The Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon dropped the widely-regarded hip-hop classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… in the summer of 1995 and it spawned several seminal tracks such as “Ice Cream,” “Rainy Dayz” and “Incarcerated Scarfaces.” But it was the smooth, yet haunting sound displayed on “Heaven & Hell” that stood out from the rest. “Heaven & Hell” was Raekwon’s debut single for Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… and was also featured on the Fresh movie soundtrack that was released in the summer of 1994. Fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah parlayed the track into a stellar back and forth between he and Raekwon, in which they plotted on and eventually killed a high-roller from around the way. The two’s dynamic on the song is evident, as they flow off of each other seamlessly.
But RZA’s slow, but melancholy production steals the show. Based on the sample of Syl Johnson’s “Could I Be Falling In Love,” RZA kept the melody from the track sampled, but added a lethal bassline that permeated throughout “Heaven & Hell.”
As Raekwon and Ghostface traded bars over RZA’s production, the combination of the three helped curate an underrated hip-hop classic.