Raekwon is a respected New York City rapper who earned plaudits as a lyricist in 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. He has made a lot of quality material. However, over the years, there have been several projects he was highly unhappy with.
Born in Brooklyn, Raekwon (real name Corey Woods) moved to Staten Island at a young age, and it was in high school he met Ghostface Killah. While living in the Park Hill neighbourhood, the emcee also became 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 he eventually shortened.
As part of the Wu-Tang Clan, Woods featured on some classics, including ‘C.R.E.A.M.,’ ‘Protect Ya Neck’ and ‘The Art Of Shadow Boxing’. However, as the crew slowly dissipated in the late-1990s, he grew frustrated with several members, including the Clan’s founder, RZA.
In an interview with DJ Vlad for Vlad TV, Raekwon explained why specific Wu-Tang albums were low-quality. Speaking about RZA (real name Robert Diggs) giving the crew mixed messages, Woods divulged, “You can’t tell us you’re gonna fix something on the album and next thing you, it don’t get fixed when on top of that dudes don’t like what they’re hearing.”
Woods proceeded to unveil the prevailing sentiment amongst the group when their album 8 Diagrams got released in 2007, “That album, we was f*cking pissed with it! A lot of us! The majority of us was like, ‘Yo, this sh*t right here is an ugly baby!” He continued, “When we listened to the finals of the finals, we was like, ‘Nah, this album is rushed. It’s not it. It’s not where we want it to be’…It’s just not what we want to present coming after six years.”
The project frustrated Woods so much that he planned a follow-up group album that would not involve RZA, as he was the driving force behind the highly unsuccessful 8 Diagrams. You can hear Raekwon talking about the album below.