Corey Woods (born January 12, 1970), known by his stage name Shallah Raekwon, is an American East Coast rapper and a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. Raekwon may not have achieved the solo stardom of his fellow Wu-Tang Clan members Method Man, Ol' Dirty Bastard or RZA but along with Genius/GZA and frequent partner Ghostface Killah, he's done some of the most critically acclaimed work outside the confines of the group. His 1995 album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... is widely considered to be one of the best Wu-Tang solo albums, and one of the finest and most influential hip hop albums of the 1990s. Over the years, Raekwon has become known for staying true to his New York street fan base and making little effort to appeal to those outside of the city.

In The Wu-Tang Manual, RZA explains that Raekwon also derives the "chef" moniker from his experience as an actual chef ("He was known for cooking up some really good fish.") However, the Wu-Tang Manual also defines "chef" as a cocaine cook.


File:Raekwon lex.jpg

Raekwon was born in Brooklyn, New York. He joined the Wu-Tang Clan in time to participate on Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, the group's massively successful debut. He later signed a solo deal with Loud Records and, working with Ghostface Killah, released his first solo LP, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... (originally to be titled Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Niggaz) it debuted in 1995 to rave reviews, though the album's sales were sluggish. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... is perhaps the most influential of all Wu-Tang solo projects, thanks to Raekwon's cinematic imagination and his creation of a narrative album format revolving around cocaine trafficking, criminal activity, and a rise through the ranks of the illegal industry. Albums to follow this thematic pattern, and to rely on the Cuban Linx' format for song construction, include Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt, Nas's It Was Written, Notorious B.I.G.'s Life After Death, and even Raekwon's subsequent The Lex Diamond Story, which is organized around Mafia-based narrative progression, and first-person reporting on the drug trade. If the Genius is often described as the Wu's best overall lyricist then perhaps Raekwon is their best storyteller, and here he translates the epic themes and narratives of a Mafia movie into what critics consider a startlingly accomplished hip hop album.

Although Raekwon wasn't the first to make the connection between gangsta rap and the Cosa Nostra, his storytelling abilities on tracks such as Spot Rusherz led to many a comparison with Kool G Rap (who pioneered the idea), and the album as a whole is often credited for popularizing the trend of using Mafia and gangster movie motifs in rap music. Raekwon participated on Wu-Tang Forever with the rest of the group, and then released Immobilarity in 1999, to somewhat mixed reviews than Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.... Many fans disliked his decision to use inexperienced, up-and-coming producers rather than the Wu-Tang's in-house producers, though the album went gold. Raekwon is also featured heavily on Ghostface Killah's albums Ironman and Supreme Clientele, as well as featuring on high-profile singles from Fat Joe ("John Blaze") and Outkast ("Skew It On The Bar-B"). . Raekwon also recorded with on the subsequent Wu-Tang Clan group albums The W (2000) and Iron Flag (2001).

His most recent album, The Lex Diamond Story, was released on December 13, 2003 on Universal Records, to mixed reviews (generally lukewarm critical reviews and wildly varying public reviews) and moderate success. His music video for the song "The Hood" featuring Tiffany Villarreal had few rotations on BET and nearly none on MTV. Raekwon has complained about this lack of promotion and vows that future releases wont suffer the same fate.[1] Raekwon's steady success has given him the chance to branch into business, become a Creative Officer of a major label and begin the creation of his own hip hop team, Ice Water Inc.

He is current involved in a feud with Shyheim.[citation needed]

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II


He planned to release the long-delayed sequel to his debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II, in 2007 under Aftermath Entertainment; it is informally executively produced by Busta Rhymes who Raekwon describes as getting him into the "Cuban Linx mindset"[2] and of course RZA, with RZA handling most of the production - including the first street single - as well as tracks from Dr. Dre. Raekwon is very reluctant to let other producers on the album, however there has been talk of tracks produced by Scram Jones and the late J Dilla.

Raekwon is rumored to have signed with Dr. Dre's Motown Records in mid-2006 to distribute Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II. According to an interview with Busta Rhymes, Dr. Dre was amazed by what he heard when he met up in a studio with RZA and had to get in on the Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II project in some way.

On October 2, 2006, Raekwon's signing to Aftermath Entertainment was confirmed. RZA explained the collaboration between he and Dr. Dre is like "ying and yang" when it comes to their styles.[3] "The album is gonna attract all the gangstas, nigga; all the thugs and everybody is going to be listening to this shit," says RZA of the album.

Raekwon is also working on a full length album with underground rapper Ill Bill entitled Weed Vs. Cocaine. Raekwon and Ill Bill have recorded 5 tracks together thus far which were released on some of Ill Bills mixtapes and his latest album, which are "Enemy", "Thousands 2 M's", "Brazil", "Cocaine World" and "Coka Moshiach". It is set to feature production from Scram Jones, Q-Unique, RZA, Necro, Ill Bill, 4th Disciple & DJ Premier.

In a recent interview with, Raekwon said that though the album was "99% complete", he had put everything on pause to work on the Wu-Tang album 8 Diagrams.

Film & acting

Raekwon got his start in acting when he played 'Cigar' in the 1999 film Black and White, and has played several other smaller roles throughout the years. He has also made cameos in numerous films as himself. In February 2007 he was the focus of a VH1 RockDoc about blood diamonds, where he along with Paul Wall, Tego Calderon and others visited Sierra Leone, West Africa for a hard-hitting look at the illegal diamond trade. During the shooting of the documentary, Raekwon became the first American rapper to perform in Sierra Leone. In 2004 he appeared in the movie Coalition. It remained unreleased until it was finally released on DVD in 2006.



Album Name Release Date Status
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... August 1, 1995 Platinum U.S.
Immobilarity November 16, 1999 Gold U.S.
The Lex Diamond Story December 16, 2003 124,892[4]
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II May 27, 2008


Album Name Release Date Status
Only Built 4 The Streets 2003
Heron Only 2006
R.A.G.U. (Rae and Ghost United) 2006
The Vatican Mixtape Vol. 1 2007
The Vatican Mixtape Vol. 2: The DaVinci Code 2007
The Vatican Mixtape Vol. 3: House Of Wax 2007

Singles and EPs

Appears on

Excluding albums by Wu-Tang Clan

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