As one of the founding fathers of hip-hops grittiest groups, WU-Tang Clan member Raekwon has impacted the hip-hop scene with his exceptional lyrics and musky flow. The groups diversity and originality is what helped fuel the east coast into snatching back airplay and album sales. Raekwon the Chef breathed a fresh sound on his groundbreaking Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (which went gold in just 3 days) in 1995 that influenced the way hip-hop lyrics were delivered. After a few more Wu-Tang albums, two more solo albums, and a slew of singles, Raekwon returns with the heat with the highly anticipated follow up to his first classic album entitled “Cuban Linx II”. Check out Raekwon as he kicks it with WHO?MAG about his latest release.
Interview by Will Hernandez

WHO?MAG: Talk to me about Cuban Link II?
Raekwon: It’s serious man. It’s one of the most anticipated albums of the decade in rap right now. I’m putting Five hundred percent into it, like I would do any one of my projects. But this one is a little bit more special because it has a landmark to it that people know me by. I’m going to deliver. You have moments in your career that it’s exciting for you and it’s a challenge. That’s where I’m at. I’m showing everybody that it can get done and it’s going to get done right.

WHO?MAG: Who do have on it production wise besides The RZA?
Raekwon: Me and RZA we’re a combination. That’s automatically there. We gave an opportunity to a couple of new dudes that’s coming out because a lot of dudes were students at one point; being enrolled by RZA’s production. One thing about me, if you got something that fits the criteria with what we’re dealing with, I’m going to break bread with you because I feel you’ve reached that level of respect with us. Know what I mean? You have one, two or maybe even three different individuals along side RZA that really deserve the opportunity to be here. I’m about seeing that hip hop is growing and that producers could be respected on the level that major producers respect dudes on. You may have an album that comes from dudes from the street that aren’t getting that much goap or attention as high class producers, but still high class producers can say ya’ll respect that.

WHO?MAG: How did you get Busta Rhymes involved to be executive producer of Cuban Link II?
Raekwon: Busta and I have a dynamic relationship where we love one another for what we do and we love each other as brothers in the game that’s really got a name. Busta always had a thing for Wu Tang Clan period. He always would express that with us. It happened to be a day where we met and we were talking about Cuban Link and he was giving me pointers on how I need to be coming with whatever I’m coming with. At the end of day I’m never too old to listen. I’m a good listener and a good learner. When we started kicking it; it was just the spirit that really brought us together. It happened out the blue. He was like “Yo! Whatever I can do to help you man. You know you my brother. I’m going to help you.” It wasn’t that I need the help. It was more or less because he respects my work ethic and my work period. It’s only a plus to the table. I feel like that certain rap dudes in the game that give back lyrically or you got brothers supporting one another in that capacity. It’s beautiful. I would never turn down the hand of something he’s telling me I should do because it’s not his project. Nah it is his project if he feel like that about me. Now it becomes his project because he show’s his concern for my shit.

WHO?MAG: What is your fondest memory of recording the first Cuban Link album?
Raekwon: It was the passion at that time. It was a passion to get in the game and basically be heard. Let people know the energy we coming with. When I was making it I had a lot of desire to be heard and a lot of desire to get my respect. Now that I’ve gotten it, I just feel like at the end of the day I still got to maintain the fort. I still feel like I’m a baby at this. Know what I mean? Even though I’ve been 10 years in the business, I still feel like I didn’t get a lot to say. Like I didn’t get my nut off; like when you fucking a chick you came, but that was alright, but I didn’t really get my nut off. You feel me? That was an ill statement right there.

WHO?MAG: Were you happy the way Loud records promoted Cuban Link?
Raekwon: You know I was happy with hip-hop in general around that time because it was a lot of competitive dudes and we were really doing what we were doing. At the end of the day, it’s just about revamping the vibe and the formula that made Cuban Link what it was. I’ve done that. I have no problem doing that. This album is for the niggas that really been wanting this album. It goes beyond me what I feel about. It’s just one of them albums that really glorified and now that it’s coming back around doing the second one. I can only grow now and I’m sure people understand that in my pen game. This dude is going to be the ill lyricist. Right now we know what we got to do for hip hop and that is bringing the new sound to the table. That new style of rap on top of the grimy shit that niggas know that a kid do. We about to rewrite the game again, for real!