Guest Star: "It's More Than Saying, 'If I Don't Go Platinum, Then It Ain't Official"

Monday, Apr 4, 2011 5:55PM

Written by SOHH for Raekwon

[With rappers like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube sustaining a hip-hop career past the age of 40, Wu-Tang's Raekwon denounces the numbers game and speaks on longevity within the industry.]

This year I'm going to definitely raise the bar. I'm feeling really strong about what I got. I've surrounded myself with the right roster and I'm definitely going to keep it real. Time is going to tell. One thing about me that you have to remember is that I'm "The Chef". When you walk into my restaurant and you see what I'm doing, you're gonna be ordering a bunch of sh*t. It's always going to be quality.

When you're dealing with me, it's never gonna a time when you can look at me and say, "Yo, a n*gga didn't put his heart into it." I think with me being more independent now and really being able to consider my own destiny and career, I'm changing the business side of things to a new theme right now. I know it like the back of my hand and I can tell if people are going to love it and if I have the connections I need. In 2009, I was on 20 different remixes. You have to respect that. The work ethic is there, and now I'm really learning how not to just be a good artist, but to be a great artist. So I'm getting my weight up.

Rap isn't about you getting to a certain age and thinking, "Oh, you can't do it anymore." It's about still being able to show n*ggas that you can do it, and I think that's what [makes listeners consider me a legend]. I'm still pumping. I feel like I'm still on the block. I'm still serving n*ggas. That's where I feel I am with it, and I'm going to be at this for a while.

This year you're going to keep seeing more things, but it's going to be perfection. You have to understand, longevity is something that every artist wants to have. But in order to have longevity you gotta love what you're doing first and foremost. To me, I think a n*gga would have stronger legs if he wasn't worried about how much money he was going to get right away. Just focus on making art first. And then people are going to start to understand. The money will eventually come. You want to be able to do this for the art and keep making music into your 60's, then you have to realize the money needs to be secondary.

You still have these artists who go on tour that are 60, still getting loved by the young [fans] as well. It's all about partying but they're doing it for the passion. They do it because they still want to go out there and live the dream. This is an American Dream regardless of us becoming this famous in the game. For me, I don't really sit there and think sometimes, 'We've been here for so many years.' So I guess I'm getting better as I get older and I'm understanding more. The money is always gonna come. It's more than saying, "if I don't go platinum then it ain't official." F*ck the numbers and all that other sh*t. Did I give you quality work? I think that's more important.

Raekwon is a veteran hip-hop artist and one of the original members of the Wu-Tang Clan. While known for his lyrical sword as a Wu member, Rae has reached gold and platinum success with his own solo career. From rapping to acting, the entertainer continues to make his rounds within the industry. His latest album, Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang, was released in March.

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