This is the best Tribute to ODB i've heard yet (Until Ghostface decides to release his track). I read someone say this track was outta place. Get the fuck outta here, he was just on Canal street now this nigga is poppin bottles and zoning out on his brother at the crib, he going back outside on the next track, don't worry. Besides that the J-Dilla beat goes perfectly with this one. 4/5
15. Have Mercy (Featuring Beanie Sigel & Blue Raspberry)
I'm glad Raekwon is putting real street MC's on his albums, don't nobody wanna hear that bullshit. But anyways Beanie delivers a 5 star verse on here, you can feel that shit "I done seen weak niggaz not last a year" Damn. Beanie has done it again. On a side note wtf is up with this hook Raekwon? "It's really on you a dickhead" You could've came up with something better. Anyways Raekwon delivers on the mic so he makes up for it. His smooth tone on the mic just matches the beat perfectly. This beat is nice as fuck too. Oh yeah we have the highly anticipated return of Blue Raspberry, she did her thing on here, I know alot of niggaz are complaining about her being off key, but if you like me and you zoning out on this beat, you zoning out with here too. 5/5
16. 10 Bricks
This goes hard in the whip for real. "I know her from africa, pretty smile 9 teeth" Raekwon and his quotables...Raekwon comes through on here, but I wanna move on to Cappadonna, he delivers on this one I was nervous when I saw him being featured on here, but he comes through on here, Ghostface smashed it "Peppermint Clarks" LOL Ghost is that nigga. Beat is live as hell on here too thank you J-Dilla. 5/5
17. Fat Lady Sings
Yo I slept on this shit but after a few listens.....Raekwon's mic skills are fucking crazy I love how he starts it off..
"Punch broke the Dred's jaw, pulled the four out
And went off, told him that he can't sling his raw
When he fell, yo, he broke his wrist, his bangles flew off
His Balley's was scuffed, then he blew a kiss"
"Little young Keyon rushed him, yeah, shorty was a vet
Gillette soldier, shorty hit the neck
Blood squirted, look like laundry detergent, the Dred fell out
Right from there, he gon' need a surgeon
You ain't dead yet"
Raekwon goes in on here, I'm glad that it's at this length too. Rza ONCE AGAIN delivers a stellar offering. 4.5/5
18. Catalina (Featuring Lyfe Jennings)
Dr. Dre Beat? It was cool, I know he definitely had something better but didn't bother giving it to Raekwon, It's cool though, I'm like what Raekwon did with what he was giving. I'm loving the lyrics on here this kind of reminds me of "Smith Bros." and "The Hood" when Raekwon goes in on here. Lyfe Jennings on the hook is dope, Like I said I'm glad Raekwon has real niggaz on his album, Lyfe Jennings is real if you heard his shit you know what I mean, his hook is perfect for this one. 4/5
19. We Will Rob You (Featuring Slick Rick, Gza, & Masta Killa)
First of all Nice beat by Kareem. Next, the hook isn't all that bad like people are saying, I actually like that shit, but anyways this is a pretty nice cut right here. Most notably Gza and Masta Killa, Gza's verse has to be from before Grandmasters because that's when he started getting boring on the mic, his verse was very solid though, if it's new I gotta give props to him for real, Nice to hear Masta Killa after his M.I.A. period he just delivers a stellar verse on here, his lyrics are just sharp as fuck. 4.5/5
20. About Me (Featuring Busta Rhymes)
I actually like this Dr. Dre beat better than the last one he offered. Raekwon smashes this one better aswell, Busta Rhymes sounds better than he has been sounding for awhile on this one, Raekwon's tone just matches this beat crazy, I can't imaging him being hype on something like this. 4.5/5
21. Mean Streets (Featuring Inspectah Deck & Ghostface Killah)
I'm feeling this one, I could see why some cats might not be, but I am, Everyone delivers on here this is pretty solid not too much i can elaborate on here. 4/5
22. Kiss The Ring (Featuring Inspectah Deck & Masta Killah)
Scram Jones dropped heat right here, every verse on here is crazy Raekwon comes in on some boss shit
"By the time you read this letter
Your head gon' fly off your shoulder for lying
And I'mma be in bed like holders"
"A live general when he walk, if he died, then we slide
Ninety thou' in the coffin, and take the child"
I'm really glad Raekwon is keep lyricsism alive, he smashed this and Don't sleep on Deck, he doesn't play on here, I love his opener on here he proves he's been doing this for years...
"Black Jesus, check my walk, check my talk
Legend in the flesh and I rep New York
Crowned king, been down to bang, I'm House Gang
Knockout specialist, in and out the ring"
Masta Killa is the icing on the cake, he just sums up the whole album with one verse
"Now he's an old Mafia don, from back when
He managed to survive the game, ducking fame
It's how he maintained, the State of Grace, kept his lab laced
Ladies of a fine taste, kept his place guarded
While the young charted, found acquitted, all charges
And his heart loss and, marksmen take the contract
From the contact, waiting for the right event, it all made sense
He left no prints on the weapon, and he was blasting
Came home from prison stashing, still stacking
His whip still matching his kit, steel flashing
Hands quick, nice with his shit, three holy foods
Drops jewels, from a street corner level, young brother, I'mma rebel
Here to instruct private soldiers to buck arms
Ya'll rap cats had your last win, toast the kings
It's Wu-Tang, it's our thing, kiss the ring"
Kiss The Ring. 4.5/5
23. Walk Wit Me
Scram Jones delivers more heat on this shit, this song is just on some mafia type shit, Raekwon just throws ill dartz all over this one man, this is one of my favorites on here, listen to his shit, it takes time but you can catch his lines if you want to..
"Cash it in, yo, Masta, live with me, take it all
You can have whatever, five hundred leathers
Bruno Mag' sweaters, Gucci rain boots
Brook Brothers, New Eras, jew killers
New line sponsored by fellas, catch 'em in the hall balling
I thought about it, whatever"
One of my favorite lines on here LOL
"We on, rolling thirty deep in the gadget trucks
Spending magic bucks, fuck around, get an Aston truck
Fly around, fucking actress sluts"
Raekwon is that nigga, this whole story he paints is just raw as fuck, I love how he tells the story in a mature manner, an younger Raekwon would've probably been wilding out, but listen to this story he gives you.... 5/5
Badlands (Featuring Ghostface Killah)
Ok, If you thought this was going to match the first one shoot yourself. Now, this album definitely met my expectations, I was not disappointed at all, Raekwon has some good production on here and the lyrics on here are sharp as fuck, I mean I know Raekwon came hard on 8 Diagrams but he definitely came harder on here, ALL guest spots deliver heat on here, what more could you ask for, I know there are people who will not be satisfied but hey your scarred for life like Meth said in House of Flying Daggers you're still here, give the albuma real chance because I know most of the haters haven't, this is definitely my number 1 album for 2009. Is this a classic? naw not right now, does it have the potential hell yes.
Beats - 4.5/5
Lyrics - 4.5/5
Overall - 4.5/5
****Overall 4.5/5 (Wu- Classic In due time)****