Posted by Brandon Jarvis
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Raekwon is a rapper hailing from Staten Island, New York City, United States who was born on the 12th of January 1970. He came to prominence as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan but has also embarked on an acclaimed solo career, releasing seven albums since his debut in 1995.
Born Corey Woods, Raekwon joined the nascent Wu-Tang Clan in 1992, just in time to feature heavily on their ground-breaking debut album Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers. Right off the bat the album was a massive critical success, acclaimed by all who heard it for its uncompromising, almost threatening atmosphere and the sheer skill of all the M.C’s involved. Staggeringly, for an album so uncompromising, it was also a pretty serious chart success, just missing the top forty of the Billboard 200 and producing some big hit singles on rap radio like “C.R.E.A.M” and “Can It All Be So Simple”. With that, Raekwon was part of a movement, but after their debuts success, the band went their separate ways to record solo albums.
Raekwon’s effort came in 1995. He signed a record deal with Loud Records in 1994 and while his debut didn’t make him a star the way that Method Man’s “Tical” did for him, “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…” was critically revered for Raekwon’s lyricism and RZA’s production work. The record remains the most acclaimed solo record from a Wu-Tang Clan member, along with GZA’s “Liquid Swords” to this day and for very good reason. The record was still a big hit with that in mind, selling over a million copies in a year and giving him a top forty hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the form of “Ice Cream”. He followed this with a victory lap in the Wu-Tang Clan, whose second record “Wu-Tang Forever” was an enormous hit both critically and commercially, scoring the group two Grammy awards to boot.
However, this level of acclaim and success would not be repeated for a while. His next two solo projects gained mixed reactions critically and commercially, and he wouldn’t truly find his feet again until 2009. He released a sequel record to “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx” and unlike most sequels, it was hailed as equally good as its predecessor and as a return to form for its creator. It also mirrored its chart success as well, peaking at number four on the Billboard 200. Since then, Raekwon has continued to make acclaimed records both with and without his Wu-Tang counterparts, and has turned his eye on a new generation of rappers with his label Ice H2O Records. He’s a true original, and for that, he comes highly recommended.