|© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2003-12-29
How could the Hip-Hop World forget about the summer of 1992, much less the impact that we got in the middle of 1993, when The Wu-Tang Clan debuted with their Harmonious/Revolutionary Album. They were a collective of tight MCís all willing to part with their dreams of being solo artists, just so they could solidify their cause as one part. The W had to be repped and the world had to reach an understanding and Quick! Many of them have now become household names and others legends. Raekwon has been deemed to be both. With an album on the horizon, Rae felt it necessary to let the people know that he is still here and a viable force in hip-hop. Donít forget the legends, never neglect the Heroes!
BallerStatus.net: I listened to the album and theyíre a few bangers and Iíve noticed that there is a lot of growth in the music. Youíre definitely not in the Cuban Link realm., youíre past that. Which cut on the album best personifies that?
Raekown: I can never pick one song. Iím not into picking favorites. I look at my album as a whole. The one song that did inspire me is The Hood. It makes me remember where I came from with the grittiness and itís just me writing a letter to the streets that made me what I am today. I was raised in the street. I wanted to let everybody know that we have to pay attention to our youths and let them know that their dreams still exist in the hood. You could be in the worst part, but it should not hinder you from being a better person and trying to prosper. I just wrote a letter to the hood, no matter what you see outside your door - - donít let it stop you from going where you need to go. Plus, I love that beat too.
BallerStatus.net: Speaking of the hood and the shorties coming up - - Word is that you own a couple of Subwayís and I heard that youíre trying to buy into the Starbuckís Franchise. How hard was it for you to come up with the kind of cash that they were looking for, to buy into the franchise?
Raekwon: Itís really about having the right dudes around you. These are the kinds of people that are positive and could tell me how to invest my money. I know so many different people, not just in hip-hop, good people. It starts from there. I gave myself a vow that I would try to surround myself with more positive people, folks that could bring more things to the table.
BS: I remember Star and Buc Wild (formerly of Mtv and Hot 97 FM) and they were giving the album airplay, way before it was shopped that hard or even thought to be picked up by Universal. How much did their exposure, help you to get where you are today, as far as the exposure for this latest project and letting people know that youíre still here?
Raekwon: To be honest with you, I donít really feel the power from it. I donít mean to indemnify anyone, but thatís just how I feel. It was a good thing, but I didnít really feel any extra love out there, because of that appearance. No one was to be faulted, it was an opportunity and it was a lesson.
Universal (Records) is like a machine that gets success off of successes. Maybe they looked at it like, we could only wait to see what the people will accept, so if the people accept Rae, then weíll move. Thatís whatís going on, thatís real talk. I appreciate whatís going on, but I donít see the hand. Itís real my nigga! For a person thatís been away for so long, I donít feel that comfortable. I canít kick my feet up, I donít want to - - Iím a worker!
When you call yourself coming to a top dog label, you want to feel like youíre on top of the world. At the same time, Iím a legend! Whereís the Love? I donít get no love like that. At the end of the day, itís about the music, so thatís how I am running with it. They gave me an opportunity.
BS: I notice on the points, there arenít any Wu affiliates - - as far as production goes.
Raekwon: I didnít have Rza on the album. He gave me three tracks. Two out of the three... we couldnít even get the samples cleared. They werenít trying to hear it. The last track was a vintage beat, but Rza could not find the reel. You canít lay the beat down right without it. We just moved on. Rza did a lot for me, for my business. Iíll catch him on the next one. Itís nothing personal, just business. I have to do what I got to do. At the same time, guy have spread out. Rza got so many ideas and thoughts, he trying to get them out there. He canít give me all the energy that I need right now. It hasnít been like that for a while now. Weíre all going in different directions and sometimes you donít get a chance to holla at dudes. Things donít always go thorugh. I donít fault him. He has done a lot for me, on many occasions. Iíll leave it right there.
BS: Definitely! Whatís next for you?
Raekwon: I am sticking with this rap shit. Iím trying to drop more albums. I plan on not being away from my fans so long. I plan on doing another album in the summer (2004). I got an Ice Water project that I am working on. I have a couple of guys from Staten Island that Iím about to break into the game. I feel like they really got it. People have just been sleeping on Staten Island and acting like there is no real talent out there. Iím about to prove everybody wrong. I got these dudes called Ice Water, which are signed to my label. Theyíre about to get busy and terrorize the game - - opening doors for other dudes on the island. Right now, itís all about the Staten Island thing.
BS: Ragu, is going to be the name of the project?
Rawkown: Thatís the name of my next project. Itís something that I was going to do over at Loud (Records), but didnít. Itís that new Raekwon shit that going to hit you in the summer. I have a lot of the production done on it. Iím just trying to be around. Itís like people try to ban you, when they donít hear from you in so long. Itís like they stop believing in you. I just have to keep moving forward.
BS: When the Wu came out, it was like a Voltron robot. You have 9 functioning parts, that could perform independently as well - - basically ruining the industry and re-create it. I think that the world is looking for that. Is there any chance of that happening in 2004 or 2005?
Raekwon: We already have been talking, since this is going to be our 10th year Anniversary of us being in the game together. Itís only right. Plus, we have fans out there that want to see us get down collectively. The energy got to be there, the beats - - all that. . .the state of mind. Everything has to be right! We could do that, but thereís not enough power to feed families and get this manís buzz up. Thatís what so important, we told people from the door. Weíre coming in this as a group, but we all have solo ideas and ventures. Itís not to that weíve broken up. Wu Tang is forever. Whether it be just 3 dudes that you only hear, out of 9 - - weíre going to rep that W. Itís all about keeping hip-hop. We want to hit everybody.
BS: Is there anything on the acting horizon? I know you had that series on NBC, KingPin.
Raekwon: That was something put through by Spelling (Aaron), they got me a pilot on that. Iím working on a movie called The Coalition, in a couple of months. Itís covering the unions/construction and all that goes with it. You can look forward to that in the summer.
BS: If you could outline your growth from Cuban Linx to The Lex Diamond Story, coming up with a new nickname - - what would that be?
Raekwon: 'Firewater,' thatís it! I breathe that, always want to represent the real Hip Hop at all times. At the same time, Iím the kind of dude that has so many flows and can rhyme over so many different beats, itís about people keeping up with me. I donít feel washed up and I donít plan on being washed up for a long time. Right now, your boy is about to go crazy. The game is terrible right now and I know that if somebody doesnít try to do it, no one is going to try. I want to be one of those dudes. One day I want to be able to say that I brought a whole new throw to the game - - now theyíre taking over.
Written by Larry "Scribe" Degale for BallerStatus.net