Raekwon performs at The Beacham, Thursday, May 26.
An interview with Raekwon the Chef
Published: May 17, 2011
Updated: May 17, 2011
The Spectator has begun teaming up with KSUB to bring you local music news and reviews. Spectator editors will periodically post articles written by KSUB DJ’s. The following post is by Rosie Faulkner.
Raekwon, AKA The Chef comes out on stage of the Nectar Lounge with a black track jacket and the darkest sunglasses available over-the-counter. The crowd goes wild and raps every word along with him as he trades lyrics with his crew. The guy in front of me has a tattoo of ODB’s face on his arm and a red Wu-Tang tat just below it. Raekwon’s crew wear the bling around their necks as a testament to how hard the road was to the life of sold out shows and swaying crowds.
As fans reach their arms over stage monitors and Raekwon teases us with infrequent handshakes and groupies cluster around the exit of the stage. Tribute is paid to ODB. Raekwon leads the crowd in chanting, “RIP, ODB”, as the guy in front of me waves his tattooed arm back and forth with Old Dirty Bastard’s face visible below his shirt sleeve. As Wu-Tang classics come on, the crowd raps along. Raekwon ends the show with a track from his latest album since the launch of his solo career, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang. Luckily, I managed to get an interview with Raekwon.
Rosie: How’d the show go?
Raekwon: The show was nice. The show was filled with excitement, the crowd was into it.
Rosie: It’s an honor to interview you. What did you think of the Wu Massacre album? How was it received by the fanbase?
Raekwon: The Wu Massacre album, it had good reviews and it had bad reviews, I mean I thought it was a pretty good album. I didn’t think it was a great album, you know I think it could’ve been a little stronger but one thing about us is that each one of us has our own philosophy on the kind of music we like to make. That was a Ghostface Killa project, he was putting that together his way and I guess he just wanted to have something that felt like a mixtape at the same time. He crafted that, he put that together and I just followed suit on what he did. I’m not always in love with everything we do. As a crew you don’t always like everything your brothers may throw out. Same for me. It’s time for improvement though, always on every album. There’s always room for improvement.
Rosie: For sure. I’m in a band too so I understand that inclination to improve. I mean I’m in a country western band so it’s totally different, like Johnny Cash s***.
Rosie: (laughs) So RZA’s been in China acting in a film. Could you talk to me a little bit about that? What’s been happening over there?
Raekwon: I really…to be honest with you I really don’t know what RZA’s doing. I know he’s working on a film, of course. My shout goes out to him, you know, he’s doing his thing. Everybody’s doing different things.
Rosie: For sure.
Raekwon: I know he’s filming in Japan as well but I can’t tell you any details about what he’s doing.
Rosie: So Necro did a beat for you on the last Cuban Linx and I think that’s pretty strange ’cause he’s sort of like a crazy, different, definitely Jewish rapper. I find the collab interesting. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Raekwon: Necro’s my dude. I had the opportunity to meet Necro through his brother Ill Bill.
Raekwon: Yeah, and he’s nice as hell. I respect Ill Bill’s flow, you know what I mean, he’s an underground artist and he really represents the MC world. He introduced me to his brother and he said, ‘Yo, my brother makes beats.’ I’m like, ‘Yo, we need some beats, you know what I mean? It happened to be that day that I needed them. Yo you’ve got some s***, let me hear it.
Rosie: It’s great to see someone who’s so- everyone loves them so much, like you’re so well known and you’re working with someone who’s underground. I think it’s great.
Raekwon: You know for me it’s like you could be a no-name, know what I mean? If you’re handling yourself in the proper way at the time and I feel like we could do business together, it don’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. Know what I mean?
Rosie: I definitely respect that.
Raekwon: It’s about the talent. We’re gonna let talent be what it’s supposed to be.
Rosie: I love that you’re so real that way. That you feel that way.
Raekwon: Yeah cause it’s like I’m just a product of my environment. I know how hard it is for cats to get on and s*** so I always make it my business to stick my ear out for anything. I don’t feel like I’m better than nobody, just that I’m privileged. Know what I
mean? To be where I’m at.
Rosie: You’ve worked really hard to get here.
Raekwon: Yeah you gotta work hard.
Rosie: What are the rest of Wu Tang doing? What’s going on with everybody?
Raekwon: Everybody’s cool, know what I mean? Just doin they project. We got cats doin’ movies, we got cats over here doin’ this, cats over there bein’ fathers. That’s important too. Everybody is off in they own world. We come together to do a tour, even to try to put an album together but on the other hand when cat’s ain’t doin that cats is doin what they wanna do. We always said we’d come back together but there comes a point when we gotta break down and do own s***. Know what I’m sayin?
Rosie: I do. It’s natural. So I know you’re probably asked this all the time but I have to ask, will there ever be another Wu-Tang album? Everyone together again?
Raekwon: I think it will, know what I mean? You just gotta give it time, you know…We don’t want to rush nothin, we want it to be genuine. We want it to be sincere. Of course it’s about the money but at the same time it’s all about, you know, promoting the project and doin’ it the right way and believin’ in it and everybody coming together as one. Until we get like that, no. I believe there’s gonna be another one but it gotta be for real.
Rosie: You don’t want to just force it.
Raekwon: You can never do that.
Rosie: Thank you so much. It’s been an honor talking with you.
Raekwon: It was my pleasure.