(Rae pic by Kenneth Cappello)
While poking around the Juelz show for any sort of grub besides skate rink corn dogs and nacho cheese, we accidentally rubbed shoulders with Shaolin’s finest, Chef Raekwon himself. Turns out Mr. Lex Diamonds was due to perform at that day (he ended up not going on), so there wasn't time to go Dr. Phil on him; instead, we just blurted out every question that’s been burning since we got word of the forthcoming Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II. He fed our minds, and will feed yours after the jump.
What’s going on with Cuban Linx II?
Working on, it’s finally in the makings. It’s gonna be a sick record, a lot of hard joints. We’re taking it back to like the underground, classic Wu-era. We had the different kinds of music, production and all that, so you’re gonna hear lots of street tales over gritty sounds, it’s gonna be hot though.
How much is RZA doing on the album?
He’s doing a substantial amount. He’s basically keeping our ears open to more product. Right now, it’s the new millennium, we’re not really trying to saturate it with just us, we want to be able to get other opportunities to producers too, to appear with someone that big. It’s really a blessing to be able to do it like that.
You just dropped a new mixtape too, right?
Yeah we got a new mixtape out called The Vatican, it’s basically just letting everybody know our brand is still out there. And you know you get a chance to hear some new songs, hear some skits, and basically just kind of fill out who I am, the person that I am. Like I said, it’s just to let people know to get ready for what’s about to come, so there’s a lot of highlights on this album that’s gonna be having people going crazy. Get ready for it.
How many cuts did you end up doing on Ghostface’s new album?
Must have done about 4 or 5 joints.
And that’s dropping a month or two before yours?
Well we’re looking for an April release, and I think Ghost is looking at February or March.
You think you’re gonna have any really easy single off the album, like Ghost is doing with “Be Easy”?
To be honest, if you really look at the element of [ Only Built 4 Cuban Linx] there’s a lot of street shit on that album, and I’m basically just trying to capture that for that core audience real quick, I’m not really caught up in the frame of having a mainstream record, I’m just giving everybody a vibe of what they wanted, when they wanted it. Singles will probably be announced, but it ain’t like I have one here or one there.
That’s probably for the better.
I mean I realized that I can’t sell myself short on how I feel. If this the music that I’m making, and at the time I want this to be heard, then that’s what it’s gonna be. It’s not just like I don’t have sympathy for the people or what they may want, but everybody want that hard shit from me, so I’m just gonna keep it hard.
Is there any one track on that album that you’re already really excited about, something on a level with other classics?
Well put it like this, I got a song on there with a couple of members from the Clan, and it’s called “The House of Flying Daggers.” And that’s gonna be a big record, because we kinda got everybody in the same frame of mind, it’s as if we did “Protect Ya Neck” again. We call the tongue a sword, so “The House of Flying Daggers” is a bunch of dudes with their swords out, getting busy. So it’s gonna be one of them kind of songs, that it’s gonna highlight the album and make the Wu so big that people are gonna be like “This is what we want to hear from you.” Like I said, I’m just rhyming, letting everybody know that I still got it. But when it comes time to judge a single, I’m not gonna judge it, I’m gonna let the people judge it. I feel more comfortable with them saying what they like and what they don’t like. Everybody can’t like everything, but at the same time I want to give the people a type of way where they can hear a couple of things and then recall it. But, this is a prolific record, this is a very, very high volume rap record. You ain’t gonna hear too much of that smooth clean shit on there. It’s gonna be a lot of dirty shit, but this is what people want. It’s the Cuban Link era, it’s on.
Do you think the clan is going to be doing anything as a whole any time soon?
I can say yeah. As far as us getting into the same building though, right at the moment, it’s kind of tough, because everybody has individual projects that still bring about financial problems. We just gotta stay busy and continue to do mad work.
It’s been a decade since Cuban Linx came out, are you thinking its going to be a decade more before a follow-up to this next one?
I know this game like you know how to tie your sneakers. I haven’t been able to drop a lot of albums, but in 2006 I got a new plan, a new development that’s going on, that y’all are gonna be like “Wow, he’s showing us his work ethic.” It’s still in the beginning stages of everything, even in my career. I got the energy for this though, I’m gonna be here for a long time.