If you’ve been paying attention for the last 14 years or so, you’ll note that Raekwon’s highly anticipated album Only Built for Cuban Linx II has been one of hip-hop lore, or rather a record that will presumably never come out. When we were working on the Sept. ’09 issue of GIANT which included the Raekwon feature “Iron Chef,” the Wu-Tang wordsmith’s record got pushed back from its intended August 2009 release and into September, which made us (well…me) wonder if this album is ever really going to come out, because, let’s face it, in the time that Raekwon’s been promising this record, he’s made some interesting questionable moves.
And while we don’t debate The Chef’s ability to cook up another classic, we do look somewhat side-eyed at a few of his decisions. For example…
-He followed up his seminal solo debut album Only Built For Cuban Linx with I.M.M.O.B.I.L.A.R.I.T.Y. and actually made the nonsensical non-word of “immobilarity” into the working acronym for “I Move More Officially by Implementing Loyalty and Respect in the Youth.” Maybe he was trying to replicate Wu-Tang Clan’s success with getting “C.R.E.A.M.” into everyone’s vocabulary?
– He was going to originally release Cuban Linx 2 on Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment label and have Busta Rhymes executive produce it. Dr. Dre and The RZA producing the bulk of the album would have been the win, but having Busta Rhymes – an artist whose guest appearances on other people’s album far outshines his records – would have been a recipe for disaster. (See what I did there? I made an allegory to cooking, because Raekwon calls himself “The Chef.”)
– He released The RZA-less album The Lex Diamond Story, which by all accounts was a story no one wanted to hear.
– His crew beat up Joe Budden. Ok, that’s really not Rae’s fault, but let’s just say that at this point giving Joe Budden an eyejammie is like beating up an Internet nerd who spends all this day blogging, vlogging and thinking up things that he can blog and vlog about. Because that’s essentially what Joe Budden does.
– He tried to give us the American Cream Team. If Wu-Tang Clan was comprised of nine emcees and those nine rappers cultivated a talent pool of understudies that was up to their standards, then they would be the most powerful rap consortium – ever. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for American Cream Team, who in the Wu-ranking fell somewhere above GP Wu and below Sunz of Man.