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The 50 Greatest Debut Albums in Hip-Hop History

5. Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...

Label: Loud/RCA
Release Date: 8/1/1995

Raekwon's debut was buoyed by the fact that RZA was at his artistic peak. The staccato guitar on "Guillotine (Swords)" will always inspire tension, and the horns and that Scarface sample on "Criminology" will make even the coolest heads ready for war.

The spaces RZA leaves are filled with incredibly tight verses and narratives from the Chef and Ghostface. The extra help is much appreciated, too. Nas lays an excellent verse on "Verbal Intercourse," while Method Man appears on the ridiculously sexual "Ice Cream." When everything is said and done, the cinematic arc of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx trumps some of the gangster movies it tries to emulate.

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