Picking out your ten favourite albums of all time is no mean feat. Having to cut down a lifetime of enjoying music into just ten discs is damn-near impossible. However, it doesn’t mean it isn’t fun trying. When an artist of some repute takes on the task, the intrigue levels rise astronomically and the desire to see who and what makes the coveted list of your favourite star. Today, we’re looking at the favourite albums of Wu-Tang Clan‘s Raekwon.
Submitted as part of Rolling Stone’s updated 500 greatest albums of all time list, the iconic New York rapper shares the ten albums he holds dearest. As well as holding some classics from bandmates, including Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientele, Raekwon also paid tribute to some of the legends of hip hop including Biggie Smalls, Mary J Blige and Lauryn Hill.
One thing we must clear up before we proceed, however, is just how devoted Raekwon is to Wu-Tang. The artist is a founding member of the group and, alongside the ruffians, has developed a career that few can stand toe to toe with. Naturally, a shameless self-promoter, Raekwon includes not only some of Wu’s work in his list but some of his bandmates and his own albums.
Picking out Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientele, Raekwon said of the album: “Me and Ghost, we’ve been each other’s favourite rapper since the ’90s. Ghost is a character within himself. He has a crazy charisma about him, and he took this album to the next level, lyrically. It’s Ghostface expressing himself to the masses, the way he wanted to.”
Also included on Raekwon’s list was Wu-Tang Clan’s monstrous debut LP Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It’s a stone-cold classic about which Raekwon noted: “I knew we had made a classic before the world knew it. It was a mission accomplished with that one. RZA brought a new sound to the table; he showed the world that every track doesn’t have to be regular. The stuff that he was making, combining it with karate shit and mixing it with his own twist of samples, taking pieces of beats and putting it together — nobody never did it that way. RZA came with this whole different sound that fucked the world up. He was really getting busy and bringing you mad different sounds.”
Another name on the list was Raekwon’s own 1995 record Only built 4 Cuban Linx, a supreme moment in the rapper’s career. “Cuban Linx was the godfather album of the streets,” recalled Raekwon. “I wasn’t worried about making an album that people could dance to — and back then, a lot of people might have expected that from me, but I went the other way. I wanted to give people a walk into my world. When we finished this album and I first heard it, I said, ‘Yo, this is the most abstract, fly, lavish, grimy, cinematical, suspenseful album that anybody’s ever going to hear.'”
Of course, the list isn’t all Raekwon jams. He also doffs his cap to Lauryn Hill, Mary J Blige, Eric B and Rakim’s classic Paid in Full as well as Michale Jackson’s Thriller. But, of course, no New York rapper’s list of favourites is complete without Biggie Smalls. Raekwon picks out his debut album Ready to Die: “Ready to Die was the shit. Big was coming up around the same time we were. The whole New York scene was on fire back then. You had a lot of cats in different boroughs that were like, ‘Yo, it’s a guy named Biggie Smalls out there that’s killing it.’ Me, I fell in love with the name, Biggie Smalls — it sounds like a gangster that really knows what he’s doing on that mic.”
Below, you can find the full list of Raekwon’s favourite albums of all time.
Raekwon’s 10 favourite albums ever:
- Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele (2000)
- Eric B. and Rakim – Paid in Full (1987)
- Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded (1987)
- Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
- The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die (1994)
- Mary J. Blige – My Life (1994)
- Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995)
- Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
- Keith Sweat – Make It Last Forever (1987)
- Michael Jackson – Thriller (1983)