Real ones don't call Raekwon's debut album "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx"; they call it "The Purple Tape." Intended to stand out from other releases in the way drug dealers make their product, the cassette release came in purple plastic that's become the album's unofficial name.
Packer celebrated the album's 20-year anniversary in 2015 by releasing a "Purple Tape" Diadora N.9000. The purple monochrome sneaker was a must-cop for Wu-Tang fans, and the New Jersey-based boutique also created an unreleased version based on the album's artwork. The only sample of that red, yellow, and black sneaker was given to Raekwon himself — but now it's getting a proper release five years later.
High-quality materials — The new "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" N.9000 has also been made to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Diadora's classic silhouette. Now featuring ostrich leather and pony hair in addition to suede, the sneaker has a premium makeup worthy of the two occasions.
Flourishes referencing the album include a purple "1995" embroidered onto the heel counter and "Parental Advisory" label on the tongue altered to spell out all the parties involved. Inside, the full tracklist appears across the two purple insoles — with a "1" and "2" signifying the two sides of a cassette. But perhaps the best detail of all is the packaging, a semi-translucent purple bag.
Wu-Tang fans assemble — The sneakers once only worn by The Chef himself will release through Packer's website today at 11 a.m. EST. The $250 price tag ain't cheap, but neither are the pony hair and ostrich leather used to make it.
Not every sneaker above two Benjis is worth the cost, but the "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" N.9000 calls for it. Throw in the narrative that it's five years in the making and you've got one last sleeper hit before the year ends.