Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II (2009)
I started [making this album in 2005], so the gray hairs started kicking in on this one [laughs]. I was experiencing a lot of stress because when you think about the first Cuban Linx project that we did because the Wu was always together. When I made Cuban Linx II we were so far away from each other. I’m scratching my head like, What the fuck did I just get myself into? A lot of personal things were going on in my life. At times, I didn’t even think I would be able to complete this album. But I felt like the challenge was built for me. I had to make sure the album had the right Cuban Linx sound and still be able to stand with today’s hip-hop.
We had [a diverse roster] of producers and was still able to get a unified sound. I think I showed that I had great ears on this project. I also had RZA helping me out because he has great ears as well. And as an executive producer, Busta Rhymes meant everything to me. He was a great mentor as far as someone who had a track record that I could respect and that was longer than mines. Busta had shown that he could still stay relevant. I gained spirit and great energy from this man. Busta was the one patting me on the back like, “Yo, you are better than you think you are.”
There were a lot of highlights on this one. Rhyming on a Pete Rock track was a dream. Pete is a wizard at production. He’s the definition of real hip-hop. He knows how to dissect those break beats. The crazy part is he let me hear a beat some years ago, but I never used it. I think he recorded it with Royal Flush. Flash forward to Cuban Linx II. I still wanted to use that beat. So Pete re-created the track from scratch! And when I got that J Dilla track I was like a little kid bringing cookies back home to his brothers. God bless his soul. In the beginning, I felt like, “Damn, if people don’t respect this one, I might really be on my way out.” But overall I think we met the expectations of releasing a classic.