Raekwon Digital Biography
Corey Woods (born January 12, 1970) is an American rapper most well known as Raekwon (the Chef), one of the nine Wu-Tang Clan members. Raekwon joined Wu-Tang Clan, a hip hop group based in Staten Island, New York in 1992. Raekwon is often cited as one of the pioneers of the Mafioso rap sub-genre. In 2007, the editors of About.com placed him on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987–2007). The Miami New Times described Raekwon's music as being "street epics" that are "straightforward yet linguistically rich universes not unlike a gangsta Iliad." When the time came for him to release his first solo album, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… (1995), hip-hop, once again, underwent a momentous transformation. The album moves from track to track like a film moves from scene to scene. With its invigorating instrumentals and dramatic lyrical tales, Raekwon painted vivid pictures and presented powerful imagery through his enchanting verbal expression. Rae’s verbal ability took center stage early in the original cult classic Protect Ya Neck, but little did the world know, that we were merely indulging in delicious appetizers delivered by Rae. It wasn’t until 1995, when Raekwon The Chef emerged from the kitchen and invited the Hip-Hop faithful into his personal chamber and the world was privileged to partake in the perfectly sautéed full course meal… Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.
Chef Raekwon reintroduced the family of Wu-Tang Clan rappers as New York crime team the Wu-Gambinos. Equipped with new names, the Wu-Gambino outfit blends images of life on the streets with slow-tempoed, piano-laden jams that reek of fear and violence.
Calling on fellow clan members RZA, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, U-God, GZA and Masta Killer -- whose names have been changed to Bobby Steeles, Johnny Blaze, Rollie Fingers, Lucky Hands, Maxmillion and Noodles, respectively -- Raekwon provides a new medium by which the Wu-Tang Clan continues to grow. He himself adopts the name Lou Diamonds and Ghostface Killah, his appointed accomplice, takes the alias Tony Starks.
Critics and fans alike unanimously agreed, Cuban Linx was an instant classic. An opulent sonic journey defined by Raekwon’s cinematic narratives and narcotized hooks. The production delivered by Wu Tang’s Abbot, The Rza, was simply supreme – his best comprehensive work to date. And never had a co-star been so illustrious: Cuban Linx also managed to showcase the talents of then under represented Wu-Tang band mate, Ghostface Killah. This was also the beginning of the “Rae and Ghost” collaborations which have yielded some of hip hop’s most beloved songs.
Rae’s groundbreaking debut album helped to bring the flavor of flossing to wax as well as the use of the moniker among Wu brethren and other prominent emcees. The single “Verbal Intercourse” featured the first appearance of Nas Escobar, Nas’ alter ego. Similarly, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, who served as Rae’s partner in rhyme throughout the entire Cuban Linx album, also developed a slew of other identities. Identities like Lex Diamond, one of the flashy, witty and intellectually stimulating personas of the multifaceted Raekwon.
In the years after the release of Cuban Linx, Raekwon continued to record several albums with the Clan including the platinum Wu-Tang Forver (1997) and The W (2000), as well as the gold Iron Flag (2001). He also starred in the critically acclaimed film Black and White, before releasing his second solo album, Immobilarity in 1999 and The Lex Diamond Story in 2003. All of these lyrical offerings were well received; Immobilarity going gold, yet there was always the persistent request of the fans to release a follow up to the classics OBFCL. After anticipation and some label turbulence, The Chef finally found a new home at the EMI Group. The seasoned label has joined forces with Raekwon and his independent label, Ice H2O Records Inc. to power the sequel to his 1995 masterpiece: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx No one could have anticipated the break away success of this album. Released on September 8, 2009, the instant success spent its first four days number one on iTunes. Then selling 66, 000 copies in its first week on the charts . Critics and fans both heralded it the best album of 2009. Receiving accolades from: Time Magazine, iTunes, Complex Magazine, The Source Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, Hip Hop DX, Canada’s Exclaim Magazine and countless online music sites.
With a renewal rarely seen in the music industry, Raekwon has experienced a career resurgence few have ever witnessed. With an ever-growing fan base, Rae’s music has managed to place him back on the forefront of Hip Hop’s elite. Having been featured on countless features in 2010, Rae has lent his talents to fellow musicians: Kanye West, Bun B, Fat Joe, Justin Bieber and participated with is Wu Brothers, Ghostface and Method Man in the highly anticipated, Wu Massacre. Never one to go back on a promise, Raekwon promised fans the fabled Shaolin vs. Wu Tang, as a response to RZA’s 8 Diagrams album. Released on March 8, 2011, the album which features the likes of Rick Ross, Lloyd Banks, Nas, Black Thought and Jim Jones, with production by DJ Khalil, Sean C and LV, Scram Jones and Eric Sermon, the album ushers the beloved Wu Tang sound into the current decades, leaving fans reminiscent while excited about the freshness of the sound. To date, Raekwon is expanding his empire. He has established Ice H20 Canada, with the hopes of presenting to the world some of the untapped talents of our neighbors to the North. In addition, he has also developed 3783 Media, a collective based in Los Angeles, which serves as a full service production, digital and management company. There are several multimedia and entrepreneurial endeavors on the rise. Raekwon has moved into the next phase of his career, and he has no intention of slowing down.
In 2012, Raekwon launched his own record label, Ice H2O Records. Raekwon announced on November 30, 2012 that he will soon release an EP titled "Lost Jewlry." On December 20, he released the first single off the upcoming EP, "Never Can Say Goodbye" which did not end up on the EP. Lost Jewlry was released on January 15, 2013. It features Maino and Freddie Gibbs and production from Scram Jones among others.
On January 1, 2013, Raekwon announced that the title of his new album will be F.I.L.A., which is an acronym for Fly International Luxurious Art and a release date to come in the second quarter of 2013. He would later specify a release month of September 2013. Following the release of the first single "All About You", he confirmed a release to come in January 2014.
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