Cat's Cradle—"The Purple Tape" is one of the most popular and identifiable epithets in hip-hop. While it wasn't the official title of Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon's 1995 solo LP, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, the plastic cassette tape was, in fact, purple. At the time, though, Chef Raekwon's rhymes were golden, and the subject matter was a white substance. Before poseur-elects like Rick Ross, The Clipse and Young Jeezy became popular for what was hailed as trap rap or cocaine rap, Raekwon was the baking-soda griot and boss. His streamlined, Shaolin-infused raps prioritized what he termed guillotine swordsmanship and the God theory of Five Percent, the Nation of Islam offshoot—not commercial claptrap.
Since, though, the Clan's kind of become a monastery of fallen (and sometimes forgotten) legends. Outside of Ghostface's consistency and Method Man's star power, a few middling group albums, some wonky work by RZA and the death of Ol' Dirty Bastard made it seem as though the crew's chemistry was disintegrating before our eyes and, more important, our ears. The discography and brand needed the musical equivalent of a jolt of epinephrine—another purple tape, maybe? That's what we have: On Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. 2, Raekwon bakes another delicacy built on the same rhyme-and-crime lattices of Wu-Tang's dominion. We wanted it. We got it. And now Rae shows up for us to say thanks. Just don't do it in your dirty Fila hoodie. He hates that.
Queensbridge rap duo Capone-N-Noreaga performs anthems from their classic 1997 LP, The War Report. Like Raekwon, Noreaga has a couple of sturdy solo LPs under his ever-widening belt. Expect some of that tonight. And who knows, maybe you'll get doused with the herbal tonic "Tiger Bone," too. Noreaga's latest fetish/ gimmick is a daily dosage of a Caribbean sex stimulant. Hey, as long as the guy promises not to make anymore reggaeton albums, let him drink all the Tiger Bone he needs. Queen Yonasda and Brother Reade join the bill. Pay $17-$20 at 9:30 p.m. See www.catscradle.com. —Eric Tullis
Holiday Bawl, Spartacus
Carolina Theatre—On Sunday, Dec. 6, the third annual Holiday Bawl features two classic David Lean weepies, Brief Encounter and Summertime. A donation of canned food to the N.C. Food Bank or cat food to Independent Animal Rescue gets you free admission to these films, which start at 2:30 p.m.
Sunday also sees a limited run of Stanley Kubrick's 1960 classic, Spartacus, the brutal epic about a rebel slave in Roman times that features Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Jean Simmons, Peter Ustinov, Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton and a great deal of homoerotic subtext cut from the original release. This tale, scripted by the once blacklisted Dalton Trumbo, runs nightly at 7:30 p.m. through Dec. 9. For more information, visit www.carolinatheatre.org or call 560-3030. —Zack Smith