On August 1st of 1995, Raekwon released his breakout solo Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’ LP and almost instantly achieved classic status. Now, 20 years down the line, we still look back at that record as a monumentally important, era-defining piece. But instead of us continuing to muse over the radiant dopeness that is OB4CL, we’ll just let some of the principal architects, namely RZA and Rae himself, do the talking. The Chef recently graced Billboard with his reflections on the album that made him a household name, and Bobby Digital speaks on 20 years of Wu-Tang’s first solo project with Vibe in the video below. You can read some of the most compelling excerpts from Rae’s sit-down below; a perfect companion script for your now gauranteed afternoon listening. Hit the link for the full piece.
Rae on being inducted into The Wu-Tang Clan:
“RZA had a vision, he would be like, ‘come with me,’ and it was like, ‘ain’t nothing on this fucking block for me. Why not come with you? I love what you’re doing,’ and that’s what I would do. It was just a way to escape the neighborhood and feel like, ‘damn, I had a good day,’ and not have to sit around and be subjected to all the bullshit all the time. It was a lot of negativity in my neighborhood in those days and it felt good to be off the block.”
On how American gangster films influenced OB4CL:
“I was always into those kinds of movies: The Godfather, Once Upon A Time In America, Scarface; these are all movies of our people that come from nothing and sharpen they’re livelihoods. These movies are always in the back of my head ’cause they was movies that I felt like, ‘damn, I could relate but I could only relate on my side, which is the street side of things.’ I knew there was more than one guy in front of me that had a family and I have a family. The movies are just a narration of what was going on in my world as well. I just felt like that album was needed because I never really considered myself the favorite emcee-type. I envisioned myself as the storyteller emcee, the visionary emcee. That [type] was my favorite because I was out there. I was living in times where we had to make a living to survive more than anybody else so looking at these movies and being inspired and when it came down to making my album I knew that I didn’t want to have the fancy album. I wanted an album that was strong and something that represented my life and my pain that I was caught up in and everything and loving the fact that I had a legendary team at a young age. We knew we was legends at that time and I knew that I was destined to make a powerful album and I knew that that’s where my mind was going to go.”