Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... is the solo debut album of American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon, released August 1, 1995, on Loud Records in the United States. The album was loosely composed to play like a film with Raekwon as the "star," fellow Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah as the "guest-star," and producer RZA as the "director." It features appearances from every member of the Wu-Tang Clan, as well as affiliates Cappadonna, and Blue Raspberry. It also features an acclaimed guest appearance from rapper Nas, which marked the first collaboration with a non-affiliated artist on a Wu-Tang related album.
Upon its release, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart, and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, while selling 130,000 copies in its opening week. The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on October 2, 1995, and according to Nielsen Soundscan, it has sold 1.1 million copies in the United States alone. Although it failed to acquire the same initial sales success as previous Wu-Tang solo albums, Cuban Linx achieved greater critical praise, with many complimenting its cinematic lyricism and production.
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... has increased its acclamation among music critics and writers over the years, as many have lauded it as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. With its emphasis on American Mafia insinuations and organized crime, the album is widely regarded as a pioneer of the Mafioso rap genre. It has been esteemed as being highly effective on hip hop music over the next decade, being heavily referenced and influential on albums such as Doe or Die, Reasonable Doubt, It Was Written and Life After Death. Along with GZA's Liquid Swords, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... is classified by many to be the best of Wu-Tang solo material. Its success spawned a sequel 14 years later with 2009's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II. In 2012, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Cuban Linx number 480 on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
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