The landscape of hip hop has changed tremendously since the release of Cuban Linx. It seemed as though the raw and gritty hip hop is being slowly ushered out in favor of manufactured pop tunes and manufactured rappers to make a quick buck. The Internet has takened a dominant role in today’s market and the need for true attitude or to be a true emcee seemed to be like a past accolade in today’s market because now its about your hustle and not your talent.
Cuban Linx Part II couldn’t have come at a much perfect time than that time period. Wu Tang as a collective themselves were fighting for relevancy within hip hop for the first time in a long period since Ghostface released Supreme Clientle. But this point Wu Tang was looked upon as done: Method Man was a slave in Def Jam, Ghostface was doing R&B, RZA had became a hippie and focused more on movie scores, ODB had died, Cappadonna became a cab driver and Raekwon claimed to have been working on Cuban Linx since 2004 only to have no release date on site. It was on the verge of looking like another “Detox”.
With the Wu Tang brand in such need for another shot in the arm. Raekwon took matters in his own hands. He got tired of waiting for Dr Dre and started to put the album out Independently. Cuban Linx II got a release date and the anticipation for the sequel of possibly one of the greatest albums of the 90s started to grow heavily.
This was one of the first albums that I copped without listening online. The only song I had heard was 1,000 Daggers featuring the whole Clan and that had me REALLY souped because this was the vintage Wu Tang sound that was heavily missed on 8 Diagrams
Ob4cl II is exactly what it supposed to be. A sequel to the last and it flowed throughout like a sequel to a famous motion picture. Raekwon returns to the mean streets of NYC alot older, alot wiser and with alot to prove along with his partner in Crime Ghostface Killah. Rae doesn’t cater to the masses, he’s back to supply the streets and this is what he does with Cuban Linx II.
This time around, You hear more of Raekwon solo which is interesting being that The first Cuban Linx album was more of a tag team effort with him and Ghost. Rae revisits the crazy shootouts, the drug tales and supplying that street hop thats been missing for years on cuts such as Sonny’s Missing, Pyrex Vision, Bagging Crack and Arson Jones which is a tribute to the late ODB.
The RZA returns to his grass-roots. He put down the guitar and Executive Produced the vision for this album which where he recruited heatmakers such as Alchemist, Eric Sermon, Dr Dre, Mathmatics, along with guest appearances from The entire Clan, Jadakiss, Beanie Sigel, Slick Rick and Styles P. When they said Rae was taking it back to the essence He sure wasn’t lying!
Theres too many great to classic tracks on here to really make me choose a standout. They all flow well within the album and unlike many rap albums today doesn’t feel like it was just put together in a formulaic level. Cuban Linx II flows like a movie score on wax and theres nothing to really throw the balance off. This is what makes it so impressive.
The only track that disappointed me was the Dr Dre produced tracks About Me and Catalena. Rae’s bars were pretty solid but We all know Dre have much better in the vault then what he gave Rae for Cuban Linx II. The songs are not bad but considering this is a sequel to one of the greatest rap albums of all time. I was expecting something more amazing.
Overall does Cuban Linx II live up to the anticipation? Of course it does! It shows that Wu Tang Clan when their not trying to cater to the masses that they can put out the best hip hop music out of all of their peers. Much like Ghostface 12 years ago when he dropped Supreme Clientele to restore credibility back to the Wu brand, Raekwon carried the flag banner and did the same with this album.