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Just days after becoming one of the Hip-Hop icons to cross the half-century mark, Raekwon drops The Appetition, a new EP that he created in partnership with Red Bull Songs. The effort is the first release from the legendary emcee since 2017. A concise and potent three-track effort, Raekwon partnered with the rising talent to create the effort in a short amount of time.

In reflection on the project, Raekwon details to The Source what drives him to still create quality efforts after being in the game for decades, what drew him to Red Bull and future plans.

You can also check out the full behind-the-scenes documentary of the EP’s creation and the full project below.

You are entering your fourth decade of contributing to Hip-Hop. What does it mean for you to have this type of longevity?
Raekwon:
It’s a blessing. You know, it’s like some of my heroes in the game, they don’t even got maybe eight to 10 albums under their belt, you know, so we were able to be blessed and learn from them, not taking anything away from their timeframe, but they inspired us so much with just what they did. They just put something in us. And we was always good students of listening to hip-hop and studying lyrics and knowing what it takes to be a superstar and not just a rapper. So, you know, it’s a learning experience, man. But for me also as a blessing just to be able to be accepted as a great artist. So it took a lot of homework and a lot of passion.

Many artists have studios they prefer, what was it like working at the Red Bull Music Studios?
It was amazing man. Just to come up in this Academy over here with these young artists and young producers was dope. They looked at me like the teacher, but they was the teacher for me at the time because I’m always into checking out what’s going on and actually giving the opportunity to impress me, so it was dope. It was like watching your young generation come up and say, I could drive you. Just give me the opportunity. I always been about that because I’ve been the artists in the street before I got on that wish that somebody would just stop and pay attention to what I could bring to the table. I think that’s what really got me to want to be involved with the whole red bull machine when it came to doing this project is that I look at these young kids and I want to give them the opportunity.

You also had assistance from K-So Jaynes and P. Wright, and producers Lord Quest and Twhy Xclusive, from the Red Bull team. What learning curve did you have blending with new creators with yourself?
I didn’t hold back on what I felt I wanted. I told them, listen, if you make the cut, you make the cut. If you don’t, then you gotta go back home and you know, get the Wheaties again and eat another bowl or two and come back to the table. It was big for them and they didn’t want to drop the ball. They, they had a lot to say. They had a lot to prove.

Once you all got on the same page, was there a specific sound that you were aiming for?

It was just more just going in and not really knowing what to expect until I actually hear it. You always want to give yourself an opportunity to be inspired. And that’s what I did. I wanted to see what they had in they stash box that really could fit where I’m at today. It’s just all about teamwork, you know, teamwork makes the dream work. So that’s what we did.

How do you source subject matter for your raps today?

For me, it’s just all about keeping the passion. You gotta stay passionate when you love music. You always want to be inspired by others and give inspiration too. So I think I’m just pretty much basic when it comes to that. Even though it’s 25 years later and still going, you know, I still feel like it’s my first year and I got a lot to prove. You still want people to feel like, damn, he’s still got it. He got it. So, that’s important to me is just to make sure that I don’t lose a beat when it comes to that.

Looking into the future do you see this as your only project for the year or will you have some more?
The different endeavors that I’m involved with, you know, far as from Licataa wine that is out that’s doing excellent. I’m working on The Purple Files documentary, which is the whole nostalgic rode about The Purple Tape album itself. You know, so be on the lookout for that, for that documentary. I got a store in Toronto, a flagship store called The Purple Factory and you know, we got more music on deck.

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This is just a piece. It’s like, it’s like when you go to a restaurant and they say, yo, this is the starter, this is a piece of appetizer or whatever. So Red Bull came and I said I want you guys to be a part of the starters, the appetizer of what we do.