|© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2003-07-08
Tell me about the progression between "Built 4 Cuban Linx" and "Immobilarity." Business
wise, what has changed?
When I made "Cuban Linx" I was kind of a young cat. My mind was basically street mentality. That's all I knew everyday. When I made that album, I was basically talking about life stories. If you listen to the narration, in the beginning of the album, me and Ghost was just saying yo, we tryin' to get money, we got to get money. We gotta get out of here. It's not happening for us over here. So whatever we do, it's got to count for something. That was where we were in real life. It's about being confident in your self. That album was just full-fledged confidence right there. "Links" is more like a street bible.
With... "Immobilarity" it's like I grew up as a man. It's like the whole game changed in fornt of my face. I matured after six years later. At the same time, it's business, as well as it's still fun to me, but it's business now. I could have been getting jerked... I didn't care at that time. I just wanted niggas to know I'm from Staten Island and I'ma hold weight at whatever I do best. Through the years I always thought, when I finally get a change to do a personal album it's really gonna feel like I gotta put my work in. I wanted brothers to be knowing that I can do it and do it with no problem. At the same time I knew what I was doing it for... it was about basically taking care of my family. When I'm in the street I get love from everybody. Not only drug dealers. But it could be from drug dealers down to somebody that works at a church.
What has been your relationship with Steve Rifkind (former head of Loud Records) been like?
R: Being a part of his family for years. I always kinda play the background a little bit and have men go in there and deal with the situation for me. It's not really good for artists to be businessmen because you can't see all the shit that people who do that shit see. He kept me a millionaire... but at the same time I didn't see a lot of results being taken care of. Even on "Immobilarity" really had no promotion. At the same time the label didn't really want me to drop it. This is my career, this is my life, the people have to hear me.
Why didn't the label want you to drop that album?
Because they was talking about the time. It wasn't that the project wasn't a good project. Everybody is doing everything else except doing what the fuck they gotta do for me. You gotta take care of your racehorses. You don't put racehorses in the same stable with regular horses. The ones that win gold and championships have special trainers. At the end of the day I didn't receive any type of promotion or marketing.
Why do you think they were sleeping on you at that time?
I don't think they were sleeping. I just think they were doing a lot of other shit. You know how people are. They think they can get money from every different thing, but don't really realize where the real shit is at.
What is your current relationship with RZA?
It's all gravy. We do a lot of phone tag, other than that I know when I really need him he'll come through for me. RZA has hundreds of beats. But what makes me and RZA classic at what we did, was the time that we had to share with one another. Business gets so real that you don't see brothers a lot. At the time I can't be responsible for letting another man control my destiny when it's time for me to do what I got to do. I'm one of them cats that'll give a brother a try because that's how we got our try.
It seems as though Wu-Tang has been having less interaction musically, is that true?
It is true. We do have less interaction. It's like being on a baseball team, you have these famous men and they all have different interactions. You know, when it's time to get out there and play ball, they play ball. The chemistry is different now, guys got endorsement deals, movies, we just trying to explore our horizons.
When you were on Loud, were you signed directly to Loud or were you signed to a production deal through RZA?
It was done through a production deal situation.
What was your overall experience like with Loud, RZA and Wu-Tang?
It was one of the best experiences for me. Nigga made a lot of cash. Got his life together, on top. So that's where I am at right now. Just have fun with it and really actually get in more work.
With all of the success that they had, why do you feel that Loud met its demise?
Loud is like a desert rap camp. Where you get a lot of radicals that come up in there like real fucking assassins. We never looked at the situation over there as a major company. We always looked at it as a 'get-on-your-feet club.' They could only take you as far as they could take you. It's up to you to carry the torch after that.
Do you feel that Wu-Tang fame was used to launch so many offspring groups that it watered down the name in the eyes of fans?
When it started going down, it did lack it, because number one, people tried to call it something that it wasn't. It wasn't Wu-Tang. If it had a Wu-Tang stamp on it, automatically people assume that this is what we about. People never separated it. People might have felt like that's mediocre or that wasn't top classic shit. They had every right to feel like that cuz why you call it something that it's not.
Do you feel that hurt the name?
Yeah! I'm not fronting on you, yeah. At the same time, I guess we was so comfortable with what we was dealing with at the time we didn't look at it to be a problem until later on in the years. As much as we winning, people winning too. So a cat could watch how your shit was cut and get his shit cut the same way and all of a sudden your shit ain't as sharp, while his shit is sharper than yours. Because he knows where to go, he going to the blade store that we use to get our shit shredded at. When we locked on that, it kind of took away because everything else is being made. Other brothers is getting a fair chance and put so much of a dent on it. It was already too late to really look at what had happened. It was too late.
Did Loud's closing make you a free agent?
When Loud's situation happened, yeah that made me a free agent. Which was good for me, cuz I had a long contract.
How does it feel to be a Hip Hop millionaire?
I am millionaire only because of the assets. I'm not a millionaire with the cash in my pocket. But it's still a struggle, because I got people around me that I look out for. I'm constantly giving.
Tell me about IceWater.
IceWater is basically my new team of cats that I am administrating into the game. I think as an artist I owe myself to bring up other brothers in the same way. I'm not gonna be here rhyming forever. I'm trying to recreate what I came for. What I created. What I was part of at the time.
What do you plan to accomplish with IceWater that you haven't already?
What I am trying to accomplish with them is to make cats stars. Basically to bring good music to the table, bring versatile music. I'm training these cats. You gotta work like a slave to eat like a king.
What is the most valuable lesson that you have learned from being in the business all these years?
The most valuable lesson is to love yourself. And to be appreciative, without that I couldn't be doing it the way I'm doing it.
What would be the biggest mistake you've made over the years?
The biggest mistake is to trust people who you think you can trust. You can't trust everybody. It's a shady business.
What's going to be on the new album?
The new album, it's going to be more Rae that you feel is ten times hungrier.
What do you want to tell people about yourself that they may not know?
Even when you don't see me you see me.