If you were on New York's Hip Hop scene in the late 90s, you know exactly who Cuban Link, aka Felix Delgado, is. The one-time Terror Squad affiliate who could often be found building in the Morrisania section of the South Bronx was a close friend of the late Big Pun.
The Shadow League ran into Cuban Link at a recent event that paid tribute to pioneering women of Hip Hop. He has been included on works from Fat Joe, Big Pun, Angie Martinez, and the Beatnuts, and was considered an up-and-coming commodity prior to his split from Terror Squad over what he described as "disrespect" decades ago.
His most notable cuts include Sugar Daddy featuring Mya and Scandalous with Don Omar, but those singles both came out over a decade ago. Inter-squad conflicts dimmed his star before it truly had a chance to take off. After Big Pun died, the relationship between Fat Joe and Cuban Link deteriorated.
This was further exacerbated by leaks that plagued the release of the highly-anticipated Cuban Link debut 24K - which was eventually shelved and never dropped. Once something of a phantom in recent years, Link told me that he has mostly just been chilling and trying to raise a family.
The day I ran into Link, news of Troy Ave's unfortunate and dimwitted predicament was still fresh in the news cycle. Cuban Link, who rhymed about guns, gangsters and gore about as often as the next guy, had this to say about gun violence in the rap game.
"I think we're all quick to grab the steel if you come up from certain situations," said Link. "We have to be able to protect ourselves. We're acting all cool in Hip Hop, but in real life we're the prey in the hood."
Link's falling out with Fat Joe basically doomed his chances of having major label success, but that was years ago. Recently, fans took to Twitter to complain about the absence of Tony Sunshine and Cuban Link at the recent Terror Squad reunion set at Hot 97's Summer Jam.
I asked whether he and Joe could ever reconcile.
"I don't really rock with him," said Link. "I will never rock with him. When I came up with Joe, he had qualities that were respected by me and the people around him, but he lost those qualities. He can never come back from that. I'm not even talking about money. He needs to bow down and understand the things we were trying to tell him. But, as far as the game goes, he's doing great."
While many of his South Bronx contemporaries have moved on, Link told me that he's still a Bronx regular and his life is all about love.
"We still here and it's nothing but love," he said. "I don't want y'all to ever get it confused. Humans are energy and the main source of that energy is love."