Raekwon is prepping his sixth solo effort—and first since 2011′s Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang—titled F.I.L.A. later this Spring, and he shared a few details about the album while visiting the XXL offices yesterday (Jan. 21). The album, whose title is an acronym for Fly International Luxurious Art, will see the Shaolin chef stepping out of his comfort zone and expanding the scope of what fans can expect from a Raekwon project.
“I have nothing to prove no more; I did it, I did everything I was supposed to do,” he said. “Now I want to make an album where everybody can get a piece of it, from the dorky kid who sits up at the camp, to the female that wants to dance and go party, to the underground kid who doesn’t really care about the party; I wanted to get that kind of ingredients for this album this time, make it more stadium, bigger.”
For Raekwon, it’s about constantly pushing forward and not being confined to one lane in the music world. “Sometimes as an artist we get put in one box all the time: as an underground rapper, or he doesn’t make this kind of music,” Rae said. “So this album is more lifestyle. It’s more me paying attention to where I’m at in my career, dealing with the politics. And it’s also me going to the next level of my career as far as being an artist that makes music. It’s one thing to make hip-hop, and it’s another thing to make music, and I think this album is allowing me to open that doorway to that kind of success.”
And he dished on some of the details of a collaboration with Akon, which he says will shake up the hip-hop world and introduce him to a bigger audience—even more diverse than the Wu-Tang soldier’s profile already is while keeping that same cool and confidence that has identified him as one of hip-hop’s premier storytellers over the past two decades. “It’s me being fly and giving you an international spread of music that could relate everywhere,” he said. “I have a record with Akon that I think is gonna wake up the masses. There’s something I’m gonna do with that record that is gonna reflect on something that I never did before in my career with the music.” —Dan Rys (@danrys)