At last week’s filming of VH1 Hip-Hop Honors: Dirty South in New York City, which aired last night (June 8), Paul Wall was one of a handful of artists to take a stroll on the red carpet before heading inside. Amidst the commotion, he took the time to speak with about his new album and, specifically, about working with Raekwon.

“Being in [the studio] with Raekwon was incredible,” the Houston native told The two initially met while filming a VH1 documentary about the diamond trade in Sierra Leone and the role of bling in hip-hop, Bling: A Planet Rock. “I had a lot of fun going to Africa with him. It was a great experience when we did the documentary in Sierra Leone, that’s how I met him. And we talked about getting in the studio, but it just never happened [until now].”

The album also features collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Jay Electronica, Jim Jones, Lil Keke, Devin the Dude, Z-Ro Chamillionaire and more. Half of the album is produced by Travis Barker, with whom Wall had previously formed a short-lived group known as Expensive Taste, with the other half of the instrumentals coming from Texas duo, Beanz N Kornbread.

“It seems like my album is a compilation because you look at the back of the CD and every song is a feature," he said. "But, shit, if I have an opportunity to work with my favorite artists, why would I say no?”

Heart of a Champion is scheduled for a June 29 release. —Adam Fleischer