As part of arguably the greatest Hip-Hop group of all-time and not only legendary and iconic in Hip-Hop, but one of the greatest groups of all-time period, Wu-Tang Clan. Group member, Raekwon, has been one of the more consistent members of the seminal group, as far as solo work and always being recognized by most fans as their favorite or one of their top three favorites in the group. Rae has also always been one of the groups better performers too, who’s always willing to try new things. Which is one of several topics I delved into with Raekwon in my recent interview with him after his first ever live performance with a band this past Friday at The Promontory for the latest installment of the ever-growing Classic Hip Hop Lives series presented by Knowledge Beckom Presents. We also of course talk about the upcoming 25th year anniversary later this year of Wu-Tang Clan’s seminal groundbreaking classic debut album, Enter the 36 Chambers. So kick back, relax and check out my brief recent interview with Raekwon.
Nello for TheHipHopDemocrat.com: I’m Nello Rubio with TheHipHopDemocrat.com.
Raekwon: Nice to meet you.
Nello: So you guys (Wu-Tang Clan) are getting ready for the upcoming 25th Anniversary of, Enter the 36 Chambers and you guys have obviously been around for so long. What do you think has helped you guys be so consistent and stay around for so long?
Raekwon: We been around and consistent for so long is because we love what we do. We love it and music, it brought us together on another level. With the music and us connecting, we created something that the world loved. So automatically in our hearts, it tells us to keep moving forward. To keep giving you guys the best music we can ever make and that’s what keeps us together is the fans. Just giving them what they want out of us. Letting us know we are still relevant today. That’s what counts. You know, you don’t get a chance to see to see to many artists that got a 25 trek record that can still come and fvck shows up and kill it the way you want it to be killed. We still do that. So you know, when we see the fans get excited, we get even more excited.
Nello: Yeah, I seen you guys back here in September at Riot Fest and you guys even with your performance. You have always stayed consistent and like you said besides outside the fans, what’s kept you guys going?
Raekwon: Just the ability to love music. You know we love it. We love Hip-Hop. We gave you a special piece of us in our music. It’s like it lives in our souls and bodies everyday. So it’s like when you come from a culture that made you who you’re today. You tend to always want to live in it and that’s what we are doing. We are living in it. It’s been a great career and it’s still going.
Nello: You guys have also besides the group, all been able to maintain great solo careers as well. What do you think the difference is between working with the group and working solo?
Raekwon: Working with the group, is like you get a little bit more leeway, but you also get a collective thought with other people’s minds in one room. It’s different when you got to think about it on our your own. But when you have a group factor, you have many people and many minds chiming in on what’s we are trying to do create. So that’s always better. So for me I know how to separate it and when I go out there I do what I do, I can do my thing. But doing it with the crew, I can just lay back and be inspired by something they giving me now. So that’s what makes it different. You know you get different energies from different albums and that’s what we always wanted to do and show the world. Is that we can give you this a little bit of this. Where you can get a crew or a solo or even a double. You know that’s what it’s all about. That’s what Wu-Tang Clan represents. We always represent Voltron. We could form as one thing and we could break it down for solos. So when you get different albums. You get different vibes and different motives from the music.
Nello: You, Ghostface and Method Man, even had an album you guys worked on together, with, Wu-Massacre. Do you think there’s a possibility that you guys can eventually end up doing another project like that together again?
Raekwon: You know what a lot of people been talking about it. You know, this is a long time ago where I heard people wanting that to happen. But you never know. You know what I mean. I love Mef and Ghost. There energy is always charismatic when they’re rhyming and you know they got a great sense of direction when it comes to making albums. So we will see. We will see if it happens. You know it’s great music. It’s great music, like I said. We don’t know what we are going to give you all. But we are going to give y’all something dope. But I like that. I would be up to wanting to do that, if that is what it was. So let’s just see what happens. But right now we got more multiple albums coming out and we just enjoying it right now. When it come, it’s just going to come! I don’t know when it’s going to come, but when it do it’s going to be serious!
Nello: Yeah, it seems like a lot of you guys are starting to put out a lot more solo work again now. With Masta Killa and U-God recently and Method Man talking about coming out with Crystal Meth. And even Ghostface even talking about another Supreme Clientele. Is there another solo album we can expect from you soon too?
Raekwon: You know I got some things up my sleeves right now. So I don’t just want to throw anything out there yet. I’m just trying to deliver some projects on another level right now that I’ve been working on. You know so this is not pertaining to music. This is more pertaining to another source of income that I feel is helping me get to where I want to go with the film side of things. So I’m just really trying to aim at different things because it’s fun to make music, but I’m not trying to do it forever. I want to do other things. So multi-tasking and crunching numbers and just trying to bring more different projects that people are going to respect to the table. Music factor, it’s like I just dropped, The Wild. Which ain’t even a year old yet and it was a great album. Everybody supported it and whatever I got out of it, I’m truly blessed for it. A lot of people call it a classic. So that’s a good feeling. It’s like sometimes you need a break and strike next year. You going see something next year. Right now I just got other things on deck and on the table.
Nello: Yeah, speaking of Method Man. He’s really the only member from the group that’s really got over to the acting side of things. So do you think that’s something that you want to explore a lot more?
Raekwon: Absolutely, it’s all about doing what you love to do. You know I’m proud of my brother over their acting. And you know we all want to be actors and do it to that level too. But he just happened to do it first. You know you may see more things from me involved in the Hollywood world and when they start calling, I will take it for what it’s at that time. You know I’m director too though. You know I like to produce my own shows and things of that nature as well. So I got a lot of things lined up on the film side too. So just get ready.
Nello: So you rocked out with the band and Chicago always shows you a lot of love out here. What was the experience like rocking out with a live band for the first time with the Mo Fitz Project?
Raekwon: Oh rocking out with the band, it was smooth for my first time. Meeting them guys. It was like I believed in them. I didn’t have to second guess it because they were able to get to this level where we connected and I knew they were going do their jobs. When I got up there I was very much impressed too. It seemed like a whole different energy shoot out of me listening to them. So it was dope and I told them, “Thank you.” It was something that me and my team and the promoters of this event thought we could do for the fans. So when it got back to me that it was going be a band situation. I was down for it and I was like, ‘Yo, you know what, let’s do it.” And when I met those dudes, they did their job. And it’s about doing your job. They came out there and put on a show. That young lady, Natasha, has a super golden voice. She reminds me of a, Blue Raspberry 2. Cause it was like that was dope too. So I was just as stunned as the crowd was. It was a good show tonight.
Nello: Besides possibly working with Twista again, is there any other Chicago artists you actually haven’t worked with yet that you would want to work with?
Raekwon: You know when it’s time it’s going to happen. I respect a lot of cats out here. When they decide to reach out, that’s I want take action. I want to hear more though. And when it happens, it happens.
Nello: You brought up about R. Kelly during the show. You think that they should his legacy with his music live on and try to not really interrupt it like they have been starting to?
Raekwon: Yeah, I say he’s been being penalized. I’m not here to judge a situation. But it’s like the music side of it, that’s his greatness right there. Let him keep that and preserve that and also give him a fair shot at understanding what really took place. You know and I just feel like, the music, don’t just take the man’s legacy down. Because if that’s the case there’s so many alleged allegations out there for a lot of people and you never shot that down before. So let’s be rationale about the situation and think about it before we do that. Like that man has added on and inspired so many other artists and singers. You know let him hold on to that. But at the same time he gotta deal with what’s in front of him too and I’m sure he feels he’s innocent in his eyes. I’m not here to place no judgement on his situation. I’m just thinking about from the music side. Like, yo, just let the music live.
Nello: Finally before I close out. Is there any other projects you want to let the fans to know about or that they can expect to come soon?
Raekwon: Yeah, right now we are working on The Purple Tape, documentary. You know we almost done with that. Getting ready for that particular project, which is a documentary. So that’s something is coming soon to a theater near you or a television near you. You know that and I got some more great things that I’m going to surprise y’all with later. So it’s coming.