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 XXLMag.com about his new album and, specifically, about working with Raekwon.

“Being in [the studio] with Raekwon was incredible,” the Houston native told XXLMag.com. 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