Interview with Raekwon

Interview with Raekwon

Besides being a part of the Wu-Tang you have also done a lot of independent work. Do you feel that you do better work as one of the large team or independently?

We always work better as a team. That’s first things first, you know? Can’t make the business work without teamwork. Independence is just something that lets you survive both levels of things. At the end of the day you can do what you can do as a man and you can do it as a team. You have to know how to create on the side. But you gotta have the power to represent all of us.

You are famous for your storytelling skills in Hip Hop. What newcomers in your opinion have similar gifts and abilities on the today’s scene?

I just flow. I’ve been a strong writer for years. That just goes with the music. I love stories. I love to freestyle too, that’s just something I grew up on. As far as the new guys with my abilities? There aren’t too many. People sometimes say, it’s all about being the best lyricist. To me it’s not about being the best, it’s all about changing with the times. You can get better or you can get worse. I believe that lyricism is still very important in the art of MC’ing. There are a lot of repeatitors. Sometime you just want to be able to grow.

How is your experience at Aftermath?

I’m just stepping into the new ballpark. The players and all, everything is cool and we look forward to a great year together. Business is business. I have a great relationship with Dre as a person, we come together for a common cause and we both want it to be literal. We know what we gotta do as business partners, we gotta make a good record. That’s what the people want.

When you begun your career there were much less underground Hip Hop acts than today. What do you think about the underground market saturation now?

I think it’s definitely important to pay attention to the past as well as the present. It’s just about who’s making good music and making sure the channels are open, the floodgates stay open. New artists and artists who paved the way. A lot of conspiracies going on now. Being down low doesn’t help the situation either. It’s important to still let the good music come through. Like us, for example. Our music hasn’t been serviced the way we’ve really seen. We got into a lot of different people so we just sit back and continue to make more and more music. People don’t recognize that the game is so polished right now, you know?

What new acts do you feel have the skills similar to the Wu members that you would have hypothetically liked to have seen as a part of Wu-Tang?

How I do is I love brothers that I know, that I really look up to and they are moving with the time. For new acts, I think, [they] gotta still earn the stripes. It’s so much about popularity now. You still gotta recognize the elderly and then we come together for a common cause, not just for political purposes or to sell records. You gotta understand how the game is important to us, the raw music… You gotta make the raw music going. Like I was telling the fans, a lot of shit is blinding our children. We gonna make songs and do beautiful collaborations based on commercial success. There has to be something pure. And the new school? The new school is the new school. Gotta have the new school but at the same time you gotta remember the past, where we came from. So just gotta understand the history and the ethnics of Hip Hop.

Hip Hop has always delivered various messages. What are the most important messages found in Hip Hop today?

I thing the messages are basically about keeping the creative side going. Stay creative, don’t let it become just a commercial thing. Your art form got to be as powerful as the money form. When an artist makes an album they should be able to give it back. So when we get involved we’ll try to make for the people who will do it any way they can. It’s important to appreciate it all. We gotta be able to give it back to the listeners. There are all kinds of music out there, chemistry and music. But is it good music? Is it something that will make people say ‘I bought an album and it’s worth it’? Not ‘cause they say ‘It’s hot ‘cause he got millions’.

Do you enjoy today’s Hip Hop in general?

I enjoy it because I’m a fan. I love entertaining. It’s about shaping it up and making it a broader thing. I look at it as it don’t gotta be one way. Hip Hop is universal. Keep it like that.