The biggest difference is in the production. While RZA handled every track on the first, Erick Sermon, Pete Rock, Dr. Dre, Marley Marl and even the late J-Dilla contribute here. All amazingly find a way to fit into the Linx blueprint and still complete a cohesive album. But it's no tribute. And it's not a cash grab, either. Everyone involved in the project seemed in tune with what a sequel to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx represents and adjusted their games accordingly.
Among the guest standouts from behind the boards are Marley Marl's all-too-brief "Pyrex Vision," Necro's "Gihad," Pete Rock's "Sonny's Missing," Erick Sermon's "Baggin' Crack," J-Dilla's "House of Flying Daggers," "Ason Jones" and "10 Bricks" and Dr. Dre's "Catalina" and the Busta Rhymes-blessed "About Me." Not to be outdone, the RZA supplies two of the disc's best: "New Wu" and "Black Mozart."
And the guest highlights aren't limited to production. Ghostface makes the most of his second billing, appearing on so many tracks they didn't even bother to list him on all of them. Method Man pairs with Ghost and Rae on the aforementioned "New Wu," which despite the name is as vintage as it gets.
The only MC with a non-expired license to sing -- Slick Rick -- does just that on "We Will Rob You." But no one steals the show from Raekwon, who seems especially inspired by the return to where his solo career started. For the finale, Scram Jones serves as the closer, delivering an unlikely, but inspired, Elton John sample for "Kiss the Ring." Needless to say, Raekwon gets the win. Click here to find out how to buy this album.
-- Mason Storm