Born as Corey Woods, Raekwon is a rapper who has a way with words that few others possess. Innovative and energetic, he is known as one of the most influentiential rappers of his time. His 1995 album Only Built For Cuban Linx is still referenced as a masterpiece in the industry and has been named one of the 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years by SPIN.
Complex narratives shared through lyrics and the era of luxury branded hip hop was ushered in by Raekwon during the turning point of rap as rap music went beyond rhymes and evolved into gritty stories. Only Built For Cuban Linx has been cited as a major inspiration for some of the biggest names in rap, including Jay Z and Biggie. The sequel to this classic album was a critically acclaimed success as well. HipHopDX declared the follow-up album Only Built For Cuban Linx… Pt. II as ‘Album of the Year’ with Raekwon as ‘Emcee of the Year.”
Raekwon first emerged on the scene as a member of the Wu Tang Clan, one of the top rap groups of the 90’s comprised of revolutionary artists. In the original group were 9 members; RZA, Raekwon, Method Man, GZA, Ghostface Killah, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, U-God,and Masta Killa. Each member was business savvy and brought characters to life that showcased their individual style and lyrical abilities. Their sound and witty characters were addictive, and along the way, it became apparent that these artists were doing more than just rapping; they were changing the rap game. Today, they are hailed as one of the most important rap groups to come on the scene, referred to by a Rolling Stones columnist as “the best rap group ever.”
With multiple platinum and gold albums under their belt, the Wu Tang Clan has sold more than 40 million albums. Their first major release was Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), gaining respect from both industry critics and fans. C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me) was a major turning point in the success of the group, a timeless and addictive rap anthem still heard today and commonly referenced in small-talk and on television.