Raekwon Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Mobb Deep f/ Nas & Raekwon "Eye For An Eye" (1995)

Produced by: Havoc

Raekwon: “It was payback time. It was payback for the friendship and the love that Queensbridge and Shaolin had together. They’re building up their Queensbridge medals and shining ‘em up, and they called me in to get on that record. All I did was come in the studio and hang out with them. We was gettin’ bent and all that. But that beat, everybody’s head just kept knockin’.

”So that beat was just freshly made once we all got into the studio together. I remember P was up in there first settin’ it off, and Havoc came behind him. And me and Nas was over there in the corner writing. Like, one thing about me, I think I was more excited just chillin’ with niggas than writing. Like, I was always the type of nigga like, ‘Aight, you go. Gimme like ten minutes.’ So a lot of my rhymes are wrote quick. Like, that’s what cats always say about me like, ‘Yo Chef you write so fuckin’ fast.’ I’m like, ‘‘Cause I get open quick.’ If I get open off of something then it makes me write like that.

“I’m a big fan of Mobb and Nas. Queens rappers excite me more than Brooklyn rappers for some reason. I don’t know. I like Queens rappers. I like how they rhyme. I like the beats they be picking. And, at that time Havoc was young, but nice. So you know I’m always for the young thoroughbred. Anybody that’s just feeling to me like they on some young G shit. Yeah, I wanted to fuck with them.

”Him and P, they already had their potions and me and Nas were just in the back like, ‘This is it.’ The next thing you know we just went in and did what we did. Honestly, I wasn’t even writing that hard, I wrote something just to participate and it wound up being a classic.”

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