Wu-Tang member Raekwon sat down with Entertainment Weekly recently to discuss a number of subjects, including his most recent solo album, the acclaimed Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II.

“It just shows that hard work and dedication can lead to success,” said The Chef of the sequel to his 1995 classic. “I’m glad people accepted it. It took a minute, but it was worth the wait, though…I think my heart was in the right place. My team, everybody was really coaching me to make this album the best album it could be. We just worked hard, man. Blood, sweat, and tears. I felt confident with it. I felt I could do it again. And my prayers was answered.” Rae went on to explain that everyone, especially the producers, “came to the cause of making a classic.”

Rae also spoke on Wu-Massacre, his upcoming group project with Method Man and Ghostface Killah, revealing that he began working on it four to five months ago. “We just wanted to make another album that really represents our brand, which is the W. When you think of Wu-Tang, we’ve been in the business for damn near almost, what, 17 years? We just want to make sure that people still know that we didn’t go nowhere — musically, passionately about hip-hop. When you get records like this, it helps keep the W flag up high. You know what I mean? Like the American flag. We gotta take care of that flag.”

Raekwon likened the Wu-Tang clan to the Lakers, and said that he, Ghost and Method Man were “the MVPs of the team. We are the ones that everybody may feel like takes us to the championship. Everybody else is going to play their position, but these three are definitely going to have to control the ball at some point.”

Finally, Rae also revealed that the much-talked-about project, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang, would be the rapper’s next solo album. The album has been somewhat controversial, as it was revealed around the time Raekwon vocally opposed RZA’s musical direction on the Wu-Tang album 8 Diagrams, but Rae insists that it’s all love. “It’s not nothing derogatory towards Wu. It’s just that Shaolin [i.e., Staten Island] is the place, Wu-Tang is the crew that came from that place. It’s like me just going back to my history of being an emcee first, before I actually became part of Wu-Tang. I always give RZA that support as far as saying he brought Wu-Tang to the table. It was his philosophy. He picked certain dudes to be part of this group, and he said, ‘This is what it’s going to be called.’ Before that, I was on the block. I was living in Shaolin. So this album just shows the street side of me, challenging the great side of Wu-Tang.”