Raekwon Reflects On "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" Anniversary

The Chef reminisces about the purple tape and talks about the Wu's early 90's era saying, "We was all at our best."

On August 1, 1995, Raekwon unveiled Only Built for Cuban Linx, his first solo effort that also co-starred Ghostface. While younger fans may be more familiar with its 2009 sequel, the original is a critically acclaimed album that many applaude as one of the greatest efforts of the genre in the 1990's. To commemorate its anniversary, MTV's Rap Fix spoke with Rae about the album and its legacy. 

“I knew I had a classic when I formulated with these nine members in this group. Everything at that time that we was making, we was so sharp, it was super visual already,” Raekwon said of the album. “It was like something that you already knew you could get but it was just a matter of time before you could get it. When I tell you we was all at our best, it was serious!”

Adding to this, Rae noted that his vision was "mapped out" and it let listeners clearly hear what he was thinking as he wrote songs for the album. 

“We came with Cuban Linx, my vision was already mapped out in a great way that everybody seen it. It’s like going back to the tapes and saying, ‘Yo this is how we goin' win the war.’ We carefully mapped it out and I knew when I made that album that in the mix of it, I knew it was gonna be something that was gonna shock the world.”

RELATED: Raekwon Speaks On Self-Preservation, Reuniting With Nas

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27 Comments

  • NY

    The common theme for those classic albums, RZA produced all of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Liquid Swords, 36 Chambers, Tical. For Ironman & Wu-Tang Forever it had all in house producers, they just need to stick to that Wu sound.

  • BIG FACE ITALY

    Wu Gambinos The Abbot blue printed all the Wu classics in the early days. He gave form to the raw lyrics. Wu should form like Voltron again, back on that grimey shit. Wu world wide

  • Anonymous

    True classic with some of the best tracks ever recorded in Hip Hop history. Not to forget Nas' absolutely legendary verse which still remains as one of the best verses you are ever going to hear. The sequel is amazing, too.

  • François CANN

    This is simply my favourite album of all time. Any kind of music....

  • Glen

    Raekwon does spokes the goodest English.

  • Mr Flamboyant

    Yeah... the album that made history. I still remember when I bought it (July 28, 1995...it was a spot where you can get the albums early. You just had to cough up the extra money.). Actually, this and that 2nd Bone album dropped the same day. I bought both. I never listened to that Bone CD and sold it. I was a true Wu-Tang fiend since the debut and Raekwon and Ghostface were my favorites. I remember hearing Criminology first on WGCI on a late night. Then the single dropped with Glaciers of Ice. The anticipation of this joint was beyond belief. I played this CD day, night, and in between. As a matter of fact, 1995 might just have been the best year for album releases (had this conversation the other day). Anyway, sonically this LP was beyond the first 3 releases (36 Chambers, Tical, Return to the 36 Chambers which I think was also 95, might have been 94) and vastly superior lyrically to the first. Not a flaw at all. Plus the album cover was one of the dopest I'd ever seen and the whole concept was brilliant. It set a standard and trend that was to be followed and bitten from that point on. Yeah. I play this LP more than the sequel and the sequel is even better when you listen to this LP first. The sequel actually doesn't get enough credit on its cohesive and brilliance to the oracle. I probably place this LP as #2 all time behind Illmatic...and it gives Illmatic a run for it's money. This truly was the apex of the Wu-Tang and set the bar incredibly high. Everyone was at their most powerful and hungry. Thank you, Shallah Raekwon.

  • Anonymous

    Best produced album I ever heard. The RZA beats on this album make him the G.O.A.T. producer to me.

  • mcmastermind

    One of the most classic albums I have ever heard. Not a flaw on the album. Rae was hungry but he had a chillness to him that made the album perfect. Still rock this album every few weeks. And, like everybody said, it gets played all the way through.

  • nano81

    classic classic classic

  • google

    Never saw someone get so much mileage with one album everything after has been brick city.. only built 2 was aight , fake decent that shid is comparable to a 12th man coming off the bench scoring 50 points in a game and been on the bench ever since.. every time you see the bum you think remember he lit them up for 50 points? lol mofo that was one game... a fluke...... that nicca caught lightening in a bottle one fuckn time!!!

  • KS

    Living on staten isl was crazy when this album droped. My friends and I were bumpin this in the park in late august and Raekwon drove past the park. My man turned up the radio when he slowed down and he shouted "aight...peace" we were buggin for days. Classic forever Raekwon still be on the island Rollin showin people love. He is a good dude.

  • JOHN WU

    CLASSIC ALBUM THIS AND OB4CL2

  • Powerphi

    The only Wu album that I like more than this is Liquid Swords. Nonetheless, this is an incredible classic that I still bang, and like the comment below, I have to listen to it from front to finish.

  • Anonymous

    I cant listen to just 1 song off this album, I gotta hear tha whole product cause this album is quite honestly 1 of the best ever created!!! such a masterpiece from the lyrics to the beats and even the artwork. just pure art right here!!!

  • sincerejk

    this is the only album that i think i might actually like more than illmatic

  • Jason Williams

    Just happened to put this back in the Whip the other day. Listen str8 thru everytime. Not only a classic, but IMO the greatest Hip-Hop album ever.

  • AS

    Ridiculous album. Wu Gambinos, Guillotine Swordz, Rainy Dayz, Incarcerated Scarfaces, Ice Cream, Criminology, Glaciers of Ice...

  • Anonymous

    OB4CL - THE BEST OF THE CLASSICS!

  • javon3

    I'm 27 yrs old and i remember my older cousin having this album when it dropped..use to sneak it bump OB4CL each and every morning before i went to school. OB4CL, Iron Man still get repeat play in the whip even to this day..CLASSIC WU TANG

  • Doubl Negative

    Like most thirty-something B-Boyz I love Wu and Cuban Linx is a seminal album, but I still prefer Ironman.

    • The-Influence

      Word.. I don't know why Ironman gets overlooked so much. Back in the 90's, that may have been my favorite Wu solo, and even today, I prefer that over 'Supreme Clientele'. 'OB4CL' is indeed a classic, and I'm not saying 'Ironman' is "better", but it always got more play from me. Give 'Ironman' its props!! lol

  • JOE6PACKNCGBOR336

    i still bump this album like it drop last tuesday damn what happend NY

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