The Modern Age: My Non-Interview with Raekwon

Published 12:39 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So I recently had the bright idea to ask Raekwon da Chef of the Wu-Tang Clan if I could interview him. Who is Raekwon da Chef, you ask? Why does he eschew all conventional approaches to grammar and spelling? And who the heck is the Wu-Tang Clan?

Well, I&squo;m glad you asked. The Wu-Tang Clan are my favorite rap group. I can&squo;t really defend them to (most of) my readers, because the Wu really have no redeeming value other than the fact that they manage to sound both intelligent and hilariously profane in the span of one song, which is something I look for in rap music. When I heard that they were coming to Raleigh, I jumped at the chance to get an interview with them.

Notice the word &dquo;chance&dquo; in the previous sentence. It is key.

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Now, I have a basic idea of how to get an interview with a famous person. You&squo;ve got to call their publicist or their manager, and then you convince them that you deserve to interview said famous person. On paper, this is not too hard. I &dquo;work for&dquo; (am paid a very small fee by) the Tryon Daily Bulletin (the world&squo;s smallest daily newspaper!), so I had some semblance of press credentials that I could hypothetically throw out to some publicist wanting to know who in the world I actually am, and was convinced that this information would be enough to make any publicist grovel at my feet and beg for their client to be interviewed by me, Drew Turner By-God Millard.

Unfortunately, getting the phone number for the Wu-Tang publicity people turned out to be harder than I had anticipated. See, the Wu-Tang is nine separate dudes who happen to be in the same rap group but also make their own music on the side. It&squo;s kind of like when the members of the band KISS decided to make their own separate solo albums, but still remain a part of the band KISS, nahmean (this is Wu-Tang-speak for &dquo;do you know what I mean&dquo;)? Well, Wu-Tang does that, but each individual releases his own solo albums at a rate far exceeding the rate of Wu-Tang group albums, a fact that confuses me, because it seems like it would be exponentially easier for the nine Clan members to pool their resources and pop out a group album than it is for each of them to make their own album, a prospect that involves independently producing songs to rap over and assuming the responsibility of being the sole rapper on the album (save for a few guest verses from whomever you used to play T-Ball with, as is the current rap trend a la Jay-Z and Memphis Bleek, look them up on Wikipedia if you haven&squo;t heard of them).

Sorry, I kind of got off track there. The point is that the Wu-Tang Clan doesn&squo;t have a single publicist as I soon found out, because that would be way too easy for everyone involved. So I went to the Internet with the intention of looking up the publicity information for each member of the Clan.&bsp; I looked up the RZA (his publicist isn&squo;t listed), the GZA (also not listed), ODB (deceased), Cappadonna (no), Ghostface (busy), Inspectah Deck (no publicist), Masta Killa (doesn&squo;t give interviews), Method Man (also known as Ghostrider, Hott Nikkels, Shakwon, Johnny Dangerous, MZA, etc., but sadly he and his many nicknames are not currently on tour with the Wu), and U-God (also no).

With no Clan member successfully corralled into interviewing me, I had one rapper left. There was Raekwon da Chef, a man with no hit singles, no mainstream popularity. Heck, the guy doesn&squo;t even have a decent nickname. But what Raekwon lacks in notoriety, he makes up for in rhyming ability. His album &dquo;Only Built 4 Cuban Linx&dquo; remains to this day one of the most influential rap debuts in history‐any time you hear a rapper talk about being a crime lord, he stole that idea from Raekwon. Additionally, Raekwon is responsible for the creation of a veritable hip hop lexicon‐hip hop&squo;s penchant for re-appropriating terms and infusing them with a whole new meaning, a/k/a slang, might not have started with Raekwon, but he certainly brought the practice to prominence.

After building Raekwon up so much, I bet you can see where this is going.

Yep! I found Raekwon&squo;s publicist on the Internet! (If you are reading this article with a friend, now might be a good time to give them a celebratory high five.)

I called said publicist, and was greeted with a voicemail. I left a message, asking to please interview Raekwon after the Wu-Tang concert in Raleigh. Two hours later, I got a call back from the publicist. His name is Don, and he told me that I could interview Raekwon in person after the concert. Now is another good time to high five the person sitting next to you.

That was two weeks prior to the time of this writing. Up until like three hours ago, I totally had an interview with Raekwon nailed to the wall. Unfortunately, that interview turned out to have the approximate consistency of jelly, as he and I are no longer going to be speaking.

So why am I not currently interviewing Mr. da Chef? Well, I&squo;m out of space, so I guess you&squo;ll just have to tune in for the next Modern Age to find out what went wrong.