Tag Archives: Raekwon

RAP JOURNEY #23 – FROM RAEKWON AND TEENA MARIE TO THE FUGEES

Raekwon recently compiled the tracks from his recent Throwback Thursday series into a nice little mixtape called “We Wanna Thank You“.  It’s nothing revolutionary really but still a nice listen, it’s pretty much 20 songs that will remind you of “Holla” by Ghostface except not quite as good.  Still, it’s nice to hear how true to himself Raekwon has stayed after over 20 years of rapping, and, as you’ll discover, you might just learn a little important rap history too.

Raekwon – Ooh La La La

The original is basically intact in the Raekwon version, but just for completeness sake, here’s a sweet Soul Train lip-sync performance in its entirety.

Teena Marie – Ooh La La

If you’ve followed my blog for a while (or even if you haven’t) then you probably know where I’m going with this.  I’ve posted this song here twice already, and it’s a little embarrassing that I’m just now learning this missing link.

 The Fugees – Fu-Gee-La

Better late than never.  Hopefully I didn’t bore  you all with this one, maybe there’s at least one reader out there that hasn’t already connected these dots.  If not, then my apologies, I promise the next one will be better.

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THEY CALL ME TONY

Plenty of rappers have made Tony Montana references in a songs, thrown in a Tony Montana skit before a track starts, sampled his theme, or named a whole song after him, and at least one owes his moniker to him, but it’s not every day you hear a rapper do a full-on Tony Montana impression for an entire song.

King Louie – Tony

Side note: look out for the Chance the Rapper cameo around 0:52.

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KINGPIN CHEF IN THE TOWN

Has anyone else ever seen Raekwon dance or smile before?

Raekwon – All About You (feat. Estelle)

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GUEST POST: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SINGLE WORD IN A RAP SONG EVER?

this guest post written by Matt Hall (@mattisonherenow)

First of all, I’d like to tip my hat to my good friend Rick/DJ REDLite for not only starting this blog (which is consistently every bit as real and honest as it is entertaining), but also believing that my silly-ass thoughts are worth consideration. My late night nonsensical emails to Rick about songs I’ve been thinking about have long predated this blog. I guess I’ve sent him so many YouTube links and asked him so many absurd questions that he had no choice but to ask me to write another late night note for all of you to read.

One of the most recent emails I sent him was to ask the question, “What is your favorite single word in any rap song ever?” I feel like this is a topic that is pretty solid for my first post here.

I can honestly remember the first time I ever heard “Verbal Intercourse” from Raekwon the Chef’s first solo record Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. I think it was the first Wu-Tang album I heard after Enter the 36 Chambers. Nas’s verse was the first time anyone from outside the Wu-Tang camp had rapped on one of their tracks, and in that era (almost 20 years ago!) that really meant something. Raekwon talks a little bit about recording that verse and his choice of bringing in Nas to feature on the track here.

Nas has the first verse, and he opens up with some of the best lines of his career, in my opinion, and when he gets the line

“Smoke a gold leaf I hold heat nonchalantly”

the way he delivers the word: “nonchalantly”; gets me every time. It’s got more syllables than anything else in the verse, and the way he says it, totally cool and unconcerned, is the very definition of the word itself. To me it is the gold standard in flow.

Raekwon – Verbal Intercourse (feat. Nas & Ghostface Killah)

I really love everything about the song though, Raekwon and Ghostface have excellent verses as well, and the RZA’s production was at its all-time peak in this era. The way he loops the, “but WHAT,” from The Emotions song “If You Think It You May As Well Do It,” is brilliant.

Interestingly enough, Nas didn’t write that verse specifically for the Raekwon track. It actually first showed up on a song called “Déjà Vu” on a demo recorded for his second album It Was Written.  Some rap fans at the time felt like that album was kind of a let down after the undisputed classic that is Illmatic, but I think it’s aged well. I’m not sure why “Déjà Vu” got left off. There’s
speculation that the label wanted Nas to go in a more radio-friendly direction, and that song definitely has a grittier feel. Either way, it’s a classic verse, and it features my favorite single word in any rap song ever.

Nas – Déjà Vu

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RAP JOURNEY #15 – FROM MONICA TO DILLA

I just wanna say right off the bat that Amber hooked me up with every step of this journey, I did some very sparse research to hook it all together, but the real work was all done for me.  So  hats off to her for this, it’s a good one.

It started with her gettin’ curious about this Monica jam from back in ’95, when she was only 14 years old!

Monica – Don’t Take It Personal (Just One Of Dem Days)

She did some lookin’ around and found out that it used some elements from a couple songs, one a little more recent than the other.

LL Cool J – Back Seat

The Detroit Emeralds – You’re Getting A Little Too Smart

Now if you listen close to the drum beat in that Detroit Emeralds song, you might just recognize it from more than a couple other tunes from around that same time as the Monica song.

Raekwon – Incarcerated Scarfaces

Common – The Light

The Light” isn’t the only place Dilla used that drum beat in his production, it’s in this Slum Village track as well.

Slum Village – Climax

Just like that Minnie Ripperton eye-opener from a little while back, this is another good example of a bunch of songs that I’ve listened to bunches of times but somehow I never put together that they shared some common ancestry until I heard the song that they were all pulled from.  It’s especially surprising that I never noticed this because “The Light” has probably one of my favorite drum loops of all time, it just totally takes me over the second it starts.  But I needed somebody to walk me through realizing that all these other songs that I listen to all the time use those same drums.  Thanks for the illumination, as always, Amber.

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RAP JOURNEY #12 – FROM THE BEAT KONDUCTA TO BLACK IVORY

Dang, I’ve been writing about Madlib a lot lately, so seems appropriate that I should share this one with you all now.  I actually wrote this a little while ago, but I don’t like to have too many Rap Journeys right in a row, seems better to spread em out a little.  So here ya go!

I’m sure you can imagine my excitement writing this post after how giddy I was about figuring out a Madlib sample back in this post.  This one’s even more crazy and involved than that one was, and I’m pretty pumped about bringing it to y’all.

This is one I’ve been curious about for a while, and it took a little encouragement from ol’ Mike Allen to get my off my ass and actually figure this shit out, and I’m glad he did.  See we’re both real big Madlib fans, and so we’ve both put in plenty of time listening to the Beat Konducta series he’s put out over the years.  I remember being at Amber’s house getting things set up for Trent and Sammi’s wedding and this album was playing while me and Mike (and like 15 other people) were doing God knows what trying get everything ready in time.

Madlib the Beat Konducta – Understanding (Comprehension)

Man, that beat feels so nice.  But like most Malib stuff, I don’t hold out much hope of finding where that shit came from, that dude’s got records I could only dream of hearing, much less owning.  But then two years later, this Q-Tip album came out, and besides being just an awesome album, it made me think that Understanding sample might be a little more attainable than I once thought.

Q-Tip – Gettin’ Up

But like I said, laziness and forgetfulness took hold of me and I never took the time to get to the bottom of this connection.  I could tell Q-Tip didn’t just grab a chunk of that Madlib sample, Tip’s version of the sample is a little bit longer and just sounds different, so I figured he must have gone to the source to use it.  Then when Mike heard this Wiz Khalifa track, he decided to hit me up and see if I knew where it came from cuz it was showing up all over the place now.

Black Ivory – You and I

It took 5 years of being lazy before I took just a few minutes to track down this sample, but I did it.  Thanks for making it possible, Mike!  Here’s a bonus for you to make up for my sluggish research pace on this, I checked out that Black Ivory album and found this track.

Black Ivory – I Keep Asking You Questions

Which, 23 years later, birthed this classic.

Raekwon – Criminology (feat. Ghostface Killah)

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