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In business: Raekwon's IceWater - 2003-07-08 16:40:43

© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2003-07-08

[wimg=left]../images/news/03_07_09_raekwon1.jpg[/wimg]Where is a rapper to go after selling millions of records, both as a member of one of Hip Hop music's biggest groups and as a successful solo artist? If he were the typical rapper, he'd probably live in the high life until the glory and fame slowly faded away. Raekwon plans on doing no such thing. As one of the more popular members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon has seen it all. He's travelled on world tours several times over, has appeared in tons of videos and on television, and his group's franchised logo has been adorned on the apparel of fans around the globe. Where else can he go? How about going into business?

Rae has partnered with a few very eager and determined entrepreneurs to bring forth the newly formed IceWater Entertainment. Among his partners are Matt Kahane and Chris Nagy, the masterminds behind one of Hip Hop's most respected underground labels, Goodvibe Recordings. Other members of the team include partners in the independently run Spellbound Records, Big E and Randy Spelling, son of television mogul Aaron Spelling.

Each individual brings their own unique experiences and talents to the table to form what Big E describes as an exciting entertainment company that will have releases "in the areas of film, TV, books, clothing, DVDs and music." Big E (also known as Eric) reaffirms, "we have many big plans for this venture and we plan to revolutionize the industry while executing them."

[wimg=right]../images/news/03_07_09_raekwon2.jpg[/wimg]The company's first endeavour will be Raekwon's third, yet to be titled, highly anticipated solo release. Raekwon's clout as an artist, drew the attention of heavyweight company Universal Records to partner with IceWater for this album's release. According to Eric, they also have other development situations in the works with Universal. Regarding Raekwon's new album, which is due out in the early Fall, Eric states, "IceWater and Dino G. Delvaille (VP of A&R at Universal) are planning to make this record a modern day classic which will have features from all of his brothers from the Clan, along with many special surprise guests. We will also be releasing a few other incredible artists through IceWater, and Rae will most likely be executive producing those projects."

IceWater will draw its strength from that of its members. Raekwon will utilize his skills as both an artist and judge of talent in his new position as Chief Creative Officer. Although this official position may be a bit different than the one he is best known for, Hip Hop star, it won't be too much of a stretch since he has become well acclimated to the inner workings of record labels during the better part of the last decade.

[wimg=left]../images/news/03_07_09_raekwon3.jpg[/wimg]Matt Kahane and Chris Nagy have plenty of experience operating an independent music entity. Their Goodvibe Recordings label has garnered much success in the breaking of new artists and bringing to prominence established ones. With names such as Slum Village, Bahamadia and Grammy nominated Mystic, these music entrepreneurs are not lacking a knack for spotting talent or for running a successful music enterprise.

Nagy's experience as marketing manager with Goodvibe, as well as work he's done with Interscope, makes him an excellent choice as one of the main marketing strategists at IceWater. "We focused on getting to the key influencers first, through all sorts of non-traditional avenues and utilized their passion for progressive minded music to help us spread the word, person to person, for little or no money. Once that foundation was built, we used what little budgets we had, to invest in highly effective and efficient second phase marketing tools such as retail and lifestyle awareness campaigns, highly targeted local cable ads, touring, etc." says Nagy about the previous campaigns. As well, Kahane will bring his vast experience as the head of his label to the management team of this new multi-media company.

Like Kahane, Big E brings record label operating savvy attained from his endeavours with independently launched Vocab Records. E's partner in another entity, Spellbound Records, has a lifetime of experiences from living within the entertainment industry since birth. Randy grew up in show business; his father developed and produced many shows including "The Love Boat," "Charlie's Angels" and "Beverly Hills 90210." Besides growing up within it, professionally, Randy is no stranger to the industry; he has appeared as an actor in several TV shows, including NBC's "Malibu Shores" and "Sunset Beach." Regarding his knowledge of the industry, Randy explains, "growing up with a family in the entertainment industry, you quickly realize bullshit from reality. I've also learned how certain entertainment businesses work on a daily basis. I would always go in to my father's office and watch him work and run shows. When I was young, he would have seven or eight shows on the air at once. You can imagine how much there was for me to see." When asked, Randy states the best piece of advice his father has given him is, "If this is something you want, ALWAYS follow your dreams and NEVER give up. No matter how low things are, if you strive ahead, things will manifest." Great advice to motivate anyone, including future rap music moguls.

[wimg=right]../images/news/03_07_09_raekwon4.jpg[/wimg]The new partners became acquainted with each other during chance meetings as they made their way around the Los Angeles music scene. Kahane recalls their initial encounters and motivations to form IceWater, "we all agreed that shit needed to change, and we thought that we'd be perfect partners to make that change. Raekwon is one of the godfathers of this music and we're the young, hungry businessmen that want to put one of the best emcees right back on the top."

Besides Raekwon's pivotal role as executive, IceWater is also positioning him as the label's key artist. What better way to help him shine than to have him star in a motion picture? That's exactly what's going to happen. "The Coalition" is a film under production that will star Raekwon. Although this is not an IceWater production, the company will no doubt reap the rewards from the new dimension and further visibility it will bring for their star quarterback. The movie depicts corruption within the construction business and one man's struggle to bring down the system.

Bringing down the system may not necessarily be what the members of IceWater have in mind, however they are definitely on a mission to take a nice chunk out of it. So far it appears that they are making all the right moves. With Universal Records as a partner for the release of Raekwon's album and other projects that Randy describes as "top secret" in the wings, it appears that this fresh new company composed of eager young businessmen may be also to, as Kahane states, "change the game."

Thanks to: Insomniac, Israel Vasquetelle, Mike "J-Lingo" Blake

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