In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, we're flipping the story inside out from our 2015 "Purple Tape" N.9000 with a new shoe inspired by visual elements of the legendary album's cover.
Leading up to the shoe release, we sat down with The Chef to reminisce on what led to the creation of our first shoe together.
"It was something that the label didn’t even expect. This is something that came organically from my way of thinking. After making an album that I truly believed was a classic, now I had to finish it with one more thing — the packaging. Separate it from everything that’s out there.
Hip-hop was so strong back then, I’m like, I gotta have my own package. Back in the day as kids, when we did our little thing, we always tried to put some kind of packaging to let you know, yo, this is where you get it from. So that was my thing for the album packaging.
But guess what? My favorite color wasn’t purple at that time. My favorite color was army green, camo green. I always liked rugged colors and all of that. This album didn’t sound like anything else out there. Me and Ghost was working hard to really get it to that level, and when it got there, I was like, I wanna package it green! It’s gonna be green!
When we went to the label, they looked at me crazy, because I was like, “Yo, this is the album and this is how I want the world to get it!" They were looking at me strange and (Steve) Rifkind was like, “Uhhh…” I’m like, "This is what it is. Trust me on this. I’ll buy you a Benz if you don’t believe me! This is gonna work!"
So anyway, they agreed. They was like, “Cool, whatever color you want, Chef." So they go back and look and they tell me, “Yo, we don’t got green." I’m like, oh shit! I’m still in the color mode and vibin' according to what I feel is gonna be it, but they only had four colors to choose from. There was the clear one, the yellow one, the red one and the purple one.
I chose the purple, because purple represents royalty. It didn’t come off on some girly-style purple. It came off on official fly lavender purple! You know what I mean? Colors that everybody ain’t expecting to be regular. I looked at it and looked it, and then I took it back to Ghost the next day, and he was like, “Do what you do! You know what to do!” That’s his thing with me.
So I'm like, “Yo, we going with the purple." And ever since then, when the album came out, we started hearing people call it the purple tape. This is back then tapes were still jumpin’. You would put that in your rental car, throw it in your Benz, your truck… I knew people had tape decks where they play their shit loud, but when they seen that the tape was purple?! That’s when I knew we struck gold."
Huge thanks to:
The Chef: @raekwon
Rashida Watler Management: @superfemianent