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Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995)

August 7, 2015

[Album 413/1001]220px-Raekwon_only

What’s your 5-year plan?

Standard interview fare, yes, but the answers can go a long way in determining a candidate’s ambition.

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It’s safe to say the folks at Marvel had a 5-year plan leading up to this year, strategically placing solo movies around the group-based Avengers films.

I’m not sure what the vision is for the next 5 years (though I’m certain the decision-makers have a very clear picture), but here’s my hastily assembled excel chart of the 5 years leading up to this year:

Avengers

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The question is, did they borrow their 5-year vision from the Wu-Tang Clan?

The plans aren’t dissimilar (one of the Wu-Tang solo albums was even called Ironman!) and it was certainly a lucrative strategy, worthy of copying:

Wu-Tang

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Raekwon is the Captain America of the Clan.

He’s not the loudest, not the flashiest of the group.

But like his Avengers counterpart Steve Rogers/Captain America, there’s a quiet determination about him.

To borrow from the opening to track 5:

” He looks determined without being ruthless. Something heroic in his manner. There’s a courage about him…Comes across so calm. Acts like he has a dream. Full of passion”

I also appreciate that Raekwon was open about his dreams, including continuing to move on to bigger and better things, taking care of his family, and striving to be original.

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One slight issue: Only Built… is a solo album that doesn’t feel like a solo album.

Whereas Tony Stark’s father makes a small appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger, Tony Starks (aka Ghostface Killah) appears here on just about every track!

Although the back & forth can be effective, it’s misleading to call Starks a ‘guest star’ here.

Though from what I gather, Only Built… is meant to play out like a film, so maybe movies are supposed to have stars & guest stars appear together.

It just feels a bit crowded; I can’t see a Captain America picture being enhanced by Robert Downey Jr. chiming in every few minutes.

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If the Wu-Tang Clan really had the 5-year-solo-albums-interspersed-between-group-projects plan mapped out in advance, nicely done.  If not, it still worked (and it’s still working for Marvel), nicely done either way.

Talent is important, bravado can sell a lot of records/movie tickets.

But sometimes, the more important skill is ambition.

And Captain America & Raekwon have plenty of that to spare.

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From → 1990s

40 Comments
  1. Ugh! Comparing Raekwon to the Cap?? No thank you! I’ll stick with Cpt. Rogers and his one true love, Agent Carter!

    Sorry just not a Wu-fan.

  2. Incidentally I’ve seen the five year Star Wars plan. I’m most interested in the rumoured film Kenobi: Balance of the Force.

    • I haven’t seen beyond the one trailer yet – can you single out a favourite star wars? Or is that like asking a parent to pick a favourite child?

      • Oh , it’s easy for me. The first one’s my favorite. I know Empire is the popular choice but I gotta go with A New Hope!

        The toys for the next movie started to hit the shelves yesterday (early) but they’re coming…..

      • Nothing wrong with that choice – I haven’t seen them in years, I’ll have to brush up before seeing the new films

      • I would still say Empire, then New Hope. It’s just stronger in lots of ways. But I like both of those better than Jedi…

      • Haven’t seen Jedi in decades, I remember liking the ewoks as a kid, I’m sure there’s more to it though!
        Chuck Klosterman had an essay tearing the Jedi to shreds, not sure what he made of the next 3 installments

      • I don’t get that. Jedi has Ewoks, but it also has EVERYTHING ELSE! Vader! The Emperor! Luke being a badass! The final battle in Jedi is as powerful today as it was in 83.

      • It’s funny that a scene can completely overshadow the movie.
        Dumb & Dumber – the bathroom scene is the one non-fans inevitably remember, but there was much more to be enjoyed!

      • Which one? I can think of two hilarious Bathroom scenes!

        1. “Seabass”

        2. “I’m just brushing my teeth!”

      • That would be (appropriately based on your # options), Number 2.
        Forgot about Cam Neely’s cameo as Seabass!

      • Ah yes. #2.

        “For my friend Harry…the matchmaker!”

      • Big Gulps Eh? Well, see you later!

      • Petey doesn’t even have a head!

      • Brilliant – though I heard the sequel wasn’t as strong

      • I agree. My sister likes the sequel better, but I didn’t desire a rewatch.

        I honestly feel the Three Stooges movie is the spiritual sequel to Dumb and Dumber. It was just as funny as the original Stooges.

    • Is it also rumoured that there’ll be a film called Jar Jar: The Lucas-ing Of The Franchise?

  3. Funny, if Raekwon is the Cap, I woulda put the RZA as Tony Stark!

    • I might have, but apparently Ghostface Killah already claimed the name (or at least close to it with Tony StarkS!)

      • Yeah maybe, I dunno. Maybe there isn’t a perfect match between universes…

      • And the lack of females in the Wu-Tang Clan made it tricky to find a suitable Black Widow!

      • Yeah, and even then they probably would’ve changed it to N**** Widow anyway.

    • I’d say Nick Fury.

      But who gets to be Dum Dum Dugan?

      • I never liked the Fury character. And then they got Samuel L. Jackass to play him, and I thought that was perfect. I don’t like him either.

        And Dum Dum? Haha that’d probably have been ODB… thfffbbbpt!

  4. I’m glad to see this here. It’s a record I really need to revisit – it’s been ages since I played it (I don’t even think I have it here, anymore), and… I think we talked about his a while ago – I didn’t like this one as much as I did the Genius/GZA Liquid Swords record (that one’s a GEM and I recommend it completely). Guess I better get on that!

    This post is a fine example of creative writing, an interesting connection not normally made, realized and explained clearly. Well done! Also charts. We love charts.

  5. I like this one loads. Haven’t listened to it in a while, but those Wu chaps certainly made a bunch of great albums.

  6. I need to get high!

  7. fucking great analogy

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