Concert preview: Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon and Ghostface team up to celebrate Cuban Linx turning 20

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

Near the end of the first season of "The Wire" there's a scene where Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale meet in a penthouse suite overlooking the Baltimore harbor, pausing to reminisce about how far they've come from those childhood days spent navigating the city's housing projects. It's a feel Raekwon captures on "Heated Nights," the standout track off his 2015 solo album Fly International Luxurious Art.

"From out of drug buildings under street lights/ Guns go off, we keep pipes," he rhymes atop a twinkling backdrop. "Every kid caught in the zone, let's hope he make it home/ And sleep right, instead of churnin' the heat night."

"When you think about the tough times and growing up under certain situations … you tend to look at it and be thankful for where you at," said the rapper, who joins his Wu-Tang Clan running mate Ghostface for a concert at Park Street Saloon on Thursday, July 9. "A lot of people is not going to make it. For us to be able to achieve that goal, it's something that's going to stick with you forever."

For this current tour, however, Raekwon has again immersed himself in the cold, concrete streets of Staten Island, New York, focusing his efforts on his 1995 solo debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… to mark the 20th anniversary of the album's release.

"[Cuban Linx] just had a lot of facts we came up in the streets under, as far as survival and dealing with the trials and tribulations of being in the ghetto. When we speak, we speak through pain," the MC said. "I wanted people to know where I come from, so the album is definitely a replica of my lifestyle … growing up in the street and hustling. It feels eerie and cinematic [because] it was made to be a movie for everybody to see and understand."

Witness the moody, string-kissed "Rainy Dayz," which thrusts the rapper into an all-too-familiar scene for many coming up in inner-city housing developments. "Projects infested with rats, cats and crack homes," he spits. "Half of us'll try to make it/ The other half'll try to take it."

"That's what I wanted to give to the world: something that really can relate to my life. And that's what I did," Raekwon said. "They say if you don't know where you came from you don't know where you're going, so that always is in the back [of my mind]. It's something you never lose. You can never lose your past."

Park Street Saloon

8 p.m. Thursday, July 9

525 N. Park St., Arena District

ALSO PLAYING: Dillon Cooper, DJ Bombay