Raekwon Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Raekwon “State of Grace” (2005)

Produced by: RZA

Raekwon: “Me and Ghost was living in Miami together for like a year working on some albums together. I think we were working on, if I'm not mistaken, Bulletproof Wallets. I was gonna be doing R.A.G.U. and we were gonna be chillin’ together getting both of them done, and we ended up doing Bulletproof Wallets faster because he had to get his shit done on time.

These beats used to be sitting down playing in our house because we had rented a villa in Miami for about five months. RZA was out there for like a couple of days hanging out with us. Break out, drop off some beats. But, me and Ghost would basically sit up in our villa and just write to beats all day. That was our mission. And that beat happened to be one of the beats that was in the files of everything that we were making. I just remembered the beat. Like, I'm saying to myself, ‘Whatever happened to that fuckin beat?’

“When RZA came out to Miami and made that beat he made about five beats. We wasn't blown away with all of them, but he definitely had a few, and that beat just got overlooked. So when I killed it and brung it back to him like, ‘Yo, this is what I need you to be doing. I had to find this in your old dirty treasure chest. We need this shit right here.’ He was like, ‘Oh you like that shit? Yo that's a loop. Boom, boom, boom, boom, sample.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I know that, but it's hard though. This is what I'm talking about, this is Cuban Linx II material right here.’ And he like, ‘Yo, you like it, take it. Do what you do.’ Next thing you know we put that shit back out on the market. Shit was hot right there. A lot of people loved it.

“It was a leak record and what I thought at that time, when I would've been ready to have Cuban Linx II done, it wasn't the time. It was taking me a lot more time, and I like that record but once we thrown it out there to the world and people started to play it, it was starting to become like, ‘It's hot, it's hot, but I don't think I wanna ride with it on the album like that.’

”I like the vibe of it, but once it started getting beasted in New York, I just felt like it was old after a while. So I let it be though. But, it was definitely the sound that we were trying to get to because when I picked it I knew this was the sound that would make everybody reminisce about Cuban Linx because it has that kind of feel to it.”

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