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From Staircase to Stage: The Story of Raekwon and the Wu-Tang Clan

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for From Staircase to Stage: The Story of Raekwon and the Wu-Tang Clan

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Simon &Schuster - Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I have listened to many Wu-Tang songs in the early 90s due to my brother's love for the group. I have heard many of their songs and seen the killer bees everywhere and am familiar with Raekwon. Reading this story with everything he went through and the obstacles he triumphed and overcame was very admirable and I have a new fo This book was received as an ARC from Simon &Schuster - Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I have listened to many Wu-Tang songs in the early 90s due to my brother's love for the group. I have heard many of their songs and seen the killer bees everywhere and am familiar with Raekwon. Reading this story with everything he went through and the obstacles he triumphed and overcame was very admirable and I have a new found respect for Raekwon and the members of the Wu-Tang clan. I also was shocked at the language use throughout the book being familiar with the group expecting slang and swear words but, this book was so well written that my jaw was dropped many times and my respect for Raekwon grew and grew. We will consider adding this title to our Biography collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    DJMikeG

    Raekwon's autobiography was a riveting read from page 1 straight through. He tells his story with unflinching honesty, from his troubled childhood growing up in poor areas of NYC straight through the rise of Wu Tang and all the drama that followed. Parts of the book, as a huge Wu Tang fan since the mid 90s, were emotionally difficult to read. Especially all of Rae's grievances towards RZA and his brother Divine. That said, I feel like Rae was coming from a place of honesty, and what better way t Raekwon's autobiography was a riveting read from page 1 straight through. He tells his story with unflinching honesty, from his troubled childhood growing up in poor areas of NYC straight through the rise of Wu Tang and all the drama that followed. Parts of the book, as a huge Wu Tang fan since the mid 90s, were emotionally difficult to read. Especially all of Rae's grievances towards RZA and his brother Divine. That said, I feel like Rae was coming from a place of honesty, and what better way to get Wu Tang back to its former glory than by airing those grievances out in public. Maybe something good will come of it. An excellent memoir and a must read for all fans of the Wu.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joe Szalinski

    I’ve read all of the books by the other members of Wu-Tang. This was my favorite. Dealt with the philosophy of the group, the street life lead before the music took over, exploits before the street life, and it chronicled the pursuit of making music and the trials and tribulations of the group. The most well balanced account by far. A must read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steven Whitted

    Outstanding read. The Chef was already one of my favorite Wu members and the book just solidified it. It’s was great seeing how one of the greatest groups of any genre came to be. If you love the Wu, you will love to is book. 👐🏽

  5. 4 out of 5

    Femi Murphy

    Heart of a King I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book. I knew that Raekwon was one of the illest emcees to grace the mic, and his music has had a profound impact on me, but to read his struggles as a man, and the stories of how he overcame them, how he grew, that was something I needed and could relate to as a man of almost the same age. To hear the roles he played in the building of the Wu dynasty, the Wu legacy, shows me what more men need to be and do for themselves and Heart of a King I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book. I knew that Raekwon was one of the illest emcees to grace the mic, and his music has had a profound impact on me, but to read his struggles as a man, and the stories of how he overcame them, how he grew, that was something I needed and could relate to as a man of almost the same age. To hear the roles he played in the building of the Wu dynasty, the Wu legacy, shows me what more men need to be and do for themselves and other men. I’m greatful for this story, and hope I can use pieces of it to help the young warriors I work with become better men, husbands, fathers, and emcees. I think it is also providence that I just saw him, Ghost, and GZA for the first time last month when they performed their “3 Chambers” tour in Rochester. There are no accidents. (DJ K-Mello, Rochester, NY by way of Brooklyn, nor and raised)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Albert E Russell

    Great Read I respect the honesty in this book. I always looked at Raekwon as a guy who was super confident to the point of being arrogant. After reading this, I understand his attitude and he was very vulnerable in the book. He acknowledged his flaws and told the honest-to-God truth about himself. I respect him for that and he’s a heckuva storyteller. Great read. I finished the book in a couple of days. Thanks for sharing and much success on all of your future endeavors.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    Like most musician's biographies, the first half is always the most enriching. This was a 4 star book until 3/5 in, which I expected. I loved how for most of the book, Rae had little bad to say about anyone (different than U-God's book). However, this changes. I won't spoil any more, but it's disheartening. Not surprising, just disheartening. I suppose I will read RZA's book (he has one, right?). I'm a RZA and Ghostface mark, so hopefully. Worth reading? Yes. Like most musician's biographies, the first half is always the most enriching. This was a 4 star book until 3/5 in, which I expected. I loved how for most of the book, Rae had little bad to say about anyone (different than U-God's book). However, this changes. I won't spoil any more, but it's disheartening. Not surprising, just disheartening. I suppose I will read RZA's book (he has one, right?). I'm a RZA and Ghostface mark, so hopefully. Worth reading? Yes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    Pleasantly surprised with this one. I was a big fan of the Wu as a teenager into my early 20's. Not as much anymore, but reading this book took me back to when I got into them and showed me why. I'm not always a fan of the early years in an autobiography, but enjoyed Raekwon's street stories and tales of his upbringing. Now time to go back and listen to Cuban Links... but also some of his later material that I slept on. Pleasantly surprised with this one. I was a big fan of the Wu as a teenager into my early 20's. Not as much anymore, but reading this book took me back to when I got into them and showed me why. I'm not always a fan of the early years in an autobiography, but enjoyed Raekwon's street stories and tales of his upbringing. Now time to go back and listen to Cuban Links... but also some of his later material that I slept on.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ruruisme

    To be completely honest I have to say I didn’t think the content of the book would interest me. I was a giveaway winner and therefore felt responsible to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s well written and the writer takes you along his journey easily. Don’t let title or writer prejudice you and you’ll be wiser for the trip

  10. 5 out of 5

    William Russ

    Wow incredibly in-depth! A must have for any wu-tang fan or fan of hip hop in general. This whole story is wild from start to finish, from Rae’s early life to the struggles with the Wu, Rae has been through a hell of a life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jason Weber

    4.5 stars. I really liked this book. Raekwon pulls mo punches about his life, relationships, and all things Wu. I hope that other members follow his lead and put books out, because it would be really cool to see their perspectives as well. If you are a Wu fan, this is a MUST read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brooklyn Sr

    Just finished this joint. And from a book written by an artist, this is one of best I’ve read. Going to see 3 Chambers tour with Rae, Ghost, and Gza December 19, 2021. 😀

  13. 4 out of 5

    Isaac Thompson

    Gave me a much greater upstanding and appreciation for early hip hop

  14. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Very open and no holds barred take on his time as part of the Wu-Tang Clan.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Austin Pierce

    Amazing!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christina Rittenberry

    Inspiring, a good read if you like learning about a rapper, coming from the streets, to making it in the biz.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Terrence

    An enjoyable listen.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary Tharp

    Very interesting

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Received in Goodreads giveaway. Great storytelling.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    Great read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    GABRIAN

    “If you’re ever invited to Carlo Gambino’s stash house in Hackensack, remember to remove your Häagen-Daz googles before sitting down for dinner.” - Raekwon the Chef

  22. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    Got an advanced copy from a Goodreads Giveaway. I loved it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Marie

    I might be biased because they are my favorite group of all time, but their story is fascinating. I love how Raekwon has his son interview him at the end of every chapter. Wu-Tang forever.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kek

    I know there's two sides to every story, but in a few of the late chapters, RZA really doesn't come off well. I know there's two sides to every story, but in a few of the late chapters, RZA really doesn't come off well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    jennifer schwartz

    Man! Absolutely love the honesty and realism into a life of one if the most charismatic people in entertainment. This book can be inspirational to many people. Great read

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nikolas Bayuk

    Whether you are into the Wu Tang Clan or not, it’s a great story about how it all came together. I didn’t know how influential Raekwon was so it was a great first read for 2022.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Crook

    I used to be an autobiography junkie and kind of punched myself out on them. Raekwon's was the exception: It's a great snapshot of not only his life, but of NYC living and the birth of hip-hop in the 80s and 90s. Required for hip-hop fans. More here: https://atwoodmagazine.com/brws-raekw... I used to be an autobiography junkie and kind of punched myself out on them. Raekwon's was the exception: It's a great snapshot of not only his life, but of NYC living and the birth of hip-hop in the 80s and 90s. Required for hip-hop fans. More here: https://atwoodmagazine.com/brws-raekw...

  28. 5 out of 5

    🕊Faloni © arr 💰🏃‍♀️🥗✈️

    i won't give you the title if you don't know how to be it. 🙂 i won't give you the title if you don't know how to be it. 🙂

  29. 5 out of 5

    R. Greg Pruett

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nick George

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