Raekwon dishes on the Toronto hip hop scene

As one of the original members of legendary Staten Island hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan, and arguably one of the finest MCs of his generation, Raekwon hardly needs an introduction.

The rapper, also know the Chef, is set to release his sixth studio album, F.I.L.A. (Fly International Luxurious Art) in June, and on March 20th he'll be making a stop in Toronto to perform at the Sound Academy. I recently chatted him up about his new album, his thoughts on Toronto's hip-hop scene, and what he has on his plate following the release of F.I.L.A.

Your new album, F.I.L.A., is coming out soon. Give us an idea of what we can expect.

Yeah, the new album is coming out in June, and it actually stands for Fly International Luxurious Art. I consider this a lifestyle project — I'm opening new doors with this one, opening my arms to a new genre of sound. I feel really good about it. It's more than your average album. There's music on here that suits everybody.

Are there any special guests on the album?

Ah, you know, I don't want to give away any names. I want there to be a certain element of surprise when the album drops. You'll have to wait and see.

You're performing in Toronto on March 20th. What are your thoughts on the Toronto hip-hop scene right now?

You know, I've always thought that Toronto has a New York-style atmosphere when it comes to rap. The two cities are almost like cousins — both really heavy on talent. You could almost call Toronto the Mecca of Canada, you know. You've got the Classfieds, you've got the Rich Kidds, you've got Drake...some really big names. And you've also got lots of people who deserve a shot. I'm looking forward to seeing guys come up. JD Era is somebody to be reckoned with — he's out of Toronto, but he represents all of Canada.

After this tour what's next on your plate?

What's next for the Chef? Well, most importantly, I'm gonna take a short break and spend some time with my family. But at the end of my day, this is my job, you know. So I'll take a break and get right back to touring, right back to making music.


What distracts you on stage? Too many people coming on stage during a set. It really effects the show in a negative way.

Last album you bought? The last album I bought was by 2 Chainz. He's a good friend of mine, so I wanted to support him.

Favourite spots in Toronto? Man, there's a lot of restaurants I love in Toronto, I can't narrow it down to just one. There's some awesome West Indian Cuisine, stuff like that. The food's great in Toronto — top three in the world.

Favourite Toronto MC? I've gotta go with JD Era, man. I'm real proud of him. He's the new talent on the block. The next star, for sure.

Last thing you cooked? I don't really cook all that much, you know, being on tour all the time. But I think the last time I cooked, it was some chicken patties for my son and his friend. And then we made some cinnamon danishes with vanilla ice cream. That was good stuff, man.

Photo of Raekwon courtesy of eOne Music Canada.

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