"I'm a lyrical cat, man. I'll tell the fans right now: If you're not really looking for lyrics or strong content and music, I might not be the goon for you, but I'm going back to my essence," Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon tells Rolling Stone of his upcoming album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II, the sequel to his 1995 rap masterpiece, which comes out August 11th. Rae says work began on the LP two years ago, when he went on the prowl for quality beats. "I was hunting for good production and we came out real good with a variety of strong music that really is gonna be a classic album I've been listening to a lot of other people's albums, and when I tell you that my album is so left field, it's gonna be lovely," gloats Raekwon. "The more that I think about it and I listen to other people's stuff, not trying to pay judgment on other people's shit but, at the end of the day, my shit is killing motherfucking shit."
As evidenced by his steady stream of recent mixtape gems and OB4CLII's first single "New Wu," which features Clan members Ghostface Killah and Method Man, Raekwon is bringing back the classic Wu sound. "I didn't want to have one of these radio-friendly songs with the perfect hooks, my thing is that I just wanted to capture the element of real hip-hop again, like we did when we first started back in '93, and keep that legacy alive," Raekwon Da Chef says. "Every time you think of a Wu song or sound that we always come with, and that was my main focus with this album, to show everyone we make timeless music."
Even though the original Cuban Linx was produced exclusively by Wu's in-house production genius the RZA, Rae wanted to spread the production around this time, recruiting an all-star team of producers like Marley Marl, DJ Scratch, the late J Dilla, Erick Sermon and, most notably, Dr. Dre. "Busta Rhymes was on Dre's label Aftermath, me and Busta are good friends, and I said, 'I need to get Dre on this album.' And he made it happen," Rae says, adding that he and Dre were mutual fans of each other's work. "It was history after that. He came in with something classical." As for that track's title, Raekwon says, "I gotta keep a couple things under my coat." Don't worry Wu fans: RZA still executive produces the album and contributes some beats. "I started out a soldier, now I'm a general. At the end of the day, RZA's input was definitely there, but I wanted to spread this out, I didn't want to put it on one man's back."
Of course, you can't make a sequel to Cuban Linx without the help of the Wu, and Raekwon promises, "Everybody you know from the Clan is gonna be on there. It wouldn't be right if you don't have the Wu family on there at the volume that they have to be on there, so always the first thing is to make sure the family is placed in the proper order on there," Rae says. As for when we might see the Wu-Tang Clan together after their 2007 album 8 Diagrams, Rae tells us, "Everybody's doing different things right now — you got Meth [Method Man] coming out with an album, you got Ghostface coming out with an album [Ed. note: !!!], some guys working on their projects, some guys getting into the film world, everybody is multi-tasking right now. But you'll be seeing with the Clan soon... I can't really throw it out there yet, but it'll be coming real soon. Get ready."