PREVIEW: Only Built For Cuban Linx 2.

AllHipHop Staff

“A Toast To The Best To Ever Do It” -Lyric on final track of Only Built For Cuban Linx 2.

Our friends over at the Hip-Hop Chronicle 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.

Track 1 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 produced Track 2, a 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”

Track 3 on the album features Erick Sermon. It has good chemistry. This is followed by what I’m guessing will be called “Its Cold Outside" or Track 4. It has the hook from the classic "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 s**t right here”, that’s a lyric that sums up the track.

This is followed by a skit (7)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.”

A skit follow this and it seems Raekwon is getting cut out of the street life. A person says to Rae “The bosses don't want to war with you … delete the friendship.”

Then comes one of my favorite 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 right 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, I'm 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!

Moving forward...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 favorite 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 what's 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**k with, Wu-Tang Clan aint nothing to f**k with!!!