Cuban Linx II: Should we give a shit?

I don’t know what it is about white guys that leads them to constantly put together collections of things, but god bless them for it.

Yesterday, there was the great collection of late ’90s era nerd rap put together by Brendan Frederick. He used to work here. You probably just forgot.

Today, I figured I might take a look at this collection of joints that may or may not end up on Cuban Linx II, put together by Noz, another fallen soldier here at the X spot.

Quite a few joints that are said to be from either Cuban Linx II or the requisite mixtape preceding Cuban Linx II have hit the Internets in the past few weeks, and I’m assuming it’s mostly an economic indicator, not unlike the pregnant woman who appeared in this week’s Bangbus – Raekwon can’t afford to just sit around on his ass anymore. Not with the economy in the state that it’s in.

Whether or not he’s actually gonna put together an album worthy of the Cuban Linx name remains to be seen. I’ve been to enough Wu-related concerts to know that there’s a significant amount of guys who still own Wu Wear jackets. Rae could probably do Little Brother numbers just on account of them, and if he’s on Koch, that might be enough to save his home from foreclosure.

Below, I take a look at seven joints that may or may not be on Cuban Linx II, to see if any of them are worth a shit.

1) “Blue Eagles” – I’m assuming this is one of the joints from the mixtape, since it’s one verse, and it kinda sounds like he pulled it out of his ass, and at the very end, he plugs the album. Not even Raekwon would plug his album on his own album. The production is ass, so someone might need to get Rae a copy of that memo, known as the Clipse Memo, that says that, if you want to, you can just rap over other people’s shit on a mixtape.

2) “Cuban Chronicles” – The production is way better, in a budget RZA sort of way. But these days, sad as it sounds, I’ll take pretty much any ol’ guy doing his best RZA impression than the RZA himself. They ought to try to get Black Milk on this. The one song he did on that last GZA album was killer. Also, labels should employ people whose job it is to tell artists whether or not something’s a good idea.

3) “Kids Thats Rich” – I wonder if this was Rae’s conscious attempt to create a new “Incarcerated Scarfaces,” similar to how he recently put out a new, shittier version of “Criminology.” It’s similar enough to suspect that might be the case, but if it was, something tells me he might just call it “Incarcerated Scarfaces II.” Namely, the fact that he’s been known to put the number 2 behind good ideas he had a long time ago.

4) “State of Grace” – And hey, it’s actual dialogue from the film Scarface. Er, I think it is. I’m no expert, like most black people these days. This has been around for quite some time now, hasn’t it? These lyrics even kinda sound familiar. I’d ask if it was on the Lex Diamonds Story, but I doubt anyone would know.

5) “My Corner” – Classic soul rap, which has managed to go completely in and out of vogue just in the time since the last Raekwon album was out. The Wu was doing shit like this back in the ’90s, but it was a lot grimier sounding. If this was a little bit gayer, it could be Dipset. Towards the very end, Rae mentions ’07, as if that was going to be the year he made his big comeback. Obviously, it wasn’t.

6) “The G Hide” – And I quote: “We bought a crib next to Bill Clinton mother cuz she fuck with the Chinese.” Roffle. But didn’t Bill Clinton’s mother die back in the 1990s, or am I imagining that? At any rate, I’d actually recommend they give this a better title and put it on the album. It’s no “Criminology,” but it’s probably as good as anything else he’s gonna come up with these days.

7) “Wu Ooh” – Finally, the song I was listening to yesterday, when I figured I might have a look at some of these new(er) Raekwon songs. It’s not a hit per se, but it’s got me about as psyched as I’ve ever been to hear a sequel to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Which is to say: kinda. Is it any wonder I see they’re making a video for it? I just hope this is an actual harbinger of things to come, and not the very best thing he could come up with.

  • nibs

    man, you left out 2 of the best newest joints
    Yes Sir w/ Ghostface & Crooked I
    that shit is crazy
    and Criminology Part 2 w/ Ghost, another crazy joint
    while the others aren’t that impressive, them 2 and The G Hide are some dope tracks
    there was another track you’re missin by just raekwon…but it was shitty and I forget what it was called (started with a T…trench or something)

  • Pierzy

    Cuban Linx II has been hyped more than Detox. There’s no way it lives up to people’s expectations or memories of the first one.

    And “State of Grace” has been out for over 3 years…

  • sealsaa

    Rae’s taken me on an emotional rollercoaster with this album. First, I heard that Ghostface wasn’t going to be on the album, and that Busta Ryhmes was going to be his co-star(arg!) Then, Busta Ryhmes was dropping out, and it was going to be co-starring the GZA (a “RAE” of hope of sorts). Then, I heard that Rae had signed to Aftermath, and that Dre was going to be producing the enire album (I nearly put my shoe on my wife in excitement). Then Dre dropped out, and here we are. I’m going to cop the album when it comes out, but i’m going to go ahead and give it a vote of no-confidence on GP.

  • Casey

    Wu Ooh is dope.
    State of Grace is good enough too.

  • http://www.myspace.com/crockerishiphop Crocker

    Here’s to hoping it’s not a shit sandwich. Course, if he’s not bluffing and really does J. Dilla, Dre, Erick Sermon, and RZA, I can only pray he doesn’t find a way to fuck it up. And Criminology 2 was just okay. The Wu Ooh joint is much, much better.

  • allnice

    I like the Criminology 2 even though Ghostface almost fucks it up with his lame lyrics. It’s gonna blow most albums out the water of course. Now only if Nas would make Illmatic 2 right? He needs it after his lame bullshit albums in the last several years. Call up Large Pro, apologize to Premo, holla at Pete Rock broke ass, talk to Q Tip and stop being gay, what’s the odds? Pretty low right?

  • $ykotic

    Wu Ooh Wu Ooh

    Hot

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com tony grand$

    OB4CL is classic, unfuckwitable, timeless hip hop.

    But, let’s be real, that was a long time ago. Granted, cats are 30+ still rapping nowadays, but for the most part, the “core” of hip hoppers are still relatively young. So, unless ALL of us “old school” cats run out to cop (which we ALL probably will just because we waited through marriage & the birth’s of our children), it’s not going to do too much to further his career.

    If nothing else, I’m curious to see it materialize. But these kids today ain’t going to pay too much attention.

    He should just jumped on ODB’s son’s album on some Snoop/Charlie Wilson shit.

  • JDS

    I’m boggled by the low confidence in this album. I’m wondering if cats are just coming across hateful or jaded just to sound funny… ’cause of course, that’s Bol’s steez.

    But nevertheless, even if this joint isn’t classic, the only thing i’ve heard so far that wasn’t really hittin’ was Criminology 2, and that was mainly because I didn’t like how they re-flipped the beat. At the very least I expect a hearty throwback to the Wu’s glory days. I doubt he’s switched up the original producers very much, so I think sonically it’ll be dope.

    Can you honestly listen to the tracks above and call them wack? It just trips me out that dudes will go bananas over the most garbage dudes [often for no other reason than it knocking in their whip] but shit on a legit emcee.

    I’ll read dudes stan Drake/CuDi, but front on Rae… what??? lol

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com tony grand$

      @ JDS

      I feel the “hearty throwback” to the WU days. That’s why I believe a much older crowd (loyal fans of that hey day) will appreciate it.

      But in order to make noise today, there’s (unfortunately) a formula. If you know Rae, he’s not a conformist by any means. I don’t expect him to “get it crackin’ in da club” or anything close to that.

      I think Pierzy said it’s on a detox level, the wait I mean. Thusly, he’ll have a lot of hype to live up to.

      I don’t think we’re shitting on The Chef, just being real with the situation.

      Like I said, I’m going to buy it regardless, like Cap, but I’m a 33 year old husband/father of 3.

  • macdatruest

    fuck throwback wu days, i dont wanna go back-yall niggas still the wu right? well show niggas who wu is in 09, i aint tryna go back to 97 again, fuck dat. I’m stayin here. And that RZA Afro Samurai soundtrack is fucking amazin’! So is the soundtrack to the Afro Samurai game-Masta Killa is mur-der-ing that shit. Dude impressed the shit outta me. But Whar feat P.Dot is my shit. That sound like some new school wu, all the shit on the game soundtrack, “no more tears” especially-that’s 09 Wu. fuck 97-RIP Ol’ Dirty

    • JDS

      what do you mean? that Whar beat was some shit RZA flipped back 36 Chambers if i’m not mistaken. hardly new school Wu.

      but you’re right, those soundtracks were dope..

  • oskamadison

    The problem with Cuban Linx II is the same problem with Detox: both have been overhyped and delayed for so long that the expectations are ridiculous. If both those albums are one millimeter short of classic status, they will be monumental failures, especially in the case of Cuban Linx II. Think about it. You’re tryin’ to follow up one of greatest albums ever, without Ghostface, one of the main reasons that album was dope to begin with (no disrespect to Rae). I’m sure RZA may have a trick or 2 left up his sleeve but we can all agree he’s not what he used to be. Overall, I predict disappointment.

    • JDS

      i agree with you and tony grand$… the hype will definitely overshadow the release itself… but i don’t think that’s the fault of Rae or the fact that its the follow-up to a classic. its the fact that people are expecting a classic based off the name instead of just accepting the music for what it is.

      everything is over-hyped these days to the point where dope music is met with a “meh” because people expect something that i don’t think anyone can actually give them.

      i’m just saying, whatever happened to sleeper classics? was anyone expecting the first Cuban Linx to be what it was? Jay’s Blueprint came outta nowhere. the only thing i can remember recently like that is The Renaissance.

      i try not to worry about what albums are supposed to live up to, and just let it hit me in the head when it drops. i think people would be a lot more satisfied if they let that happen.

  • sealsaa

    @ tony grand$

    I’d have to slightly disagree with you about Rae not being a conformist. Take his Immobilarity album for example. The song “Sneakers” was clearly a radio joint, and an obvious attempt by Rae to appeal to the mainstream, and it turned out to be one of the best songs on that lackluster album.

    There was “Ice Cream” as well on Only Built for Cuban Linx. Not REALLY a commercial joint, but it got decent radio play in its day, but it didn’t really fit the concept of the album.

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com tony grand$

      @ sealsaa

      Wuddup fam?!

      Yeah, “Sneakers” did seem to have an agenda about it, & thtalbum couldve been a lot better. A lot.

      But “Ice Cream”, idk. I thought it rounded out the album pretty good. I would consider it “radio friendly” but it was still Wu-flavored. I still hear that joint in the clubs occasionally.

      I meant his “style” though. Good or bad, he never really left his rhyme pattern all the way. Ain’t mad @ dude wanting the money lol.

      If he does manage to fit it with what “the people” want, then where would that leave us, feel me? He has to have that outlook somewhat.

    • $ykotic

      “Immobilarity” made me stop listening to Rae for a LLLLLOOOONNNGGG time.

      That album was scrotum cheese.

      Masta Killa’s “No Said Date” was better.

      IMO Cuban 2 is taking so long because they can’t match the hunger from the first one.

      • Pierzy

        If I can jump in here, I think in the first round of Wu albums (Tical, Return to the 36, Cuban Linx, Liquid Swords & Ironman), they were able to create songs that got radio play but didn’t seem like it was “reaching” for the radio.

        Songs like “Ice Cream,” “Camay,” and even “Shadowboxin’” weren’t huge crossover hits, but they would get airplay. Now, you can tell a single the first time you hear it…

  • Stuey

    If anything this album is just gunna make me listen to the old one to laugh at its sequel. Also i think he should rename the fuckin album cuz i doesnt deserve that title.

  • sealsaa

    @ tony grand$

    I’m chill’n.

    I didn’t mean that Rae was going to switch up his style on us, or that I WANT him to, but as Bol pointed out, times are hard, and the last thing Rae wants is to catch a brick. I just hope that the pressure of commercial success doesn’t lead him down the wrong path with this album *cough* NASTRADAMUS! *cough*

    Bol also brought up a good point about the RZA. OBFCL’s production was sick. It had a dark, grim tone to it, and that’s what Rae and Ghost need to be at their best. But the RZA ain’t THE RZA anymore, and I have yet to see anyone duplicate his style. (Stoupe the enemy of Mankind is the only one who comes to mind) I’d love to hear the ’96 Rae all over again, but I just don’t see that happening.

    Enjoy ya weekend God!

  • sealsaa

    Oh shit, I forgot about Ghost!

    Ghostface is just as much responsible for OBFCL being a classic as Raekwon is. I must admit, its disheartening to hear that Ghost won’t be reprising his role as THE best supporting rapper in an a hip hop album. It just won’t be the same without him.

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com tony grand$

      @ sealsaa,

      Damn, I did overlook 2 major factors on Cuban Linx. Ghost & RZA. It couldn’t possibly stack up to the classic without the original cast.

      That would be like when they replaced the first Lionel on “The Jeffersons”. Whoever produces/co-stars on Linx 2 has a pretty big pair of wallabees to fill.

      Plus, imo, hip hop album classics are far & few between these days. That’s asking a lot of him, with hip hop in the state it’s in. Hell, he should’ve named all his album OB4CL, like George Forman named all his boy’s George. No real room for disappointment, just continuation & growth.

      I don’t even want a sequel. Like most of cats, that [original] album couldn’t have been any better. If he can just leave that “shining star” on his legacy, Linx 2 wouldn’t have to even be that great.

      But throwing it back to the 90′s might be a death wish.

  • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

    The first OBFCL was sick (even though I got it like last year; I’m catching up forgive me LOL), but thats one of the sickest albums I’ve heard…alot of the older stuff I like way better than the stuff out right now (mainstream stuff anyway; I listen to more underground too). I haven’t heard of any of the tracks that will possibly be on OBFCL2 yet, cuz I’m scared I might be disappointed and compare it with the first one too much (like I did with the first Amerie album and her second one). Its already an instant purchase IMO, but like ya’ll said, most of the older cats and cats that are just naturally into his music and the underground scene will cop this.

  • amar

    i heard criminology 2 and i’m not a fan. The first one is one of my favorite songs ever, but the second one wasn’t doing it for me. Maybe when i give it some more listens.

    Anyway, this’ll certainly sell better than anything else raekwon did since cl, but in terms of how good it’ll be, i can’t help but be skeptical…

    raekwon’s whole style was about italian mob associations, acuras, tommy hilfiger and being a young black drug dealer/killer/gangster from statan island. None of that is relevent anymore…

  • http://www.xxlblocktalk.com/INDOE INDOE

    As far as the wait on the new “

    • http://www.xxlblocktalk.com/INDOE INDOE

      My computer fouled out disregard my above comment .

      Look on the original “Cuban” Ghostface said “It’s like waiting on babies” so it’ll get here . If you are a real Wu fan you would’nt be having any doubt as to the level at which Rae will create . It will be another classic . Rae won’t settle for any less . He’s a smart man and he knows it will measured against the first one . peace god . Armm Leg Leg Arm Head .

  • Dub Sac

    I knew calling the album Part 2 was a bad idea from the jump. He’s trying to cash in on his legacy, and in doing so, will only serve to diminish the value of said legacy. No matter how dope Part 2 is, it will never top the original, and now, whenever people discuss OBFCL, they’re going to have to acknowledge it’s less inspired, less successful younger brother. Damn…

  • Master Cheef

    well, i’m convinced. i am only going to listen to rappers that meet macdatruest’s standards.
    he is obvioudly an infinite source of knowledge on all that is hiphop.

    • macdatruest

      EXACTLY!

      We talk about RZA, but we forget about Tru Master to me, he arguably outshined the Rza on Wu Tang Forever, but it’s open to debate.

      He did “Brooklyn Zoo” on Return to the 36: The Dirty Version & “FISH” on Ironman. As a matter of fact, he did THE ONE SONG I heard that seemed like it was taken off of what woud have been a future Cuban Links 2 album. It was a track called “The MGM” off Wu Tang Forever it was just Rae and Ghost. 4th Disciple did his thing production wise on Killarmy’s Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars album. yall remember that 1st Killarmy single lol

  • BGZ

    No hating on RZA for getting money, but I feel like going to Hollywood and hit him with a shovel until he makes a few more beats for this album, with no guitar involved.

    The shit about the Clintons and the Chinese is truth; I knew this guy from WV whose cousin was a cleaner at the White House in the Clinton-era.
    Crazy money went to the Chinese.
    And everyone read that Michael Moore shit about W.’s brother at GM.
    Economic crisis? Yeah, cause the bigwigs sold out the country.

  • What the ?

    Well, I guarantee it will be better than lil Wayne, plies, solilder boy, shorty low ect ( all the guys that little girls love ) as far as real hip-hop is concerned (not pop). It will only sell like 20000 albums or some stupid shit, then it will be posted up here and everyone will be like damn only 20k must suck balls ?

    The moral of this story is Rae looks like a stampede of elephants took a stroll over his face, so he doesn’t look like a teenage girls fantasy boyfriend, that’s why it won’t sell.

    But who gives a fuck, sales mean absoulutly nothing, but everyone always brings up the numbers still ?

  • http://www.xxlmag.com ksleep

    I’m cool with the fact that the sequel has NO CHANCE of bein as good as the first one, as long as he doesn’t give me a bullshit album….

    Criminology 2 would’ve been good, but that beat is wack as fuck…..should’ve jus kept the original beat and rapped new shit over it. That wu ooh shit is a step in the right direction. And ghost or no ghost, rae still got some bars left in em.

  • BIGNAT

    what pregnant chick on bangbros

  • latino heat

    I gave up hope on this album years ago. (just like Detox) his time has past, just like the other blog said. it’s time for him to hang it up. everyone keeps bringing up how wack Immobillarity was, but what about his last album? (whatever it was called) that shit was wack too. my only hope for Rae is the verses he spit on Game’s last album. he sounded hungry for the 1st time in year’s.