Raekwon – A Pinebox Story video from the Raekwon Mixtape Unexpected Victory
Raekwon – Immobilarity review
I really had my hopes up that this would be the album that would restore my faith in the greatness that was once the Wu-Tang Clan. Sadly this is the last straw for fans of the Wu like you and me, we shouldn’t have to put up with this. ‘Cuban Linx’ was a classic album so obviously its gonna be hard to follow that up, but a decent effort isn’t even show here, its just poor. Now the main problem with the Wu lately has been the lack of RZA, and with his very few appearances a drop in quality and that’s putting it lightly. Where Rza was once dominant over a Wu-tang album he merely just signs on as ‘Executive producer’ these days and he doesn’t even do that here. Raekwon holds his own, he’s still coming out with the same stuff lyrically as he always has but there are 2 things missing from this album. First off its good production, Rza may be lacking but Raekwons choice of producers have just come with cheap sounding beats and basic mediocrity, only a handful of tracks make me listen to them the whole way through. Second, its Ghostface, the tag team partnership is sorely missed here, the 2 bond when they collaborate on a track and carrying most of the album on his own is something new to Rae and while he tries his best it just don’t work.
The album builds up with an intro that is reminiscent of the plan in ‘Striving for perfection’ a beautiful layered beat accompanies Rae here so why the hell didn’t he rhyme over it? ‘Yae Yo’ starts the album nicely but unfortunately this is where problems begin, it’s a nice fast paced track that should have set a standard for what’s to come but it just slowly goes downhill from here. ‘100 rounds’ and ‘Friday’ have a west coast feel to them but it’s a vibe that Rae cannot adapt to as he sounds awkward and out of time. The same thing can be said about ‘Heart to heart’ which sounds more like a freestyle over a beat used a thousand times before. Things are not looking good so far are they? Embarrassing is the only word that can sum up ‘All I got is you part 2’, while this could have been a heartfelt tribute to his mother it comes off corny as fuck. Bub could have brought some real soul to this with the right music and made a credible follow up to Ghosts Vivid account on the original but this is really bad.
The best track of the album is without a doubt the DJ premier-esque sounding ‘Sneakers’ where Raekwon does a GZA ‘labels’ type thing (But not as clever) with the brands of footwear he’s feeling. Then there’s ‘Live from New york’ the first single which is not amazing but stands out here. ‘Real life’ with its tripping beat and low key pianos definitely provides perfect material for Raekwon to perform at his best, even close to a Cuban Linx type track.
I always thought Raekwon was the greedy one, the one who wanted all the best beats to lay his verses upon but with the absence of RZA it seems he has picked any old cheap and nasty backdrop to lay his verses upon. The Wu are also painfully absent from this album, while the absence of Ghostface is understandable with his recent incarceration we only get mediocre appearances from Masta Killa on ‘The table’ which is still one of the better tracks and Method Man on ‘Fuck them’ . So while it’s a test to see if an emcee can hold his own without a slew of cameos cluttering up an album its something Raekwon could pulled off if only he had at least had good production to go with it.
Ever wonder what classic Wu-Tang tracks would sound like with a live band? Truth & Soul have just put out selected live clips of the El Michels Affair performing with both Raekwon and Wu-Tang. El Michels Affair features a full horn section, and the results are amazing. Check out “C.R.E.A.M.” with a live Rhodes electric piano playing the hook.
Raekwon and El Michels Affair will be featured on the upcoming Fallin’ Off The Reel Vol. 2, which features rare soul reissues.
When Soul Fire Records officially retired in 2004, Soul Fire house musicians Leon Michels and Jeff Silverman started their own label, Truth & Soul Records, which has now become a label and production house based out of Brooklyn, NY that specializes in creating deep funk and soul music. They have released a slew of 7″ and 12″ releases by bands such as El Michels Affair, Bronx River Parkway, Timothy McNealy, Quincy Bright, The Evil D’s, Lee Fields and The Expressions, The Fabulous Three, Cosmic Force, and Tyrone Ashley’s Funky Music Machine.
Fallin’ Off The Reel Vol. 2 will be released on on March 4th. Truth & Soul have been consistently releasing limited edition 45 singles never exceeding 2000 copies pressed. For the first time, those who don’t have a record player or simply missed out on these singles, will finally be able to hear these musical gems that have given Truth & Soul their impeccable reputation for quality music.
Wu Tang & El Michels Affair -“Bring Da Ruckus”
Raekwon & El Michels Affair – “Criminology”
Raekwon & El Michels Affair “C.R.E.A.M.”
El Michels Affair – “Thinking Black” (Ike Turner track)
Wyclef Jean – Sweetest Girl Remix video featuring Akon, Lil Wayne & Raekwon
Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan to unveil the long awaited debut from the Ice Water clique on August 28th via Babygrande Records
Highly anticipated album features Method Man, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Three Six Mafia, Remy Ma, Jagged Edge & more.
Under the tutelage of Wu-Tang Clan’s resident chef Raekwon, the four-man crew of Polite, Stomach, P.C. (Paulie Caskets) and D.C. (Donnie Cash) marks Staten Island’s return to prominence as a hotbed for fresh, credible talent. Die hard fans may remember Ice Water from their appearances on several tracks on Raekwon’s last album, 2002’s “The Lex Diamond Story,” as well as their opening stints for the Chef on his subsequent 30+ state tour. As Raekwon confirms, “We knew these cats had potential way back, but the timing wasn’t right. I always kept a radar on dudes, and when I felt they was ready mentally and lyrically, I helped ‘em get on.”
Raekwon compares his protracted development of the group to raising pitbulls: “I’m training these pits. I’ve got them on the treadmill, and I’m beating ‘em, feedin’ ‘em hot sauce and steaks, so they’re ready for this industry.”
Honed and focused, Ice Water’s debut, Raekwon presents…Ice Water: ”Polluted Water,” will finally be released on August 28th on Babygrande Records, home to such renowned and critically acclaimed talent as Hi-Tek, GZA, Jedi Mind Tricks, Immortal Technique and more. Raekwon states, “Babygrande recognized that Wu is a brand, and we’ve got so many different divisions of rappers around us.”
But is Ice Water really ready for the spotlight?
The veteran multi-platinum selling MC speaks earnestly, justifying the time he’s taken to refine the quartet’s innate skills: “I can’t put my name on anything that I feel is not on my level. These dudes are on my level, that’s why I pushed for the project; I believe in them.” A-listers such as Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Remy Ma, Three Six Mafia and Jagged Edge believed too, appearing on a number of the album’s tracks, which also features appearances from Rae himself and Method Man, along with production by such renowned producers as Scram Jones, Jagged Edge and EZ-Elpee. According to Rae, the collaborations weren’t just a result of Rae’s industry stature: “Yea I pushed a couple of buttons. Busta Rhymes, he’s a good friend of ours; but he knew where these dudes was at. Nobody would represent these guys if they didn’t have a good taste in they mouth about dudes”
Honing their craft for over a decade, Ice Water has paid their dues. Indeed, the release of “Polluted Water” marks both the return and rebirth of Staten Island hip-hop. The significance of the group’s long awaited emergence from the Wu-Tang Clan’s very own Shaolin stomping ground is not lost on Master Chef Raekwon: “At the end of the day, I knew I’d never build another dynasty with eight or nine dudes. But these dudes’ chemistry is perfect. This is the next dynasty.”
Raekwon presents…Ice Water: “Polluted Water” hits stores August 28th, 2007.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than a decade since the release of his highly-acclaimed solo debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Despite having dropped two other solo albums since – 1999’s Immobilarity and 2003’s The Lex Diamond Story – the streets have been fiending for more of Raekwon the Chef’s grimy street appeal that first caught their attention back in ’95. The streets asked for it, and the Chef responded.
This summer, Wu Tang Clan’s best storyteller will drop Only Built for Cuban Linx II. On one of many mini-tours to promote it, the Chef sat down with MVRemix to talk about the album, being an icon and a teddy bear, and hip-hop as a tall bitch with big feet.
MVRemix: So how long you been on tour, like late March to mid-April?
Raekwon: Yeah, something like that. A two-and-a-half week thing.
MVRemix: Is that just on the west coast?
Raekwon: Nah, that’s international right now, you know, all the different countries, just letting people know to get ready for the album. Not too many artists that take it all across the world. I like to just travel the world, let the word be known, so I can be like, ‘Yeah y’all.’ At least the places I won’t be able to always to be at, at least I can show them some honor, you know.
MVRemix: The obligatory shit: You got a release date for [Only Built 4] Cuban Linx II yet?
Raekwon: It’s gonna be in the summer, you know. It’s not really no date solidified yet, because things can happen and change, you know. We’re gonna be shooting for, like, June or July, you know. It’s probably looking like a 70/30 probability.
MVRemix: I know you don’t want to give away too many details about the album. You’re very secretive about it—
Raekwon: Very much.
MVRemix: But Busta’s executive producing?
Raekwon: No doubt.
MVRemix: And mostly RZA beats?
Raekwon: Mhmm. [Nods]
MVRemix: Some Dr. Dre, some Erick Sermon, some Alchemist?
Raekwon: It’s possible, it’s possible. I mean, you doing all the answering! Saying everything that’s correct! You know, I don’t really want to give too much information, because it kind of takes the fun out of it. And, you know, my whole thing, at the end of the day, this album is just me with a street mentality. I’m not really worried about any press or any commercial radio, you know what I mean? I couldn’t make Cuban Linx [II] with that frame of mind because that wasn’t my frame of mind when I made the first one. So basically I just zoned out and just really got on some strong production shit, you know, compliments of Dre, RZA, Scram Jones, you know, J. Dilla, God bless him, he’s a maniac on the beats. Couple of things that are already going to make it classic, so I feel good right now.
MVRemix: Yes or no: the whole Clan, minus the late ODB, is confirmed to appear on the album.
MVRemix: The tracks you and Ghostface did together were done via e-mail. How do you feel about the chemistry between the two of you when it’s done that way as opposed to in the studio together?
Raekwon: One thing about me and Ghost, we both extremists. We like powerful production and we know we got our hands on some big production. To me, it’s just natural, because when we get in a room together, the chemistry just falls in place. It’s like being around somebody that’s an athlete, and you an athlete, and when y’all talk the same talk and move the same way, things start to play out better towards the future of whatever you’re doing. It’s about that confidence, you know what I mean?
MVRemix: You’ve said repeatedly that this album is going to be what the fans want, what they asked for. For example, you told MTV.com: “Nobody’s ever satisfied. At the end of the day, this album is gonna be the album dudes want. It ain’t gonna be the album Rae felt he should have given. This is gonna be what y’all wanted.” What is the album you felt you should have given?
Raekwon: One thing about me, you know I like to be versatile, and not just go into a certain kind of world where— this world, which is basically the cocaine era. This is a movie right here, you know what I mean? This is a movie of my life and where I had been before I even became the successful Raekwon. So for people to want that, that’s cool for me, but when you look at my name chef, I have many different dishes that I like to serve, you know. For this fortunate album here, that I’m able to make, I love the passion of this album right here, because it takes it back to the hunger of hip-hop. It’s needed right now. I understand that I may be the last man on the totem pole that can pull of such an album with this kind of sound. You know, it’s about the production as well the gangsta lifestyle, you know what I mean? It was more or less about, we street, like all the way. You didn’t have to look at Wu Tang on any commercial level, or how big our fanbase got. We always had the slang, the talk, the style, the different kind of music, the beats. The formula was just totally upscale. Now, you just get a bunch of whatever. You don’t get art at its best no more.
MVRemix: Real quick: Any updates on the [Wu] reunion tour?
Raekwon: I can’t comment on that. [Smile] I can’t. I’m sorry.
MVRemix: Ghost was saying he was a little disappointed with the last couple [Wu Tang] albums [The W and Iron Flag]. What are your thoughts on that?
Raekwon: Ghost can say all that shit, but at the end of the day, it’s like, one thing people gotta realize about Wu Tang: we make good albums, man. We might not be the best single-pickin’ dudes, but I know as far as making good albums, you compare any Wu artist to anybody’s album and they can’t fuck with us when it’s more than one song. You may have one or two good videos, but— sometimes Ghost be exaggerating, you know what I mean, with his mind frame of thinking that the albums be wack. I know anything I do, I don’t never make nothing wack. Any of my songs, we might not have as much focus as we wanted to, but we don’t make wack shit, so I’m not going for that. You can go get anybody’s album, put our shit next to it, lyrics, beats, whatever you want to do, it’s self-explanatory how we really get down. That’s what people look at us for; they look at us for album. Wu is a whole different family. People gotta remember that. We can talk about tennis balls today and talk about big, heavy pieces of ice tomorrow. It’s about the creativity that lives inside of us. We’re unpredictable. You gotta remember that, you know what I mean? For me, it’s like, I learn from every album. It’s just a vibe. Everything is not made to be the same, so that’s just him talking that bullshit. I ain’t going for that. He might have not liked it, but that’s cool. To me, I think we overkill ourselves sometimes with just being our worst critics. Sometimes we don’t get a chance to promote our albums either, so they won’t get the proper loving they get, because there’s no promotion on it. We’re not moving it like that.
MVRemix: What did you get your first big pay check from and what did you do with it?
Raekwon: Robbin’ and stealin’! [Smiles] Nah. Um, I don’t even remember, actually. I think I bought me a car. Bought me a Lex, or Acura or some shit. Got up out the hood, you know what I mean? Gave my mom some money, my family some money, then kept it moving. I wanted to get out of the neighborhood. I went and bought me a house.