Does Raekwon’s F.I.L.A. Have New Direction? The Tracklist & Personnel Say A Lot

Since 2009’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. II, Raekwon the Chef has found a revival in acclaim, chart position, and in feature work. The Staten Island, New York MC veteran went backwards to go forwards, transitioning poor marks in sales and reviews in 2003’s The Lex Diamond Story into giving fans exactly as they wished for, complete with Wu-Tang Clan appearances, Dr. Dre production, cyphers, song sequels, and even some purple vinyl pressing.

Six years later, Raekwon has taken his “Purple Tape 2.0” persona and parlayed into a Wu-Massacre venture at Def Jam, numerous work with Kanye West, ScHoolboy Q, Rick Ross, and French Montana, and he even lit a lamppost for Capone-N-Noreaga at Ice H20 to release The War Report 2. In tow, Rae’s 2011 Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang follow-up applied the renaissance to a less structured format. The efforts paid off, bringing Shallah nearly a second consecutive Top 10 debut.

Now 45 years old, many speculate what’s next creatively for the onetime gold-selling soloist. F.I.L.A. (Fly International Luxury Art) has been in the works for nearly four years. Now arriving April 28, Chef reveals that his kitchen and cuisine may suggest the change he wanted 10 years ago, but now finds an easier step.

Notably, the album keeps career fixture Ghostface Killah close. The “Purple Tape co-host” appears on two songs, quite notably the only guest from the Wu-Tang Clan. Assassin, presumed to be Sunz Of Man’s 60 Second Assassin, is another guest from the family tree.

Busta Rhymes, who signed Rae’ to an Aftermath-backed deal in the mid-2000s, whereby O.B.4.C.L.2 was first touted, also returns. Other frequent and past collaborators such as 2 Chainz, French Montana, Rick Ross appear, as well as singers Melanie Fiona, Estelle, and Liz Rodriguez.

To many, the most interesting guests are Snoop Dogg and A$AP Rocky. Snoop and Rae connect for the first time since The W, nearly 15 years later. A$AP Rocky, a clear disciple of Rae’s coded lyricism and lifted deliveries, also appears alongside Chef for the first time.

Stepping away from the norm, Raekwon works extensively with Jerry Wonda, best known for his decades of work alongside Wyclef Jean. The Haitian-American producer makes a return with Rae’, perhaps signaling the album’s less rigid incorporation to Hip-Hop. Additionally, S1 (Symbolic One) who Rae’ encountered in his works with G.O.O.D. Music, is a fixture behind the boards. The Texas native producer from Strange Fruit Project will lightly add to the honed Rae heard in big spots over the last five years. Rae’s DJ, Scram Jones, who worked on the Chef’s last several projects, also stays the course.

Here is the artwork and tracklist to F.I.L.A.:


1. Intro (prod. Jerry Wonda)
2. 4 In The Morning f. Ghostface Killah (prod. Scram Jones)
3. I Got Money f. A$AP Rocky (prod. Symbolic One)
4. Wall To Wall f. French Montana & Busta Rhymes (prod. She Da God & Snaz)
5. Heated Nights (prod. Frank G)
6. Fila Word f. 2 Chainz (prod. Scram Jones)
7. 1,2 1,2 f. Snoop Dogg (prod. Scoop Deville)
8. Live To Die (prod. Symbolic One)
9. Soundboy Kill it f. Melanie Fiona & Assassin (prod. Jerry Wonda)
10. Revory (Wraith) f. Rick Ross & Ghostface Killah (prod. Bluerocks)
11. All About You f. Estelle (prod. Jerry Wonda)
12. Nautilus (prod. Scram Jones)
13. Worst Enemy f. Liz Rodriguez (prod. DZL & Matthew Burnett)

Tracklist Source:

Related: Raekwon Needs Help Finishing The Purple Tape Film. Hip-Hop Stand Up (Video)