Raekwon: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II
In the years following the Wu-Tang Clan’s 1993 masterpiece, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), each member of the Clan’s post-Wu output has been met with varying degrees of success. Ghostface’s Supreme Clientele and Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx are generally considered to be the best, and that pedigree is a blessing and a curse. The Chef hasn’t been able to recapture the creative spark of OB4CL in the decade-and-a-half since its release, making his ambition to write a sequel something of a gambit.The reunion of Ghostface and Raekwon (right down to the identical pose on the album cover and “Guest Starring Tony Starks” tagline) is part of what makes the long-awaited Only Built for Cuban Linx II a Godfather Part II instead of Part III. One of indie-dom’s favorite rappers serves as the perfect point man for Raekwon’s return, serving up blistering verses and playing the loose cannon to Rae’s straight man.
The album drags at points; with 22 tracks and a 70-minute runtime, some of this material would have been better off on a mixtape. But that’s a minor flaw in an otherwise superbly-executed gangster epic. OB4CL2 manages to simultaneously build on the Wu-Tang saga and maintain a gritty charm all its own. Simply put, it's a classic, and one of the best albums to come out of the New York rap scene in the last decade.
Listen to Raekwon's "10 Bricks (feat. Cappadonna & Ghostface Killah)" from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II: