Say whatever you want about Raekwon's magical goatee, but there's no denying that he stays on his grind. Even though he just released the ITunes-only Gold Edition of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II and he's getting ready to embark on the Rock The Bells Tour, he still somehow found time to do a collaboration with with permanent Twitter trending topic Justin Bieber. Oh, and did we mention Kanye West made it all happen via Twitter? The uncommon three-way collaboration is getting a lot of attention, so we had to get Rae to break down his song with Justin Bieber, what he thinks of Kanye's album, and how 'Ye needs to produce a track for he and Ghostface to rip.
As Told to Insanul "Incilin" Ahmed
On how his Justin Bieber collaboration came together...
When you think about the whole Twitter situation, it's a thing for making connections. When Kanye came up with the idea of the record that he wanted to make, it was just a random conversation [on Twitter] about respecting everybody's art. [And] Justin followed suit like, "That would be crazy." So I'm really like the third wheel—I got into it later on from some of my fans who was like, "Yo check it out! They spoke on you." And me, automatically, I'm for the movement because I respect their work. Those guys are geniuses right here. And I would love to be a part of the situation. It's weird science, but I think it's brilliance at the same time.
So I flew in yesterday at the last minute to really step on perusing the situation. [We were in] the studio Jimi Hendrix built, Electric Lady in New York. Kanye was there, Mos Def was there, Akon. Actually, Justin wasn't there. He had some business to take care of, I guess.
The song is a remix to ["Runaway Love"]. You know it's something that 'Ye put together; all we did is complement it. We didn't take it too far from the element of where he was going with the track. We kept it where we needed to keep it. But I'm just hoping they get it out there quick enough. When you hear it on the radio you gonna be like, "Yeah, okay."
I have a 14-year-old daughter and she's just infatuated with Justin. She's a big fan. I remember Justin from seeing him do his thing during the Michael Jackson tribute, and I said in my mind, "This guy is gonna be the next cat." I was very shocked to see the fact that he would even acknowledge who I was. [But] you gotta also realize that these kids are growing up so quick, you'd be surprised what they know. I'm sure he's got guys around him who listen to hip-hop and I'm sure he listens to it. So I wouldn't put it past him knowing [my legacy]. He might not know every lyric for lyric, but I'm sure he knows what Wu-Tang did in the game.
I think it's more important to embrace our young generation. Music should just be created with dignity and not just something that's being dealt with just to make anything happen. The kid got a great voice, I listen to his music from my kids playing it. He's a great talent. Every artist wants to do songs with people that you least expect it can happen. Your fan base is your fan base but it's always good to show another side of you that teach your fan base to respect you. Justin is really doing a lot for my situation because he's making sure the young kids still know who I am.
As long as it makes me feel comfortable, I will do it. But if it's something that don't match, I'ill be like, "This may not be where I'm at." I have no problem saying that. Being an artist, you have to be able to accept all types of criticism. I don't care if you a young artist, if you're an independent artist. If I believe in you and I respect you, you have an open door in my house.
On Kanye's new album...
This guy Kanye is like a brainiac wizard right now on the keyboard and his energy level is just... it's like he got gallons of ginseng in the corner of the studio. He's on the top of his game. And his album, he gave me a piece of it. We wouldn't let him just play one song without playing the next. But he was just giving everybody a taste and he had his eyes closed through the whole scenario of listening to the music. And we was just drawing it in, drinking. You know we had our little Hennessey going on. I didn't even really listen to everything everything. It was more like throw it on and feel it. All I could say is... aww shit! Get ready for another muthafuckin' classic from this kid.
I [heard the song he did with RZA]. When Kanye played it, it was definitely what it needed to be. RZA didn't stray away from his sound, RZA kept it where he was supposed to be. It's definitely a hip-hop beat, it's not a beat that's being driven to a commercial situation. When you look at somebody's art, you look for color and contrasts and great thread. The material he's coming with, it fits. It fits who he is and it fits his alter ego—the maniac, menacing production he puts on stuff. The production he got it just... it's hip-hop too. It's not where you could say, "Oh he went somewhere else" or "He did something that he thought was going to work that may not work." No. This guy is keeping it 100% raw hip-hop.
All I'm thinking about is, "Wow, I'm chilling with a great emcee. But imagine him making some production for me and Ghost?" These are the things that are going on my mind. Will it happen? Is an elephant heavy? Do a zebra got stripes? [Laughs.] Of course it's gonna happen! We already solidified that.