(AllHipHop Features) The original LP hit store shelves in 1995 and has gone on to be regularly cited as a seminal body of work by rap enthusiasts. It’s 2009 sequel was well-received by the culture as well.
The Chef shares his thoughts about the next Wu album during our discussion. Rae also reflects on fan love, Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s classic Grammy moment, and his lofty musical legacy.
I know you’re focused on The Wild right now, but you’ve talked about maybe doing a third Cuban Linx*****. Is that still the plan?\*
If it happens, it happens. Right now, I can’t see the future. But it may happen when it’s time. It just gotta make sense to me and my world. I feel like if it’s going to come, you guys will be the first ones to know. Part 2 bust my ass. I ain’t gonna front because it was challenging at that time. The record took a long time to really get to that level.
Was it because of the name?
It was definitely because of the name. That record is looked at as one of the top 5 greatest albums of all time on the Hip Hop side of things. I didn’t want to go in there, just do anything and call it that. Rae is never going to do that when it comes to doing trilogies.
I see right now that they’re trying to do Scarface over. That’s like doing Cuban Linx over, in my eyes. It’s like, “Okay, what are y’all going to do? Who is going to play the roles?” That sh-t has to be serious because if you f-ck it up you’re going to disappoint people.
It’s the same feeling. So if I do it, it would be over after that. There won’t be no Cuban Linx 5 and all this sh-t. I’m the type of n-gga to just do one, two, and three – if we get to three. I doubt that we may do it because I always want to do it the best I can do it. I’m not there right now. I’m here right now.
Do you have to be in a certain mindset for that particular persona?
Yeah, that’s like envisioning the drug world again. We’ll see. I love those kinds of movies, because I call them movies. At the end of the day, you never know.
Nah, I never heard of that.
There was a rumor going around that when Martin Shkreli bought the Wu-Tang album [**\*Once Upon A Time In Shaolin\*] there was a clause in the contract that said the only way anyone could get the album was if Bill Murray and members of Wu-Tang steal the album from Shkreli. It flew around the internet and people believed it was true.**
Nah, I never heard about that. I had no knowledge of that.
[laughs] See why I tell you we’re living in “the wild” right now?
The Grammys were on recently, and it made me think about that classic Ol’ Dirty Bastard moment.
God bless him. That’s my heart.
He actually “Kanye’d” an award show before Kanye was even around. Were you there that night?
When he rushed the stage? I was there. That was the funniest sh-t in the world. It was like I was embarrassed but at the same time, I loved it. Because he’s the type of dude that would do that. Do you remember that commercial where they say, “Mikey likes it!”? Mikey just don’t care. It was classic.
It was a fun time. [ODB] and Sticky [Fingaz] from Onyx got together. Me and Sticky even talked about it later on. He told me, “Rae, I was the n-gga that gassed him to do it.” I said, “You was the n-gga that did it?” He was like, “Word.” We were just laughing.
When Dirty feels that he wants to do something, he’s going to do it. That day he was clean. His braids were official. He had on a nice suit. He spent some bread, and he made it his business to be seen. That’s how he always is. He’s always been the type of individual that’s not shy. He’s straight up.
There had been times when we had rehearsals, and we’re sitting in front of a bunch of people, business executives, and owners. He’d come in with his crazy ass attitude and make everybody laugh. The next thing you know, he’d brighten the room up with his realness. That’s how he always was.
The Wu has a very devoted fan base. Do you have a memorable moment with a diehard Wu-Tang Clan fan?
I would say the most memorable moments are when you see the fans get those tattoos of the “W” on them. Recently, I saw a fan with a picture of me on his arm. I respected it so much because he’s gonna die with that, I assume. Maybe he might take it off next year if he don’t like me no more. [laughs]
To me, it’s one of the biggest things to see people brand our logo on their skin or name their children after us. That’s enough for me to invite you to dinner and just chill with you. Now you’ve become like a brother or sister to me when I see things like that.
I love my legends with the same passion, but I never thought about putting a tattoo on me. That to me is respect and shows they understand our story. That’s memorable to me. It makes me feel like, “Damn Rae, you really went from the bottom up. You touched people like how Martin Luther King changed the world. You changed the world in so many ways.” It’s a great feeling.
You worked with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League for The Wild*****. They sent out a tweet saying after they worked with you, they began working on the next Wu album. Have you recorded anything for that album?\*
I didn’t record anything yet. I think the production side of things is still being built. I think they’re working on it, but it hasn’t hit my desk yet. We’ve been scattered and doing different things.
But I did get some wind of it that they were sending production through the pipelines to see what’s going on. I know it’s going to be dope. I can’t wait to hear it.
Is Ghostface still spearheading that project?
Yes, that’s something that he was definitely passionate about. I got his back 100 percent on whatever it may be. Even though he may be spearheading it, we’re all still going to put our input on it. It’s just good to know he’s passionate in that department when it comes to wanting to do it.
We all got each other’s back. We’re all going to put our foot in it at some point to make it even iller. It’s gotta be super ill. So get ready.
It seems like the level of respect for 90’s era Hip Hop has increased even more recently. Fat Joe and A Tribe Called Quest had big years last year. These guys came out in the early 90’s. Then you have The Breaks on VH1 which is based on that same time period. At the time you were living it, did you realize that you guys were making something that would be talked about and revisited for decades?
It wasn’t 100 percent accurate that would be what it was. I guess we were so passionate about what we stood on that we believed we would be around forever, and it just panned out that way.
But it’s all about what you put into the business and how you add on. I think the guys you said – they’ve been adding on for so long. Not only being successful but also giving others help. That stretches out your brand too.
The guys you named have been around because they stayed attached to the business. They supported the artists. Look at Joe. He was the one that discovered DJ Khaled. Look at where Khaled is today. I’m proud of Khaled for going where he’s gone with his music and becoming a master at what he’s good at.
So I guess when we’re saying things like, “we’re gonna be around for a while,” it’s because of the passion that we have for what we’re doing. We’re all former hustlers in the streets. To be able to get away from that and find a new hustle – which is this music – that’s beautiful.
Every artist wants to be able to have that kind of run. It’s a great feeling, but we couldn’t have called it back then all the way. We only went with our hearts. Sometimes that’s what you gotta do. Just go with your heart. Nobody else has to feel it, but if you feel it, that’s all that counts.
Raekwon’s The Wild is scheduled for release on March 24.