Searching for the big rainbow
Wearing a Kangol and a raincoat
Jump with the .45, it’s Django….
(“Wishing On A Star”)
For my Wu Wednesday segment today, I’d like to first give a Happy Belated Born Day salute to Raekwon, one of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan’s most prominent members, who turned 47 last week. A street-smart lyrical master of slang, vividly detailed storytelling and fashion, Rae (also known as The Chef) is one of the most beloved emcees not only from the Wu, but hip hop in general. Since the Wu’s groundbreaking 1993 debut masterwork Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), as well as his own classic 1995 debut solo album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, Rae has appeared on every Wu group album and released a number of other dope solo projects and mixtapes, and has also collaborated with some of the biggest names in hip hop (past and present), including OutKast, Fat Joe, Mobb Deep, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Pete Rock, Slick Rick, The Game, Rick Ross, Action Bronson, ScHoolboy Q and countless others.
Today I want to focus on Rae’s hot mixtape We Wanna Thank You, released in late 2014. Earlier that year, The Chef had released a new song every week for 20 straight weeks as part of his Throwback Thursday series; each one sampling a classic soul/R&B hit from the past four decades. We Wanna Thank You gathers all 20 of these joints on one mixtape, blending brand new trademark intricate and visual street rhymes from Rae with some of the most buttery, smooth and soulful joints ever recorded. The artists sampled on here include such beloved acts as Michael Jackson, The Isley Brothers, Teena Marie, The O’Jays, Luther Vandross, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, Faith Evans, Rose Royce, Deniece Williams and more; I was immediately sold from the first track, which samples Rose Royce’s “Wishing On A Star” (one of my all-time favorite old school joints) and was further intrigued later on with the romantic narrative “When I See You” (blended with the modern Fantasia Barrino hit of the same name). To be honest, while the initial Throwback Thursday series was in effect I had only checked out a couple of the tracks, so it’s nice to have them here all in one place.
This joint served as a dope little project for The Chef’s fans while they waited for his long-delayed sixth studio solo effort, F.I.L.A. (Fly International Luxurious Art), which was finally released in April 2015. I’m not sure if you can still get a physical copy of We Wanna Thank You (I copped mine from MixUnit.com when it first dropped), but eBay might be your best bet. Otherwise, you can stream and download it for free here.
Happy Wu Wednesday y’all….