Raekwon is a respected New York City rapper and earned respect as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. His debut album, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx was a platinum-selling record and is still considered an East Coast classic. The musician (real name Corey Woods) was widely considered one of the most lyrical members of the Clan and was one of the few who successfully developed a solo career following the collective’s dissipation.
Raekwon was born and raised in Brooklyn but went to high school in Staten Island, where he met Ghostface Killah. Proceeding to attend a Staten high school, he would later become close friends with Remedy, Method Man and Inspectah Deck. When Woods first began rapping, he went under the stage name Sha Rider. However, upon joining Wu-Tang Clan in 1992, Woods switched his pseudonym to Raekwon The Chef, which eventually became just Raekwon.
Following the release of the legendary Wu-Tang anthem ‘C.R.E.A.M.’, Woods began working on his debut album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. As the collective was on Loud Records, its artists were afforded solo record deals. Although Raekwon’s debut album was highly successful, it didn’t reach the same dizzying heights as Method Man’s Tical.
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx was solely produced by Wu-Tang’s legendary beatmaker and founder, RZA, who was regarded for his lo-fi and gritty production style and heavily featured Ghostface Killah. The sequel to the album was released through Dr Dre’s Aftermath in 2007. Raekwon has released seven full-length studio albums, the last being, The Wild, in 2017.
Speaking on his time with the Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon told TIDAL magazine, “Being a part of a supergroup like Wu-Tang Clan – which really broke some barriers in the game – it meant so much to me and it made me feel like I really had a purpose. We learned together. Each one of us helped each other get better. When you surround yourself with great men only greatness can come out of it. Nothing was fabricated. We were not emcees who talked about stuff we didn’t know about. We lived it! Everything we spoke about was real life.”
In a recent interview with GQ, Raekwon spoke about his upcoming album, his time in the Wu-Tang Clan and even revealed his top five rappers. You can take a look at his favourite MCs in the list below.
Raekwon’s favourite rappers:
- Slick Rick
- Kool G Rap
- Chuck D