Release Date: Sep 8, 2009
Record label: EMI
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Despite everything I am about to say, it is important that you understand this: Only Built For Cuban Linx Part 2 is my favorite rap album of 2009. It is an instant classic, and regardless of the negative things I am about to say, you should buy it right now if you are even remotely interested in Rap as an art form. ....Okay. Yes, Only Built For Cuban Linx Part 2 is good.Yes, it is very good.
Hip-hop has been undergoing something of an image shift over the past few years. Kanye West might be to blame, his verbiose and hopeful rhyming sitting quite comfortably with his 808 loving MOR listeners. Or maybe it’s the inimitable Jay-Z, lazy and limp in his old age (the excellent Black Album excepted), supporting Coldplay of all people. But whatever your opinion on the reasons behind it, fact is that there hasn’t been a really gritty rap album released since, oh, Clipse’s coke–hop masterpiece Hell Hath No Fury.
Yes, it exists, and yes, it's as good as fans have been hoping for. We'll get more in depth on that shortly, but with the two most important questions surrounding this album finally answered after four years of anticipation, that leaves a third one: why a sequel? The easy conclusion is that Raekwon needed a benchmark-- that he couldn't just put together any slapdash collection of skits and weedcarrier features and b-grade beats, then slap the words Cuban Linx on the cover. So while some people might read this album's title as a gimmicky hook to lure in bring-NYC-back nostalgists, it actually acts more as a reassuring seal of quality from an MC who some people think lost his way the moment he released Immobilarity without a single RZA beat.
The Chef is back in the kitchen 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.
Like the original, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. 2 sets the stage with the intro, but here it's some Raekwon history courtesy of Papa Wu. On Pt. 1 it was fictional dialog introducing a loose concept album. Besides the introductory dialog and the album's look-alike cover -- tinted purple, as if it ….
If Raekwon's 1995 masterwork Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is the rap equivalent of Brian De Palma's Scarface, then this, the 14-years-later sequel, is like Michael Mann's Heat. Both are stylish and rich in atmosphere, but where one has complexity, the other has clichés. [rssbreak] Many of them come from Rae's supporting cast (with the exception of Ghostface, who raps like a man on fire).
PHISH“Joy”(Jemp) “Happy happy” are the first words Trey Anastasio sings on “Joy,” the first studio album from Phish since its rescinded final breakup in 2004; “second time around” are the last ones. That’s no accident. Five years apart apparently left the band members missing ….