Raekwon f/ Ghostface Killah "Heaven and Hell" (1994)

Produced by: RZA

Raekwon: “‘Heaven and Hell’ definitely is one of my favorite beats. It was something totally slow, and made me reminisce about another story. ‘Heaven and Hell,’ that was a hook that me and Cappa made up way back in the day before we were even thinking about becoming stars and we used to have our little bars that we used to write, and that happened to be in one of our songs. And I just remembered the hook for this beat. And I called it ‘Heaven and Hell’ because we wanna be in heaven but we’re living in hell.

”Heaven is something once you make it, hell is what you go through. So, I was just telling a real nigga story ‘cause shit like that really take place on the block. And I just started rhyming to the beat and I realized that the beat wasn’t hard. So I was like, ‘I still like how it sound. It sound like champagne bottles, the bar, coolin’.’ It was just cinematic to me, and I just wanted to tell a mean story.

”We just started talking about some niggas that’s getting some guns and they on they bullshit, but they scheming to rob something. This is a dude who got stupid money, but he doesn’t realize it could happen, but you’re still living in hell even though you’re in your heaven. So, me and Ghost just decided to go back and forth on it. I think I probably had like 65% of the rhyme, and me and Ghost came in and finished it off together. And we felt like just rhyming together and bouncing it off each other on some ‘slow motion’ shit would be something to excite people.

“We did the video and I was pissy drunk. If you look at the video, when I was walking in, my hat was all fucking crazy. I’m in the limo just intoxicated like, ‘Wow, I’m really doin’ this shit.’ And we just set it up like we were the richest niggas in the town, like silk shirts. Try to really go away from the hardcore shit for a second, and just show the versatility.

”So I was always the dude that initiated like, ‘Let’s come in like this, let’s get the silk shirts.’ And you know everybody else will be lookin’ at me like, ‘You sure?’ And Ghost’ll be the one to be like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah lord. Yeah, we gon’ get the hats. We gon’ get the shoes.’ We felt like we was the black Frank Sinatra. Word.”

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