Seventeen years after Biggie’s ‘Life After Death’ and with Rick Ross still at the height of his career, it feels like rap has always had a Mafioso air about it. Likewise post-Slim Shady and with Tyler, The Creator aka Wolf Haley, Tron Cat, Young N*gga, Dr. TC and Thurnis Haley (to name but a few) leading a generation of young rap listeners, it feels like rappers’ multiple alter-egos have always been switched on and off like a light bulb.
But this wasn’t the case until Raekwon’s 1994 solo album ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…', a bona-fide rap classic that introduced the music to organised crime and saw the Wu-Tang Clan appearing under Gambino aliases such as Lou Diamond, Tony Starks, Maximillian, Noodles and Rollie Fingers.
However, like many rappers who hit their debut out of the park, Rae’s output, while undeniably consistent and high quality, has struggled to have the same impact since he first made a solo impression. His name is often left out of conversations that he should undoubtedly be part of with regards to the greatest MCs of all time. To put it bluntly, Raekwon The Chef is underrated.
And yet, we haven’t reached a point where Rae feels like a legacy artist, by any means. His last two albums, both independently released, have been as relevant as any other rap releases in the years of their respective releases.