Raekwon with Freddie Gibbs
Bourbon Theatre, 1415 O St., Lincoln,
7 p.m., $20 in advance/$25 day-of-show, bourbontheatre.com
As one of the nine original members of the infamous New York City hip-hop collective, Raekwon The Chef helped make Wu-Tang a permanent part of rap history. After branching out on his own in 1995, Raekwon continues to spit out solo efforts left and right. The Wu-Tang Clan, however, remains family. It’s not uncommon to see RZA, GZA or Ghostface Killah pop up on Raekwon’s albums. His most recent, Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang, was resurrected in retaliation to RZA’s ill-fated involvement in the last full-length Wu-Tang Clan album, 8 Diagrams. The Chef took a break from promoting his new Unexpected Victory mixtape to talk ODB and the future of Wu-Tang.
Why do you think Wu-Tang had such a massive impact on the hip-hop world?
Raekwon: Wu-Tang had a massive impact on the world because Wu-Tang started with nothing. They started from the ground up. They came from the street and came with a plan. At the time, we just changed the game with a whole different philosophy. We showed dudes how to come up with your dreams and be firm about what you believe in. I would say confidence was something that Wu Tang brought to every artist in the world to be more confident with what you’re dealing with. (Valium) We knew we would succeed.
How did ODB’s death affect the Clan?
That shit definitely hurt us. We came together, but at the same time it left a scar on everybody that he’s not here. Some of us blame ourselves for it, not being there enough. We felt we should have been more of a hands-on brother to him. I meant, it gets rough every now and then. We don’t want to mourn. We want to celebrate who he was and what he meant to us. It did take a huge toll on us though. He was too young.
Why was there so much internal conflict over the 8 Diagrams record?
There was a lot of conflict over it because we didn’t like the direction of where the music was going, you know. The music was kind of slow. It was really dragging and there wasn’t a lot of motivation that we felt would excite the fans. RZA, being the leader, we felt like he made a bad decision as far as really putting the album out. It really caused a lot of stir-up within the family. Everybody wasn’t happy. When you’re not happy with something, there’s only so much you can keep in. We just wanted to come with something different. We wasn’t expecting that. We put a lot of trust in RZA, but he just didn’t hit the bullseye this time, ya know?