Raekwon Cubed: Still Cooking, Built To Last

Posted on 07/30/2009
Raekwon the Chef, the one of the 6-speed manual shift flow that causes major fluctuations in audible viscosity; one of hip-hop nation’s Big 3 circa 1994 with the likes of Notorious B.I.G. and Nas; regarded as one of the Wu’s most polished swordsmen and credited as author of arguably the best Wu solo project—the purple tape, the instant classic Only Built for Cuban Links (OB4CL). His lyricism is impeccable, his vernacular raw and gripping.

Conversely, his classic solo debut was followed up with less than stellar efforts, namely Immobilarity and Icewater. Rae’s fans are starving for a return to the highed-up street-savvy essence of OB4CL. In September 2009 Rae will come through and deliver Only Built For Cuban Links 2.

Mel Blunt recently spoke with Raekwon to talk all things OB4CL2.

OKP: What up Rae? I’m coming in live from D.C. up in Georgetown. What’s up with you player?

Rae: I’m good, what’s up? Yeah D.C. is one of the illest Murder Caps. Right there, people understand real things.

OKP: What! It aint’ a game. When did you first plan to release Cuban Links II?

Rae: July. It got pushed back to August to allow for necessary promotion. I worked harder and stuck my foot in it. I never try to rush. I know what it takes to make a classic. I know what a classic is.

OKP: After the delay, how does it feel to be on the verge of releasing this long awaited project?

Rae: I’m cool…not worried…I just want to make sure that you get your hands on it. I know what I’m capable of delivering.

OKP: Do you feel pressure to live up to or to outdo Cuban Links I?

Rae: No pressure, it’s nothing to talk drug stories. I’m more creative, this is me fulfilling a special request from the fans. It’s that straight white. It’s not for radio.


OKP: Is Starks going to be on this project as much as he was on the first iteration.

Rae: Tony Starks is definitely on it, but people have to understand that it’s a new day, given our schedules. He has other obligations, but he’s on there enough for people to be satisfied. You’ll hear your boy getting it in with me.

OKP: I’ve talked to Starks and RZA over the past year in regard to Cuban Links II. They both stressed the point that you’re the boss of this. How does it feel to have the reigns?

Rae: Keep it real-- it’s just my job. I’m passionate about real hip-hop. I know what the people want. Everybody wants it. I know how to navigate the ship.

OKP: what special guest rappers will appear other than Starks?

Rae: I don’t want to throw em’ out yet.

I got Cuban Links Dons from the North, the West, the South and the East. I picked the special elite. It’s going to be intensity.

OKP: Who are the sound providers?

Rae: It’s an all-star cast. I got cuts from legends like E-double (Eric Sermon -“Got Something for You”), Marley Marl -“Slippery Shit.” I made sure brothers brought new sounds that I was looking for.

OKP: What’s your feeling on Dilla? How did you get Dilla tracks?

Rae: Dilla, he’s a musical maestro, a Quincy Jones in his own world. I did not know his power until I listened to his catalog. He played his part in hip-hop. I’m glad to be involved with him. It was a blessing. He stepped his grizzly up for me. He gave the tracks that special blend. Thanks to Busta for making it happen. I got this while Dilla was still alive. I worked with the best, it was bound to happen. I really appreciated his energy.

Dilla’s whole approach was like “this is what I do!” He fucked my head up hard-body. I respect those type of soldiers.


OKP: What was Dr. Dre’s involvement with OB4CL2?

Rae:Another legend--via Busta. Dre was a big fan and wanted in. He said, “I wanna’ get down with you. Dre’s word is gold to me. He said yo, you’re a beast.

OKP: What are some of your favorite songs off OB4CL2?

Rae: I let you decide and don’t touch it. Every song is like this is what I’ve been waiting for. I never place judgment. I want the whole thing to be heat.

OKP: I hear that the robotic MF Doom makes a contribution on the project. Tell me a little about that collaboration.

Rae: Doom, MF Doom another classic cut. We got together to do whatever we can for hip-hop….to bring it up to par.

Hip-hop has gotten crazy commercial. The game is about a strategy to present an artist in a certain light. I want to believe rappers but you’ve got to make me believe you. You can’t learn the streets sitting in the house.

- Mel Blunt
Comments (15)add comment
Raasz..: ...
I'm just glad to know that Real Hip Hop neva died and see Rae still doin what we need!!!

October 02, 2009 - 12:05:40 AM
cee boogie: ...
Rae's album is tight. He came threw Va about a month ago to promote and polly w the fans. I went to the in-store which was nice and got him to sign a few old vinyl LP's. I really respect how the fans that showed up were die hard. The soundscan numbers don't look great but in these days and times looks like he'll reach gold by the holidays. I don't think you can judge great hip hop on sales (Buck & KRS) numbers don't look great either but the overall response to both projects is upbeat. In the middle of all this I've seen a resurgence of very talented heads putting out superior shit. compare the radio to the following drops in the last 30 days. 1)Rae 2)Buck and Cris 3)Torae & marco 4)M.O.P.'w/ Rakim on the horizon. shows by Goodie MOB, PRT & Organized and you'll have to admitt we got legit product coming out. Even old heads like myself have more of an outlet listening to OG net shows like: Squeeze radio. Sucio & Tim C still bring it like stretch and BOB. still blating off (Thur-1to5)DJ Eclipse-Halftime radio and sirius/D.J. Primere-Sirius/Bambatta/GM Flash/lots of hip hop just banging..


September 28, 2009 - 12:11:32 AM
D A W H U D: ...
The album is dope, I just wish the other stuff he was talking about gets released. (those other tracks)

September 23, 2009 - 12:24:59 PM
Redaktion: ...
Raekwon Video Interview


September 16, 2009 - 07:14:59 AM
Profesone: ...
Wu has definitely dropped the ball a few times and never lived up to that original out of the trunk classic. BUT, Rae and Ghost are the most street official niggas in Wu and probably most of the game. I only wish Nas had something to do with the project too. DOOM is a plus to any production (if he shows up =)).

September 05, 2009 - 11:24:32 PM
Monark: ...
Raekwon iz the truth! FUCK all the haters talking shit about WU

August 31, 2009 - 05:40:02 PM
oh!: ...
i just hope the dilla track(s) are not previously heard instrumentals or on other artists' albums/mixtapes... i'm getting tired of that.

August 14, 2009 - 12:05:58 PM
kidtruth: ...
It's a promo tour, what's he gonna say - that his own album sucks? From the three or four tracks I've heard this thing is pretty hot.

August 09, 2009 - 07:41:55 AM
DJ Kells: ...
I was there for the first .....and will be there for the second

August 06, 2009 - 04:33:15 PM
slim41: ...
heard it will be so legendary paul mcCartney will mix it!

August 06, 2009 - 03:28:40 PM
Mel Blunt: ...
@ Sidik, point taken.

August 03, 2009 - 07:08:54 AM
Sidik Fofana 1: ...
don't sleep on Immobilarity, that was a hot album too...

Sidik Fofana
Okayplayer.com Writer


August 02, 2009 - 04:32:08 PM
pddi: ...
yeah but tell me arent exited for DILLA, DRE, and DOOM?!?!?!


imagine if nas was on there too...dope

July 31, 2009 - 02:43:58 PM
THE AMV: ...

July 31, 2009 - 02:13:33 PM
brodi: ...
His answers are so predictable

July 31, 2009 - 02:24:26 AM

Write comment
smaller | bigger