The Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon the Chef is a man of many talents; he’s rap’s premier mafioso, responsible for the crown jewel of the genre, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...; and he has one of the most distinct names in the game, which lends itself to online sketches as well as features in Food & Wine magazine.
But perhaps most infamously, he's partly responsible for the greatest skit in the hip-hop pantheon.
“Yeah, I'll fuckin' — yeah, I'll fuckin' lay your nuts on a fuckin' dresser, just your nuts layin' on a fuckin' dresser, and bang them shits with a spiked fuckin' bat. Whassup? BLAOWW!,” the rapper boasts on the intro to Wu-Tang’s “Method Man,” a choice cut off 1993’s classic Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). “I'll fuckin' — I'll fuckin — I'll fuckin' hang you by your fuckin' dick off a fuckin' 12 sto-story building out this motherfucker!”
In less than a minute, Rae and Method Man demonstrate a singular vision and flair for imagery that most MCs could only dream of. The torture sketch long ago transcended its origins as a piece of the larger Wu tapestry and has permeated the public imagination. It encapsulates hip-hop's best inventiveness and absurd oratory. It certainly helps that Dave Chappelle thought it was compelling enough material for a segment on his program.
Miamians will have the chance to catch the Chef’s sometimes-bizarre flows and flavors Sunday, June 30, when he stops by Churchill’s in support of his most recent record, April’s The Wild.
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It's Rae’s first solo album without guest features from his fellow Wu compatriots. But having spent a quarter-century refining his wordplay and tastes, he doesn't need them. Although he might not carry the critical cachet of the RZA or the GZA, the ostentatious showmanship (and indeed, frequent Miami miles) of Ghostface Killah, or even the notorious reputation of the dearly departed Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Raekwon has quietly cultivated a cult following as one of the most consistent rappers in the game. He’s your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper, as evidenced by his recent spate of standout appearances on new-school rappers’ records.
With his place in the hip-hop canon firmly carved out, it makes sense The Wild sees Raekwon taking things in stride. The Raekwon glimpsed on this album is confident yet measured, aggressive but reasonable; he's no longer the frightening 23-year-old threatening to take a bat to your balls, but as an imposing and accomplished 47-year-old man, he will most assuredly fuck your shit up if you step to him funny. Raekwon’s career and constitution are equally nuanced, so he’s a perfect fit for the Churchill’s mold. Neither the rapper nor the venue is the best-known or flashiest member in its field, but dammit, they have character, and in a world increasingly occupied by anonymous cookie-cutter mumblers and repetitive “new and exciting” live music ventures, it’s comforting to join reliable, experienced practitioners reveling in their craft.