Get On Down Records announced this week the re-release of Raekwon’s classic debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, in the extremely rare original purple cassette tape.
The set, which dropped Monday (September 17), is limited to just 1,000 copies, available only at GetOnDown.com.
Hip-hop fans who will clamouring over this reissue already know the story: in 1995, Wu-Tang Clan frenzy was at an all-time high. First there was the Wu’s epic 1993 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), which changed the shape of ’90s hip-hop, with ripples that still resonate today. Then the solo albums, all produced by Wu patriarch RZA: first was Method Man’s Tical (late 1994), then Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version (spring 1995).
By the time Raekwon’s debut was on its way, fans were knocking each other over on album release day. 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 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.
The re-release box set weighs in at four pounds, and is housed in a premium, glass-top, “piano lacquer,” 4-inch-tall black display case with gold-colored hardware. On the case, there’s an embossed white-on-black Raekwon logo and “The Purple Tape” placard on front. Additionally, a 32-page, hard-cover liner notes book is included with text by Brian Coleman, an in-depth interview with and track-by-track reminisces by Raekwon, artwork from original LP, as well as reprinted graphics from original Loud/RCA promotional singles.
The cassette, itself, boasts a multi-panel “J-card” fold-out featuring original cassette artwork. Other features include a promo poster, and an album sticker.
The Only Built 4 Cuban Linx “Purple Tape Cassette Box,” is available now at GetOnDown.com.