I should have been doing something more productive: chores, trying to find a job, cleaning up around the yard, maybe even sleeping in (if that’s considered productive). But I wasn’t. I was at the mall before 10:00AM, standing in a small crowd outside Camelot Music waiting for the store to open.
The metal mesh-like security bars latched firmly to the ground were the only thing separating me from what I anxiously awaited to purchase. Peering inside I could see what I’d come for. Displayed on a fiery red cardboard stand set just inside the doorway was Raekwon The Chef’s debut solo album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.
While standing there, I probably recited the Wu-tang Clan member’s single “Glaciers of Ice” in my head 50 times (at least parts of it)! Several other persons couldn’t keep their favorite rhymes quietly to themselves. All around me they obnoxiously rapped all things Wu. It was like a Clan holiday! Many had on black t-shirts with Wu-Tang’s signature yellow “W” logo on the front, some wore Wu Wear fitted ball caps–which I wanted also but couldn’t afford, and a few Wu jackets were sprinkled about. All fashion aside, each of us had this album on our minds.
As the opening manager approached the security gate from inside, all of us outside Camelot were drawn closely to the entrance. We pressed firmly to the divider as though we were metal and it was magnetized. The manager chuckled slightly as he politely asked everyone to step back, allowing him to lift the barricade without carrying away pieces of faces and limbs with it.
Once lifted high enough people began ducking underneath to enter the store, jockeying with each other for position while heading aggressively for the display. Like the rest I fought my way through, grabbing a cassette copy of Cuban Linx then immediately getting in line to pay. While waiting my turn I stared at Raekwon and his guest star Tony Starks, aka Ghostface, on the cover. The colors surrounding them, the font used for the title, Ghost posed as though shooting guns over Rae’s shoulders, every detail heightened my excitement to hear this album so much my hands started to sweat! By the time I’d finally paid they were so moist I struggled to get the clear plastic covering off. I pinched, poked, and ripped until eventually tearing it away. I wiped my sweaty hands on my jeans one at a time, pulled opened the hard plastic case only to reveal the cassette tape inside was…purple??!
–Mr. Joe Walker
Mr. Joe Walker, a senior contributor for SoulTrain.com, is an acclaimed entertainment and news journalist published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. Former Editor In Chief of both XPOZ Magazine and The Underwire Interactive Magazine, his work has graced the pages and covers of Hear/Say Now Magazine, Notion Magazine, Kalamazoo Gazette