|© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2003-12-16
His 1st Album Changed Hip Hop History. His Second could not compare. Raekwon the Chef dishes his dirt on RZA's absence from his latest CD, reuniting with Ghostface and what's up with Ice Water Inc.
Tell me about your CD, The Lex Diamond Story?
I'm at my best right now lyrically and artistically. This album right here is designed to... people ain't hear from me doing a solo album in a while, so I just try to give somebody something that they can appreciate and they know what Rae can do. This album right here is nothing but hard beats. I came a little bit more gritty because that's what my fans wanted. They want me on that street shit. But at the same time I'm a conscious MC so I kind of mashed all of these thoughts together amongst hard beats. I just do what my mind tells me to do. I grew from my last album, lyrically. I'm at my best right now. It's just Raekwon, feeding his fans. Lyrics.
How did you pick your beats?
I had a lot of beats from friends that I had that I met throughout the game. Like EZ-Elpee, a good friend of mine, Megahertz, Emil, which is a new producer. All these dudes been around me and studied my stuff. And I happen to like what they gave me. I have a couple of new dudes also. You got to keep your ear to the streets. If you don't you gonna miss out. We have to keep allowing hip-hop to play out the way it's supposed to. Everything doesn't consist of the so-called mega-producers that everybody knows. It's always somebody we don't know that could be iller than all of them.
Should we expect Ghostface collabos and production from RZA?
People are always going to expect them type of things. I got Ghost on the album. I got a couple of Clan members on the album. RZA didn't make the album production-wise because he had given me three beats and two of them was sample clearances that I had problems with that they was really ready to sue me and shelf me if I put them out. The other track he couldn't find the reel. So RZA's slot fell right out the window. But it ain't nothing. It's nothing derogatory toward RZA because he's still one of my favorite producers and at the same time, I had to keep carrying on and get an album done.
Tell me about your company, Ice Water, Inc.
Ice Water Inc. is a company that I basically gave the name to and I had, merging with Randy Spelling (son of Aaron Spelling). We formed Ice Water Inc. together but I already had it in my mind. It's basically a venture where we can help market each other better. His parents are the moguls of TV. Me being an artist, them having that, it was a good glove, but at the same time, I had to take control over a lot of it because music-wise we have to look at what Raekwon's doing. Visibility, promoting it, everything is on my shoulder. If I don't pop the other stuff isn't going anywhere. At the same time, Ice Water is a four-man group that I have from Staten Island that I'm bringing in personally. Rae is going to be that dude that brings Staten Island hip-hop to the table. I feel like people are not giving us our just due out there. And I don't mean as Wu-Tang. People saluted the fact that Wu-Tang made Staten Island what it is but to me, there's still people in Staten Island that's nice, that we got to start paying atention to. Right now, Ice Water is going to be the group that I'm going to launch to the game that's going to deliver.
Ice Water Inc. is involved with fashion, movies...
That's part of the multi-media side of it. It's an entertainment company that's going to allow me to do certain things like sign R&B artists, sign a scriptwriter. Anything to be more productive and bring more to the table, I want to be able to have that in my conjunction. For the most part, it's everybody getting a chance to do what they want to do and do what you do to your best ability. That's what this company's built on. Rae is trying to sit on a business side and coach everybody to make their whole career grow to where they want it to grow. I'm trying to be the real good coach.
How do you feel about all of the hip-hop artists being nominated for GRAMMYS® this year?
I like to look at the GRAMMYS® because I look at successful people on it but when it comes to selections they don't know what the fuck they talking about. I might even have to swallow these words if they ever try to give me a GRAMMY® one day 'cause I ain't going to lie and act like I ain't gonna go up their and get that muthafucka. Their selections are based on popularity and label support. We have to know and understand that we're playing in a big politics world and the more they do things like that and ban the real shit because they feel like it's not based on a dollar or whatever, that's why we ain't never gonna have it authentic the way it's supposed to be. Music is always going to be funny and fickle. Right now it's just a fashion show. Why a nigga can't get a GRAMMY® for being the hardest mutherfucka out there? It shouldn't be based on money and popularity. It should be based on originality and authenticness.
What's your favorite album of 2003?
Who got slept on the most? I'm a big R&B fan. Cats like Jaheim. That was a beautiful album that they overlooked. Luther Vandross had a nice album. Fat Joe had a beautiful album. It's about running that race and getting to that finish line. Shit got to change for the better. It ain't right. I just want to see more truth come to the table. It's always history, they story and the truth. So this is only my story. Get ready for The Lex Diamond Story.
Written by Jessica Koslow for HipHopDX