In what is sure to be considered among the most unique music releases of 2012, Get On Down has upped the ante in the reissue game with their stunning Raekwon The Chef Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
“Purple Tape Cassette Box.”
By the time Raekwon’s debut was ready, fans were knocking each other over on album release day. And so, on August 1, 1995 as the legend goes, the first 10,000 cassette buyers – NOTE TO YOUNG’UNS: back in 1995, fans bought hip-hop albums on cassette more frequently than CD or vinyl – ran home and opened their plastic cases to discover that the tape itself was a stunning shade of lavender.
The rest, as they say, is history… and limited-edition history at that. After the initial purple versions, RCA Records switched to the usual clear plastic to house the legendary tape. The Purple Tape became an instant collector’s item, a Holy Grail for Wu-Tang disciples, coveted by those who could claim to be the earliest devotees of Raekwon’s lyrical genius. The album is still called “The Purple Tape” to this day, by Raekwon and other Wu-Tang members.
But, colors aside, let’s not forget about the album itself! Backed by arguably RZA’s most wide-ranging, hard-hitting and at-times lush beats on any Wu-Tang family album before or since, Raekwon and co-MC Ghost Face Killer run the lyrical gamut, introducing “Wu-Gambinos
” slang, dishing out “Ice Cream” for the ladies, and melting “Glaciers of Ice” along the way to influencing just about every MC who followed in their wake.
Boasting five singles – “Heaven & Hell,” “Glaciers of Ice” (promo only), “Criminology,” “Ice Cream / Incarcerated Scarfaces” and “Rainy Dayz” – the album was revered from the get-go, earning 4.5 out of 5 Mics in the Source
(retroactively upgraded to 5 Mics in 2002) alongside raves in publications from SPIN
to the Los Angeles Times
. It went gold in two months.
Beyond Ghost Face (who shines on 12 out of the album’s 17 tracks), guest appearances from Nas, Method Man, Inspektah Deck
, Master Killa, RZA and the debut of Cappadonna (aka Cappachino) locked the album as an undisputed classic. It’s a record that hit hard in 1995 and continues to resonate with new fans to this day, 17 years later.
As Raekwon explains in the new “Purple Tape Cassette Box” liner notes book: “A lot of rappers wasn’t being creative [at that time] and we came with a potion that just shocked the game. We introduced shoes, we brought about different names and aliases. That record inspired maybe 95% of the game’s lyrics [afterwards], and integrity on just making music, period. People from our era know how real it is. It’s timeless.”
Celebrate the majesty of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx with Get On Down’s “Purple Tape Cassette Box,” a release you will keep safe, secure and proudly displayed in your collection for decades to come.
Back to Harlem World.
The set, limited to 1,000 copies, is available only at GetOnDown.com.