It's been nearly 25 years since Raekwon first began releasing music, the moment ignited with the Wu-Tang Clan's 1993 debut album 36 Chambers, but the time hasn't passed slowly for The Chef.
"It don't feel as long as it is," he told REVOLT TV, citing his passion and the longstanding fans who continue to respect and anticipate his work. Granted, after all this time, even Rae could admit to us that those fans haven't all easily made the transition from their trusted "get the CD, pop it in your car" routine to the process of downloading digital releases, but it's still a new world Raekwon has embraced as he also shared both his excitement for Chance the Rapper's Best Rap Album win—an independent artist with a streaming-only effort—and his own personal experiences as an independent label owner. (Rae launched Ice H2O Records in 2012.)
As The Wild marks Raekwon's seventh solo album, the lyricist spoke to REVOLT TV about the inspiration behind its title, its featured guests (see: Ghostface Killah, Lil Wayne, Cee Lo, Andra Day, P.U.R.E., and others), the standout tracks he's most excited for fans to hear (look out for "M&N"), and what he hopes they feel after listening to the record. He weighed in on retiring too and, since he is "The Chef," also gave us the recipe to his kitchen specialty.
Watch the full interview and read excerpts below.
ON CAREER LONGEVITY: At the end of the day, I love my job. I come from streets, so this is all I know how to do, is just get on the mic and do what I do best.
ON THE TITLE OF THE WILD: When I was making the record, there was a lot of things going on, I'm paying attention to what's going on politically, in America, and also the music business...and seeing all the different characters, there's a lot of funny things that go on.
ON DIGITAL MUSIC: It is difficult when you got fans that don't know that world. All they know is to go get the CD, pop it in your car, boom baw baw, get the floatin' and read the credits as you riding to the store to go get the next box of blunts.
ON HIS COLLABO WITH GHOSTFACE: I know how much the fans, they wanna see me and him do our dance together so, through the grace of God, we was able to make that happen. Ghost is an energy king.
ON "MARVIN," HIS COLLABO WITH CEE LO: It was inspired by me listening to a beat...the beat just made me think about Marvin [Gaye], the beat doesn't have anything to do with Marvin samples or anything like that....I thought it would be interesting to do something on behalf of one of our black excellent artists.
ON HIS COOKING TIP: It gotta smell good in three minutes; if it ain't smelling good in three minutes, something ain't right.
ON RETIRING: Sometimes I ask myself, like, 'Dag, yo, Rae, you gon' stop one day? You did it. You did a great job. You in the legend box. Do you wanna stop?' Sometimes I challenge myself with 'yes' and 'no,' but right now, I'm too much 'yes' wit' it.
Hear The Wild below.