Raekwon Reveals The Role The Mafia Played In Naming “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx”


Raekwon wanted to use the title of his album to pay homage to the Gambino Family but the New York organization had other plans!

Raekwon changed the game with his classic 1995 debut studio album, “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx” making a name for himself and Ghostface Killah outside of the Wu-Tang Clan. 

In a recent interview with VladTV, Raekwon discussed his veneration of the Mafia and how they influenced the project. Not only did he refer to his Wu-Tang brothers as “Wu Gambinos” he wanted that to be the album name.  

“They was like, ‘yo you can’t call no albums that,’” Raekwon said. “This was a conversation I had with [Steve] Rifken, because Rifken’s pops, rest in peace, he was connected. He had a lot of relationships. I remember me enforcing the title on Steve and saying ‘yo, this is what we want to call it, we want to call it Wu-Gambinos‘ and he was like ‘yo, I’m gonna look into that.’ And I remember him coming back to me and saying, ‘yo that’s not happening.’ And I was like ‘you serious’, and he was like ‘it’s not gonna happen. They not having that.’”  

Watch Raekwon On VladTV Below

The Gambino Family, one of New York’s “Five Families,” reputedly one of the most recognizable criminal organizations in America, were unimpressed. Raekwon explained that while he “dismissed” naming the album “Wu Gambinos” and agreed to go ahead with just a single using the moniker, it took some time for him to understand the situation from a business perspective.  

“At the end of the day a song is a song, but when you start using somebody’s likeness or whatever on that level it could’ve been a situation where now you gotta take a conversation or meeting behind this. How you just going to use a name like that and run with it,” Raekwon said. “It was something funny to me because I wanted to do it anyway. But then it was something like ‘Steve you ain’t with it, so even if we wanted to bum rush, and do it like that, we can’t because you wasn’t even down for it.’  

“Back then, our mentality was to take the risk, f### it,” he added. “But like I said being young, and kind of like, immature, and not understanding the business to the fullest, we had to second guess that motion and be like you know what don’t do it.” 

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