Raekwon—an original member of the iconic Wu-Tang Clan—recently dropped a new project entitled The Wild. If you follow my writing, you may have read my review and interview, both of which were published by Toronto’s Exclaim! Magazine; in short, the album is incredible. It’s the most ‘grown-up’ and, for lack of a better term, ‘mature’ project we’ve heard in his catalogue. It also has that raw essence that some us missed on his last project.
One of the highlight songs—to me—was the concept record “M N” that featured an artist I’d never heard before, P.U.R.E. In conversation with Rae, he revealed some insight into the young artist, who is not only signed to IceH20 but is described by Rae as a protégé. “He’s a dope MC that I signed, and I feel like he’s going to be a problem to the world as far as being a great MC, a great artist,” he said proudly. “It’s so important that we pass the torch to this new generation of guys coming out, and I truly believe he has what it takes.”
He is, for all intents and purposes, a ghost online. This record, as it turns out, is his official debut. “I wanted him on the album, and of course we wanted to do something clever, something different from any artist in the business; I just love where we went with it. I wanted him to shine on this album as well, and give him that lift that he deserves because he’s going to be a problem.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Rae usher in younger talent in a protégé position, though. Toronto’s own JD Era was once go-to. However, this is different, and you can hear it in Chef’s voice as he describes his high hopes for the young artist. “This kid is super talented; he’s a songwriter—he just gets busy, you know what I mean? I believed in him, [“M N”] was his debut, and he killed it.
“Where is he from,” I asked him. “He’s from a secluded place that I don’t want to get into yet.” I wondered out loud if he was from Nova Scotia, as he made reference the Eastern Canadian province in the song’s final verse. Raekwon laughed at my flawed detective work. “Nah, man. And, he’s not from New York. Put it like this, though—I think the mysteriousness of it, the mystique of him is what we want to keep up for now. We’re going to keep it all on the low until you finally get the opportunity to feel him out. So, there’s a little surprise factor going on; but, this is my protégé. I’m keeping as a top secret. All of that’s going to come out sooner or later, though.”
Although most 90s hip-hop sidekicks failed to live up to expectations laid out—such as Lil’ Cease and Bleek for example—the last five years have been a 360 shift. DOOM helped usher in Bishop Nehru from obscurity, and Nas has made Dave East a top billing contender. Who TF is P.U.R.E.? All we know for sure is that one of hip-hop’s most respected acts is putting not all, but a LOT of eggs into his basket. “He’s one of the few cats from this new generation that I think is going to put out a classic record out the gate,” Raekwon says without hesitation. This man knows a thing or two about dropping a classic debut, so I have high hopes.