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Legendary wordsmith Raekwon the Chef opens up about his journey from the staircases of Park Hill in Staten Island to sold-out stadiums around the world with Wu-Tang Clan in this revealing memoir—perfect for fans of The Autobiography of Gucci Mane and Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter.
There are rappers who everyone loves and there are rappers who every rapper loves, and Corey Woods, a.k.a. Raekwon the Chef, is one of the few who is both. His versatile flow, natural storytelling, and evocative imagery have inspired legions of fans and a new generation of rappers. Raekwon is one of the founding members of Wu-Tang Clan, and his voice and cadence are synonymous with the sound that has made the group iconic since 1991.
Now, for the first time, Raekwon tells his whole story, from struggling through poverty in order to make ends meet to turning a hobby into a legacy. The Wu-Tang tale is dense, complex, and full of drama, and here nothing is off-limits: the group’s origins, secrets behind songs like “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Protect Ya Neck,” and what it took to be one of the first hip-hop groups to go from the underground to the mainstream. Raekwon also delves deep into the making of his meticulous solo albums—particularly the classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx—and talks about how spirituality and fatherhood continue to inspire his unstoppable creative process.
A celebration of perseverance and the power of music, From Staircase to Stage is a master storyteller’s lifelong journey to stay true to himself and his roots.
Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon debuts with a sincere albeit wearying look at his rise from street hustler to star. The rapper's arduous path to hip hop fame started in a rough neighborhood in Queens, where as a child in the '70s he saw "bodies hung from poles," and later Staten Island, where he began selling drugs for cash. But by age 11, after discovering rap from block parties in his neighborhood, Raekwon's interests shifted: "music was dope." At 19, while recuperating after being accidentally shot by a neighbor, he began writing rhymes and his reflections on life around him. Soon after, he started collaborating with his friend Robert Diggs ("aka the RZA") and the Wu-Tang Clan began to take form. RZA and Raekwon were later joined by Ghostface, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, GZA, and U-God, releasing their first hit "Protect Ya Neck," in 1992 to commercial and critical acclaim. Raekwon laboriously traces the making of the group's numerous gold and platinum albums up through the 2000s in addition to his own records, including 1999's Immobilarity and the tensions that eventually broke the group apart. Remarkable as his story is, though, the narrative unfortunately moves at a plodding pace. Still, fans will relish Raekwon's story of finding success against steep odds. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, DeFiore and Co.