Raekwon spent years working on his critically acclaimed Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, the sequel to 1995's classic Purple Tape. When it hit the streets in September, the Wu-Tang Clan general knew hip-hop heads would enjoy the product. but when one magazine announced that they enjoyed The Chef's cooking, it took him by surprise.
Time ranked Pt. II number seven on its Top 10 Albums year-end list. "That's the last magazine that I would've even thought would really acknowledge hip-hop on the level that all the urban magazines do," Rae said on the phone from Washington, D.C. before hitting the stage to perform at his latest tour stop.
"It definitely blew my mind," he continued. "I looked at it like, 'Wow. This is the journal of America. And I'm the only rap cat up there.' It [would've] felt like I was number one even if I was 29."
The 16-year rap veteran is pleased to still be able to make an impact in the music industry. "All I can do is count my blessings and thank the fans for giving me the opportunity to come back again," he said.
As this year comes to a close, Rae's already cutting tracks for a yet-to-be titled album on Def Jam with his Wu-Tang brothers, Method Man and Ghostface. He says contrary to various reports, the set will not be called "Wu Massacre."
"Us three decided to do this project and keep the legacy alive. Trust me. We've got some things loaded up. We're working." They've already leaked "Meth vs. Chef (Part 2)," the sequel to the single featured on Meth's 1994 debut Tical album and a buzz single from the forthcoming effort.
Rae hopes to release the trio's album in March. --Brad Wete