The veteran rapper talks The Red Bulletin through the five albums that have had the most impact on his career

Corey Woods was 23 when he rose to hip-hop stardom almost overnight. As Raekwon, he, and his eight comrades-in-arms in notorious New York crew the Wu-Tang Clan, merged Shaolin mythology and street rap to create the stunning 1993 debut Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Two years later, Raekwon’s mafia-rap solo debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, also became a classic of the genre. Today, the 45-year-old father-of-two finds inspiration in art and fashion, hence the title of his new album, Fly International Luxurious Art.

“All About you” ft. Estelle appears on Raekon´s upcoming release Fly International Luxurious Art

1 Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On

“Marvin had a lot on his mind when he recorded this in 1971, and with this album he was challenging his thoughts. I can relate to that. I’m always looking at the future and asking myself, ‘What am I going to do next?’ So listening to this album gives me inspiration. I’ve loved soul music ever since I was a kid, but this record is special to me. It’s like a vitamin: I feel like I need it as often as possible.”

2 Eric B & Rakim - Paid In Full

“I feel this album kind of raised me, because Rakim was talking about things we were going through when we grew up. He spoke to us; he wrote anthems of the street. The record came out when I was 17 and Rakim was a few years older, but the guy was ahead of his time. He was Muhammad Ali at a young age, lyrically. This album will always sound good. It’s one of the blueprints of hip-hop.”

Mary J Blige - My Life

“This album made me respect women more. As young men, we respected women, of course, but we never took the time to listen to them; I would lose a chick in a minute if I felt like she was getting on my nerves. So when Mary came up with this album, it gave me a new perspective of what women go through. It made me realise women are the backbone of everything, so we got to treat them like queens.” 

Stevie Wonder - Songs In The Key Of Life

“Stevie’s genius is making music that stands the test of time. I discovered this through my parents, and even as a kid I was fascinated by his music and lyrics. His imagination is so vivid; for somebody who can’t see the world, he knows everything about it. A while back, I met him at an awards show. I was so scared of talking to him, but he was so humble. Best thing was, he knew about the Wu-Tang!”

Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

“If this is about albums that had an impact on my career, I have to mention this one. It opened the doors for all nine of us MCs, and I think it became a greater album because of the distance it went. We still perform it live, and when we play Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F–k Wit the energy goes through the house. It will always penetrate clubs, because it’s the energy that my boys bring to the table.”

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06 2015 The Red Bulletin

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