The new Raekwon Purple Tape (Slipcase Edition) includes:
- Purple cassette tape with all songs from original 1995 album, housed in a premium purple outer case
- Meticulously recreated “J-Card” cassette inlay
- Two stickers with images of original “Purple Tape” from 1995 (Sides 1 and 2)
In September of 2012, the newly-minted online boutique Get On Down wowed Raekwon, Wu-Tang and classic hip-hop fans with their Only Built 4 Cuban Linx “Purple Tape Cassette Box,” which was housed in a glass-top, piano lacquer, 4-inch-tall black display case. The ultra-premium set sold out on www.getondown.com in less than two days’ time, after overwhelming demand which crashed the site’s servers not once, but twice.
Get On Down has come a long way in the past 11 months (said to be “redefining the role and shape of the reissue in the digital age” by the New York Times; and called “a premiere reissue imprint” by Forbes), including buying a great deal more server space. But it has not forgotten fans who lamented not being able to own their now-legendary “Purple Tape” deluxe cassette reissue. Act fast though, because these wont last long.
BACKGROUND ON THE ORIGINAL ONLY BUILT 4 CUBAN LINX ALBUM
In 1995, Wu-Tang Clan frenzy was at an all-time high. First there was the Wu-Tang Clan’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 ready, fans were knocking each other over on album release day. And so, on August 1, 1995 as the legend goes, the first 10,000 cassette buyers ran home and opened their plastic cases to discover that the tape itself was a stunning shade of lavender.
The rest, as they say, 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.
But, colors aside, let’s not forget about the album itself! Backed by arguably RZA’s most wide-ranging, hard-hitting and at-times lush beats on any Wu-Tang family album before or since, Raekwon and co-MC Ghost Face Killer (a/ka/ Ghostface Killah) run the lyrical gamut, introducing “Wu-Gambinos” slang, dishing out “Ice Cream” for the ladies, and melting “Glaciers of Ice” along the way to influencing just about every MC who followed in their wake.
Boasting five singles – “Heaven & Hell,” “Glaciers of Ice” (promo only), “Criminology,” “Ice Cream / Incarcerated Scarfaces” and “Rainy Dayz” – the album was revered from the get-go, earning 4.5 out of 5 Mics in the Source (retroactively upgraded to 5 Mics in 2002) alongside raves in publications from SPIN to the Los Angeles Times. It went gold in two months.
Beyond Ghost Face (who shines on 12 out of the album’s 17 tracks), guest appearances from Nas, Method Man, Inspektah Deck, Master Killa, RZA and the debut of Cappadonna (aka Cappachino) locked the album as an undisputed classic. It’s a record that hit hard in 1995 and continues to resonate with new fans to this day.