So rare it is now that any mention of Hip Hop yields a comment greater than an affirmation of it’s death or a gesturing of the nostrils to the sky. The “Hip Hop” that is produced now, or the offensive ramblings that at least masquerade under it’s hallowed banner, is tame in comparison to the music being produced by the same characters in the early-mid 90’s. I realise that I am not saying anything new here. In fact, I am simply falling into line with all those purists before me, who harp on about the fact that the hardships that were drawn upon to create those classic tunes are not a consideration anymore, replaced with the riches and diamond rings (“real niggaz do real things”) that they were striving for. As a result, everything that is made now is, therefore, contrived and devoid of passion bla bla bla.
Anyways, self indulgencies aside (well sort of), this is a blog to illustrate the genius of RZA/Lou Diamonds/Tony Starks in their production of, arguably, the greatest Hip Hop record of all time “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx”. I loved it when I first heard it. I remember I had to wait two weeks for my local record shop to order it in (it wasn't a particularly good record shop), but that seemed like a small price to pay once I put it on. Stand out tracks that I couldn’t stop listening to on repeat were “Guillotine Swordz”, “Wu Gambinos” and “Ice Cream”, but over the years, as with all long player’s of this ilk, I have come to appreciate the layers of this album. It’s the closest thing to an opera, I think, that anyone in the game ever came close to producing. From the violent imagery to the skits of gangster speeches, it exists in a world completely created in the heads of its creators. If this music was made by anybody now, it would be considered beyond pretentious, but because it was the Wu it was more than acceptable.
I used to stumble across this album more when I went home, as my mate was a Wu Tang fanatic and would insist on reliving old times, but since I have been living in London it seems to have been played a minimum of once a week in the office. It’s weird because I just seem to understand it more now than when I was a Hip Hop diehard. As with some other records that I adore, I’m sometimes not sure if the people who made them realised just what they had achived, but I think that anyone with any taste could reassure Bobby Digital that he’d done alright with this one.