In 2009, the Wu’s Raekwon made it clear why his longevity and skill is admired by so many, and even to this day, he’s able can compete with the genre’s best, especially on the mic. Because that year, he dropped a little album called Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II, which has nearly his gold sales — a major feat, being that he released it independently — and was touted as one of the standout LPs of the year.
Well, next week, the legendary rapper is hoping for a repeat, when he drops his upcoming fifth studio album, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang, which Rae calls another classic.
“This one is fire too. It’s another classic [following OBFCL 2]. I didn’t stop, I managed to keep moving forward, saying ‘You know what? I’m really gonna show n****s how I shoot this rifle this time,’ ” Raekwon explained to BallerStatus.com, during a recent sit down in Los Angeles. “Before I had a nice .45. Now I have a f***in’ AK, the new 2012 sh**. The all you do is tap the button sh** and the sh** go ‘burrrapp.’ You know what I mean? That’s where I’m at, mentally, right now.
“I’m more of a workhorse now. All I wanted do is show people that is what they slept on … me being able to do again, that I could do it. Now, my sh** is to do it again,” he continued.
Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang is a conceptual album Rae cooked up, offering a metaphorical beef between the Wu and the Shaolin side of the crew, which he calls the “stronger, more disciplined”.
According to the rapper, the concept follows the same story line of the 1981 kung fu film of the same title, where rival martial arts in the same city, the Shaolin and Wudangquan, battle it out.
A little beef? Nah, he says, it’s just the “strong fighting the motherf***in’ ego.”
“The album right there is a serious concept album. When I say serious, I mean like just look at the title. It’s a beef going on. It’s a subliminal beef with two schools, but they both from the same spot,” the Chef explains, before clarifying that it doesn’t mean his membership with the Wu has been revoked. “All I did is let my paintbrush fly the way I felt as being a Wu-Tang member. Because I’m not against Wu-Tang, I can never be. I am Wu-Tang n****. You see that ‘W’, you gone always see me,” the Chef clarifies. “At the end of the day, the Shaolin side, to me, is the disciplined side, the stronger side. So now, it’s the strong fighting the motherf***in’ ego.
“When you look at the movie, which I request ya’ll to do before you get into the album, you gonna see like ‘Yo, these n****s from the same spot, but these n****s a little loose. They start letting other motherf***ers getting into they mind, f***in’ they whole camp up, while the Shaolin dude gotta come in and save sh**.’ It’s mixing two styles together. But, you got somebody from the outside in, that feel like ‘Yo, we don’t wanna see that happen. We don’t want them to be that successful. We wanna be successful — we wanna learn that sh**.’ That’s what this album is about man.”
The upcoming album will feature 17 tracks, plus two bonus tracks when purchased through iTunes, with a mix of featured artists — including Busta Rhymes, Estelle, Jim Jones, Nas, Lloyd Banks, Rick Ross, and Black Thought, as well as his Wu brothers Ghostface, Inspectah Deck, and Method Man.
Despite the long list of guests, Raekwon made it very clear to us that he handpicked each guest and made them jump into his world to record their parts, not the other way around.
“It’s got quality, quality MCs on it. Quality MCs, period, that just came up for air and jumped into MY WORLD,” said Rae. “I didn’t jump in they world. Anytime I do a record with someone, that’s what I tend to do: is jump into they world. Now these cats came and jumped in my world. They came in and filled in the blanks, and we made the right decisions on picking the right heads”
Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang is set to drop March 8.