I got to sit around with Raekwon and listen to him discuss Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 and it’s seminal predecessor OB4CL. If you are in New York City tonight you might want to stop by the Pete Rosenberg event and hear firsthand from the Chef some of the same things he told me.
In my top three rap albums of all time OB4CL sits among ‘Illmatic’ and ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’. For me, these three albums define the rap aspect of Hip-Hop. OB4CL is a graphic tour de force of the aspirations of the young Black males growing up in impoverished communities. The album describes our dreams, fantasies, fictions and most of all our realities.
The Wu is such an enigmatic and influential collective in Hip-Hop I would be at a loss for words to describe their impact on the genre. They encompass all the elements of Hip-Hop but the most important one is their lyrical ability to create vivid and accurate portraits of the times we live in. The Wu was never just Cristal sipping without first pouring out some on the ground for the people that weren’t here to see the moment.
When you learn about the ancient customs of the griots you would find that they called to the spirits first to guide their stories. The griots understood that our existence was built on many different planes of reality. The Wu describes the journey in rhyme form better than any other collective. If you can’t find yourself relating to at least one member of the Wu I don’t think you have lived a life. On wax and off record these artists are the everyman rap collective.
Raekwon was generous with his time and with his words regarding other artists and the things that still motivate him to create art. It’s interesting to hear someone explain that he has matured as an artist but he is still hungry to find a place in the current music soundscape. The Wu were always a little too futuristic for this rap shit and I was happy to see that the mindstate was still light years in front of their peers.
Selling music was played out years ago. Raekwon isn’t releasing a CD on September 8th. He is releasing another movie. Cinematic rap music for the masses who are mature enough to comprehend the material contained within the everlasting scrambler’s manuscript. I haven’t had the chance to preview the album yet but I’m confident that I will be as inspired as I was from the original Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. How could it not be as powerful? It’s the Wu.