Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx

Hua Hsu

By Hua Hsu

on 11.11.11 in Reviews

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx


Arguably the greatest of all Wu solo efforts, there is something thoroughly absorbing about Raekwon’s 1995 debut. It is an exhausting, meticulous record, and, thanks to the RZA’s bluesy, broke-down production and Rae’s effortless, slang-heavy swagger, it is, like the best Wu releases, a self-contained world for the listener to inhabit, study, obsess over. From “Criminology” to “Incarcerated Scarfaces,” the pensive “Heaven and Hell” to the relentless battering ram of “Knuckleheadz”—this was the blueprint for New York’s grimy, street-smart rap renaissance, and a standard-bearer for the Wu’s mastery of language arts.