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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.
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. 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.
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" 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. "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 Billboard.com, 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|
|Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II||May 27, 2008|
|Album Name||Release Date||Status|
|Only Built 4 The Streets||2003|
|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
- 1994 "Heaven & Hell" (featuring Ghostface Killah)
- 1995 "Ice Cream" (featuring Ghostface Killah, Method Man, & Cappadonna) b/w "Incarcerated Scarfaces"
- 1995 "Criminology" (featuring Ghostface Killah) b/w "Glaciers of Ice" (featuring Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa & Blue Raspberry)
- 1996 "Rainy Dayz" (featuring Ghostface Killah & Blue Raspberry) b/w "Rainy Dayz (Remix)"
- 1999 "Live From New York"
- 1999 "100 Rounds"
- 2003 "The Hood" (feat. Tiffany Villarreal)
- 2003 "Clientelle Kids" (featuring Fat Joe and Ghostface Killah)
- 2004 "Planet of the Apes"
- 2006 "State of Grace"
- 2006 "Cuban Chronicles"
- 2007 "My Corner"
- Excluding albums by Wu-Tang Clan
- 1994 "Meth vs Chef" (from the Method Man album Tical)
- 1995 "Raw Hide" (from the Ol' Dirty Bastard album Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version)
- 1995 "Investigative Reports" (from the GZA album Liquid Swords)
- 1995 "Respect Mine" (from the Fat Joe album Jealous One's Envy)
- 1995 "Right Back At You" & "Eye For An Eye" (from the Mobb Deep album The Infamous)
- 1996 Ironman (album by Ghostface Killah)
- 1996 "Doe Or Die (Remix)" (from AZ Doe Or Die 12")
- 1996 "Nighttime Vultures" (from the Mobb Deep album Hell on Earth)
- 1996 "War Face (Ask Fi War) (Remix)" (from the Bounty Killer album My Xperience)
- 1997 "Execute Them" (from the Wu-Tang Killa Bees album Wu-Tang Killa Bees: The Swarm)
- 1997 "Nasty Immigrants" (from the Nutty Professor soundtrack)
- 1997 "Give You All I Got" (from Allure's self titled album)
- 1998 "Dart Throwing" (from the Cappadonna album The Pillage)
- 1998 "Intellectuals" (from the Sunz Of Man album The Last Shall Be First)
- 1998 "Skew It On The Bar-B" (from the Outkast album Aquemini)
- 1998 "John Blaze" (from the Fat Joe album Don Cartagena)
- 1998 "Spring Water" & "As The World Turnz" (from the La the Darkman album Heist Of The Century)
- 1998 "Black Trump" (from the Cocoa Brovaz album Rude Awakening)
- 1998 "The Worst" (from the Onyx album Shut 'Em Down)
- 1998 "Spazzola" (from the Method Man album Tical 2000: Judgement Day)
- 1998 "Movin' On (Remix)" (from the Mya album Mya)
- 1999 "Frozen" (from the Slick Rick album The Art of Storytelling)
- 1999 "The Game" (from the Pete Rock album Soul Survivor (album))
- 1999 "Can't Fuck Wit" (from the Mobb Deep album Murda Muzik)
- 1999 "Ghetto" (from the Madd Rapper album Tell 'Em Why U Madd)
- 2000 "Money Talks" (from the Sticky Fingaz album Blacktrash: The Autobiography of Kirk Jones)
- 2000 "Apollo Kids" & "Wu Banga 101" (from the Ghostface Killah album Supreme Clientele)
- 2000 "The Heist" (from the Busta Rhymes album Anarchy)
- 2001 "The Jump Up" (from the Benzino album The Benzino Project)
- 2001 "Love Is The Message" (from the Cappadonna album The Yin & The Yang)
- 2001 "Maxine", "Flowers", "The Forest" & "The Hilton" (from the Ghostface Killah album Bulletproof Wallets)
- 2003 "Respect Mine" (from the Mathematics album Love, Hell Or Right)
- 2003 "What's Fuckin With Us" (from the CHOPS album Virtuosity)
- 2004 "The Turn" (from the Method Man album Tical 0: The Prequel)
- 2004 "A Thousand Words" (from the Phil Da Agony album The Aromatic Album)
- 2004 "The Bump Bump" (from the Prince Po album The Slickness)
- 2004 "D.T.D." (from the Masta Killa album No Said Date)
- 2005 "Guerrilla Rap" (from the Tragedy Khadafi album Thug Matrix)
- 2005 "Real Nillaz" (from the Mathematics album The Problem)
- 2005 "Advanced Pawns", "Destruction Of A Guard" (from the DJ Muggs vs Gza album Grandmasters)
- 2005 "So Long (feat. Mashonda)" (from the Cassidy album I'm A Hustla)
- 2005 "New York (feat. Ghostface Killah)" (from the AZ album A.W.O.L)
- 2005 "Black Opera" (from the Supernatural album S.P.I.T.)
- 2005 "Address Me As Mister (Remix)" (feat. Papoose (rapper) & Busta Rhymes (from Papoose Mixtape A Threat And A Promise)
- 2005 "Rewind the Time" (feat. Tiffany Villarreal)" (from the albumTiffany Villarreal)
- 2006 "Kilo", "R.A.G.U.", "9 Milli Bros." "Dogs of War" & "Three Bricks" (from the Ghostface Killah album Fishscale)
- 2006 "Goldmine" (from the Busta Rhymes album The Big Bang)
- 2006 "It's What It Is" (from the Masta Killa album Made in Brooklyn)
- 2006 "The Glide" & "Presidential MC" (from the Method Man album 4:21...The Day After)
- 2006 "Where It Started At (NY)" (from the Hi-Tek album Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip)
- 2006 "Heaven Or Hell" (with Joy Denalane from her Album Born & Raised)
- 2006 "Just one of Those Days" (from the Git Beats 12" Just one of Those Days feat. Raekwon & Ice Water)
- 2006 "Cup Of Tea" (with Q-Unique from his mixtape $treet $upreme)
- 2007 "Brazil", "Enemy (remix)", "Cocaine World", "Thousands To M's (remix)" (from the Ill Bill mix-tape ILL BILL Is The Future Volume 2 : I'm A Goon!)
- 2007 "I" album by Cilvaringz
- 2007 "Make Me Better (remix)" (Remix of hit single from the Fabolous album From Nothin' to Somethin')
- 2007 "The PJs" (from the Pete Rock album NY's Finest)
- 2007 "Icecream 2007" (from the Swann album Walking Papers)
- 2007 "My Piano" (from Hi-Tek's album Hi-Teknology 3: Underground)
- 2007 "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill) (remix)" Wyclef Jean feat. Akon, Lil' Wayne & Niia (Remix of hit single from the album Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant)
- 2007 "Rec-Room Therapy", "Paisley Darts", Shakey Dog Starring Lolita", "Yolanda's House"(from the Ghostface Killah album The Big Doe Rehab)
- 2008 "Royal Flush" (from the Big Boi album Sir Luscious Left Foot)
- 2008 "Coka Moshiach" (from the ILL BiLL album The Hour of Reprisal)
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