The Lex Diamond Story (2003)
I was on Loud Records, which was going through a transitional time. Loud was closing its shop, so I joined up with Universal. I was in control of my own destiny. RZA didn’t have any hands on the Lex Diamond album. It was no longer a Wu-Tang Clan production. I was coming into the Universal building as a solo artist, so I wanted to give the label a record that I felt they would understand. I feel like I know how to be creative; I know how to make great music if I’m given the space for it. And coming to that building it made me feel more independent about my situation. I felt like I made a strong album, but at the end of the day Universal didn’t understand me. They didn’t know how to deal with the records I was coming with. Now there were some people in the building that were in support mode for me like Kedar Massenburg. He was one of the individuals who were dealing with my project and he just let me do me. But I also had a lot of other people in my ear telling me, “Yo, come with something commercial.” They wanted me to stray away from the hardcore shit and try to come more mainstream.
I was really indecisive on which way to go. One of my singles, which was called “The Hood,” was more up-tempo than any of my previous records. It was a happy record and that might not have been a song that people wanted to hear from me, When I wanted to come with something harder that’s when I got the label politics. They were only concerned with me getting radio time, not making a strong record. I realized that my fanbase was looking at me like, “Hey, hold up! This is not Raekwon.” Lex Diamond was definitely a learning experience.