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Cuban Link starts his Chain Reaction
8/15/05 - exclusive interview by Dante

(click here for 1st interview)



Cuban Link picture

This week marks the release of Cuban Link's debut album, Chain Reaction, an album that had been anticipated for so long that many felt it would never drop. Flash back to 2000, Cuban was recording tracks for his debut album 24k. The CD was eventually shelved by Atlantic, the reasons still being a topic of debate. Its bootlegging, however, kept Cuban's name in the public's ear.  Refusing to bow out, Cuban kept his name in the game with several mixtapes until signing to MOB Records last year.

With a busy indie label and major distribution to back him, Cuban can finally begin his Chain Reaction.   Cuban took time out to speak with us about his new album and more in this exclusive interview. So how does it feel to finally have an album drop after all these years?

Definitely feels good, feels great, like I'm finally getting my fair shot at the world of hip hop. Really my sophomore album, it feels good to have a label like MOB Records backing me.

A lot of effort went into promoting a March release, what happened?

Yeah, it was a little confusing. Not even confusing, a meeting of the minds where we sat down and said lets push the album back. Since we independent, we don't have the machine like the big labels have, so as far as shelving the product and putting it back out there, 50's album was gonna drop, a lot of heavy hitters, so we figured we could wait. Give it four or five months of promotion on the low, and we just set for the August 16th date. I aint mad, we coulda did a little more promotion coming out right now, but I'm sure people know about it. The main object was to let people know I was coming out August 16th.

What's the difference, if any, between the Chain Reaction dropping now versus what we heard on the advanced copy back in Puerto Rico?

It was a lot of switched up things, we took some songs out, added more up to date ones. As far as the one with Zion and all that reggaeton, we added Scandalous, we added Tonight's the Night, and some skits, so we rearranged but its three-quarters the same.

So what can fans expect from Chain Reaction?

Definitely a bargain for your buck. Good music, a piece of Cuban Link, a universal album, everyone's gonna feel at least one track. I made it for the world, for everybody, at the end its a project that fits everybody's criteria, everybody can enjoy it. And of course give people a piece of my heart, let them know how I'm feeling and what's going on in my life.

Is your label still pushing to get Sugar Daddy played or have they moved on to a new single?

The new single is Scandalous with Don Omar, we already shot a video, we still working. Of course, some people didn't get the copy of Sugar Daddy 'cause of technical difficulties, but people just hearing Sugar Daddy now loving it and giving it more spins now. But the new single is Scandalous, check out the music video on Music Box and local video shows,. MTV and BET aint pick up on it yet, we trying to figure out the reasons for that, but sometimes you get lost in the system. If its love, we roll with the streets, if not, we move on.

Since this album took so long to drop, do you ever feel pressured that you had to come stronger with this album to meet the high expectations of fans?

Definitely. I just took the approach of me missing the game too much to put a product out there, my mind state was definitely on making priority songs, not just angry music that will fade away in six months. Definitely stood the test of time, I'm happy with it, but in the process of me making the album I tried to make it so the fans would respect it.

Do you ever worry about album sales?

I really don't get caught up in all that, I do my music from the heart. Not the type of album you're gonna go get just 'cause of the hype, something you'll treasure through the years. Like Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt, that you're gonna want to hear five years from now. As far as my situation, being independent, the connections, they wasn't there like it used to be, but we moved on as far as doing what we could with the capital we had and the avenues we had. First album sales is not really in my mind, but at the end of the project its what it is.

To add some fuel to the promotional flame, you dropped a new mixtape "Man on Fire", right?

Oh yeah, Man on Fire. Did Broken Chains One, Broken Chains Two, Chainsaw Massacre. We gonna market the s**t out of it in New York, we gonna flood the streets, give 'em what they need, they don't even need to buy it. That's for people in the streets that been missing Cuban Link, what happened to Cuban since Terror Squad. I can have a little more fun in mixtapes, album's a little more serious.

How can people check the mixtape out?

Its online, its on, this week we gonnna press 20,000 and flood the streets with them.

How has your new label been handling Chain Reaction so far?

Good, good. We being distributed by Universal, Fontana, so we have a major backing us as far as distribution. Its gonna get to the stores, people just gotta go out on August 16th. MOB stuck to their word, they still pulling behind me, still looked at as rookies and got a lot to learn in the music industry as far as the depth of the game in Hip Hop and the systems. But they great businessmen. It's a learning experience for them like me, it's a family thing.

We spoke before about you getting more involved with movies. For those that don't know, why did the Scarface sequel "Son of Tony" never come about?

It's a lot of politics behind the movie, just like the record business. The movie, the script, I wrote the script, a little project I always seen having. When it got to the real political stage, the rights and all that from the first movie become a problem. People from the first movie wanted a piece, at the end I didn't wanna give my ideas to anyone else so that its stays here with us. Not lost with the system where everyone has a piece of it and I get the short end of the stick. My mind frame is really independent.

So are you still going to try to get involved with film?

Oh yeah! Definitely a future, Chain Reaction. Its my heart in Hip Hop, when I knock that down, everything will fall in place.

What about clothing or other non music ventures?

As far as clothing line, I definitely want it in the future. Ghostwriting, my own label on the side. Those are the dreams I want.

Something I think many people don't realize is that you used to live in Puerto Rico when you were a kid, tell us about that.

I came from Cuba, went to Florida, six months in Florida got my papers, went to Puerto Rico for three years. That was the closest thing next to my homeland in the culture and language. Moms and Pops felt comfortable there, scenery just like Cuba. I lived in Santurce, Calle Quince. Fifteenth Street. Fond memories, Latino culture is in my blood.

So what was it like during your press junket and the Mixshow Power Summit to be hanging out in San Juan and spots you may have been around as a shorty?

Oh yeah, the Malecon right there, where you cross that little thing. When I used to live there I crossed that bridge and go to the beaches. When I was a kid, I remembered el Morro, admiring it, brought memories back.

You obviously left Cuba under tough family circumstances, will you ever go back anytime soon?

Ah definitely, I wanna go to my homeland and visit it, kiss the ground. A missing link in my life I need fulfilled. As Felix Delgado I need to do that, its gonna be done, just a lot of politics behind the scenes I need to take care of.

Speaking of the future, how do you want to be remembered by Hip Hop fans 10 years from now?

Cuban immigrant that came in the game of hip hop without knowing English, and put it down in hip hop from lyrics to the music, and was a real motherf**ker. Big Pun's little brother.

Anything else you'd like to mention to readers?

Cop the album August 16th, ya boy Cuban, the time has come. Lets see what it is, definitely gonna get your money's worth, go get that Chain Reaction.

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