Raekwon, the Chef, Cooks up an Amuse Bouche With Red Bull Songs

New York’s very own hip-hop icon, Raekwon work alongside Red Bull Songs writers, K-So Jaynes and P. Wright and producers Lord Quest and Twhy Xclusive to release the rapper’s latest EP, The Appetition since 2017’s The Wild.

Three tracks in three days. That was the challenge put in front of Raekwon and Red Bull Songs writers, K-So Jaynes and P. Wright along with producers Lord Quest and Twhy Xclusive. Marking the release of new music from the rapper since 2017’s The Wild, there’s a hungry anticipation to cook up new music from the legend and a nervous excitement to prove their artistry from the Red Bull Songs artists. The final product, The Appetition serves up a three-track EP that’s not a far departure of the New York Mafioso vibe we like to hear from The Chef. Check out the documentary below on the creative process of the artists filmed at Red Bull Studios and read our interview with New York’s very own, Raekwon.

How did your partnership with Red Bull Music come about?

It hit my desk. My team brought it to the table. When they told me about it, we were on tour with Wu-Tang Clan celebrating the 25th anniversary. I haven’t been to the studio in a while so I’m overdue. Of course, they told me about it, we had a seventy-two-hour window to create something. You know, for me being an artist and so passionate, i see how it feels from being away from the studio so long. To get back in there and see what’s gonna come out of it. What Redbull Music was doing makes perfect sense because I needed to get back in the studio. When they brought it to me, I said, “Ok, some producers I never worked with before…” but I’m big on that. I’m big on giving guys an opportunity to bring something to the table. 


What’s the standard to collaborate with Raekwon?

There’s no standard because, at the end of the day, I’m so grounded with understanding that you don’t have to have a name to be dope. You just have to have an opportunity. I was hoping for that somebody would give them an opportunity because someone gave me an opportunity. They gave Wu-Tang Clan an opportunity to be heard and seen. I loved the whole vibe of it. It was like, I want to take that meeting, and next thing you know, they just told me, you got 3 days to make this amount of music.


Was there a sound with the artists? The songwriters, the producers?

We didn’t give them any orders. Because I didn’t want to scare anybody because sometimes when you make people feel like, You gotta have this, you gotta have that. 


You’re already an icon. It’s intimidating

Yeah. You gotta take it like… Once I get there, I meet them, and I hear what they got and we go from there. These guys are hungry. They have something to prove. They have something to prove to themselves and to a legend. Not everything that came out was golden, but they were on the right page to understand where I wanted to go. Once I heard the music and once I found something I really like, they added it on to it and helped me out with some hooks. I’ve never been a big hook guy. The production drew me in because that’s how I work. I don’t have verses ready and be like, “Imma use this verse” that I wrote six months ago and come in and think that’s gonna mess with that. A lot of my stuff is right on the spot. And yeah, they brought some flavor to the table from it. 


You have three tracks in three days. You have to be instinctive. What was that like? It sounds like it’s already a part of your creative process.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the studio, so from being on the road, it was important that I come in and get inspired by something. And they were able to give me that through that time. Like I said, I let my passion work for me. And then just came up with something that I liked, and I loved it. It sounded refreshing. It sounded like how Rae would like the music and I think the world would like it. 


How do you like your music? You have such a distinct style in hip hop, you’re very unique.

I like music that feels good, I like reggae to dancehall, all kinds of music. R&B, disco, jazz. I know what it feels like and my mind starts registering what to give you guys. What fits that track to the level that’s satisfactory. It was just these guys, they wanted to work. And no holds bar, if it’s weak, it’s weak. I’m gonna let you know and I’m gonna have to go back to the drawing board. It made me feel like talent is still out there. It’s out there bigger than ever. Like I said, when people hear the music, the think Rae give these guys an opportunity to come with some shit, they’re gonna know he picked the right team to do it with. 


How do you find new artists and new music these days, with so many platforms that are available these days?

You just gotta have eyes and ears open and pay attention to the sound. And don’t be selfish where you can’t hear what people feel good about. Open your minds up. Open your mind up to feel what could be potentially good. Because anything.. Sometimes when I’m around the road, we got fans that come out of nowhere and they’re like, we got beats and whatever. You like their energy so you give them a shot. Take my number.


You give out your number?

Yeah. That’s me. I’ve never been the guy who had to go through A&R to “Go get me beats.” I meet people all the time. Producers, I meet artists who know producers and this is one big industry for all of us. You have to look at people in front of you and the people who are passionate about what they believe in and give them a shot. We’ve been given a shot. That’s my thing. That’s something I always abide by. I worked with the best of the best, with Dr.Dre, and I had worked with guys who made beats who’ve only been in the business for a year. Ya’ll just started. These are dope. I’ve only been at it for a year. Holy shit. You’re on the right page. You kind of become a mentor to guys that’s just starting. But when they’re good, you gotta call a spade a spade. You gotta give it up and that’s how I am. 


Do you take the mentor position a lot? Could it be exhausting at times?

But I love my job and I love what I do. Before it was just, it was to go and do it, make money and now, it’s to still be relevant and still be down with the new elite that’s down with you. Young cats are gonna work with who they want to work with. I take that with pride and dignity. These dudes, they get it. They know who I am. When dudes come up to you and they study your whole bible of music you’ve created, that’s like, Yo, you tend to believe them and believe that they will take that shot. But also, they give me a shot to keep doing what I love to do. 


I love it. It’s a give-and-take relationship. You’ve helped define the sound of NY hip hop. How does that feel?

It’s like getting a Purple Heart while you’re in the middle of a big war. And our war is like a war of success. You know how hard it is to get there. It’s like fighting a war. You know, it’s like who’s around you. Who’s loyal to you. Who wants you to win. Who believes in you. Who knows at the end of the day will insist on your victory with you. Because at the end of the day, it’s important. It’s sports. It’s a business and it’s a sport. Classics is nothing for us to make now. We’ll give you another classic after this. After this appetizer that you taste, because it’s called The Appetition, once you taste this, you’ll be ready for another classic and that’s what we’ll be ready to give it to you.


Appetizer. Appetition. Another way of saying Appetizer. I was thinking Amuse Bouche. 

You know what it is. She knows. I gotta keep it. I can’t say normal appetizer. 


You gotta put your slang in there.

Appetition. The chef is giving you The Appetition.


It’s a new decade, a new year, your birthday is coming up. You’re a Capricorn. I’m a Capricorn too. What’s your appetite for the new decade?

Man, you know, like I said, we’re gonna give you guys this three-piece start-up meal, and he’ll be back where he needs to be at and just give you the entree which is gonna be a beautiful dish. I don’t consider this an album. This is just the beginning.

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