It feels like Raekwon is more relevant than ever in 2015. The Mafioso coke rap style he helped pioneer has seeped into every regional style from Cali to Atlanta, and recent comparisons to Young Thug figure into the importance of Shallah’s esoteric slang. His brand new FILA album seems to capitalize on Rae’s modern significance; it makes sense for a food-centric jokester like 2 Chainz to do a record with The Chef.
Initially, I found it hard to warm up to Rae’s style. His boot stomp raps on Wu-Tang’s first album weren’t out there like ODB or hyper-active like Ghost. Leading up to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, he started to string syllables together effortlessly, and the deep slang made his rhymes harder to digest. It wasn’t until years of listening to Wu-Tang Forever and Ironman that I began to truly appreciate how mind-numbingly intricate Raekwon’s verses are. Now I consider him one of the top three rhymers in the Wu.
So to celebrate his new album, we look back at when he rushed all the guest spots. After all, Spot Rusherz is named after the song from his seminal debut. Light up a chalice and walk these dogs with us as we look back at Raekwon’s Best Guest Verses of all time.
20. Allure – “Give You All I Got” (Feat. Raekwon) [Prod. By Trackmasters] (1997)
Rae has always been versatile. His first verse is cool, but it’s the last verse that shines. That line about shutting down her willpower is kind of wack, though. And do you hear Rae punching in? Even the best do it.
Best Line: “She’s a fly fabulous bird from out of nowhere / We bungalow dolo in ‘Lo gear, free parole the whole year”
19. La The Darkman – “Spring Water” (Feat. Raekwon) [Prod. By Carlos “Six July” Broady] (1998)
It’s rare that you get a warm, fuzzy, feel-good Wu record, and even rarer that it comes from a guy like La The Darkman, but “Spring Water” just puts you in a good mood. That Frankie Beverly and Maze sample helps, but it’s the sense of two accomplished MCs triumphing over obstacles to chill by the pool that really makes it. Peep Heist Of The Century if you’ve never heard it. You won’t be disappointed.
Best Line: “Fly Nikes on, fitted up with fly tights on”
18. Gina Thompson – “The Things You Do” (Darkchild Remix) [Feat. Raekwon, Mr. Mike Nitty & Craig Mack] (1996)
It’s always dope to hear how Rae spits for the ladies, because ladies love slang (or at least the white ones do), so that’s what Lex uses to hook dimes. I have no idea what “laces burned with the rabbit” means unless that’s a wild way of saying he ties his shoes with the bunny ear technique, but it sounds ill, and only Rae could compare a jewel to a raisin.
Best Line: “Chill, daughter, you’re Navy Seal real recorder / Peace, law and order, God body hit it underwater”
17. Davina – “So Good” (Feat. Raekwon) [Prod. By Davina] (1997)
This almost sounds like a RZA/4th Disciple/True Master beat, so Rae sounds at home on the short opening verse. “Tranq’d out” is also such an ill way to describe the feeling of being in love. Fun fact: Davina dropped her only album on Loud Records in ’98.
Best Line: “Damn, your loving got me tranq’d out, the handkerchief out / We walk the bank route, shorty be careful with your link out”
16. Fat Joe – “John Blaze” (Feat. Nas, Big Pun, Jadakiss, & Raekwon) [Prod. By Ski Beatz] (1998)
Admittedly, Rae’s verse falls victim to Nas, Pun, and Jada, but it’s still a classic posse cut. The highlight of his verse is probably when he calls himself an “iciclist.”
Best Line: “Crushed hash, hands is like glass, keep the heat in the dash / did some dirt for some work, caught a gash”
15. Cocoa Brovaz – “Black Trump” (Feat. Raekwon) [Prod. By Lord Self] (1998)
In an alternate universe, I’d be listing all the times Raekwon wanted to poly in a verse. The reincarnated Smif-N-Wessun doesn’t get much love, but this cut (which samples “Incarcerated Scarfaces”) from their Rude Awakening album features a cool little Rae verse, plus some back and forth at the end. Also notable: how Chef makes “luck” rhyme with “Egypt.”
Best Line: “I’m lookin’ at you why, like “fuck, you probably think I’m high / Seems luck, chain around my neck, got it from Egypt”
14. AZ – “Doe Or Die” (Remix) [Feat. Raekwon] (Prod. By RZA) 
Who knew AZ and Raekwon traded bars on a RZA remix of “Doe Or Die”? You can tell Rae just genuinely loves the art of rhyming because he introduces the track with random raps before he starts spitting.
Best Line: “Yo, these avalanche rock throwers, granola holders / Style is steady ready like a military soldier”
13. Jodeci – “Freek’n You” (Mr. Dalvin’s Freak Mix) [Feat. Raekwon & Ghostface Killah] (Prod. Mr. Dalvin) 
Wu-Tang was right there with Bad Boy when it came to putting rappers over R&B shit. Both verses from Rae and Ghost are classic here, but Rae’s is especially bugged as he talks about wanting to fill up a girl “like Exxon” who has stacks “like the International House of Pancakes.” I don’t know how that works.
Best Line: “What’s your name? Lex, last name Diamond / Icy earring shining, what’s your occupation? Crazy rhyming”
12. Tash – “Rap Life” (Feat. Raekwon) [Prod. By Young Lord] (1998)
Tha Alkaholiks member Tash had a dope solo debut with Rap Life, and Shallah shows up on the title track to talk about jettin’ in a jet black Ac hearse. It’s crazy to see how Rae’s style developed through the years. The way he says “slidide” and “Vidibe” is like a mix of Seagram putting “iz” in the middle of words and Wayne mispronouncing stuff to make it rhyme. It’s all part of the same continuum.
Best Line: “High powered hydraulic Eddie Bauer Rockwilder / Who holla? Slang bit niggas on the collar”
11. Fat Joe – “Firewater” (Feat. Raekwon, Armaggedon, & Big Pun) [Prod. By Born Lords] (1996)
This was the b-side to Fat Joe’s “Envy,” and it’s funny, because even though Rae was featured on a cut from the Jealous One’s Envy album (“Respect Mine”) he didn’t spit a verse on there. Rae roasts his verse, but Pun is the real star here, and D.I.T.C. affiliates Born Lords bless the track something wicked.
Best Line: “So sleek, but I’ma be maxin’ in suites / Countin’ your paper and countin’ your sheep, hittin’ your chick in Jeeps”
10. Ron G – “Stop The Breaks” (Feat. Raekwon, Killa Sin, KRS-One, Notorious B.I.G. & O.C.) 
He starts the verse by saying his style is older than fucking sharkskin. Fuck your favorite rapper.
Best Line: “Peace to RZA razor, yo, the nigga’s major / Who slice tracks fast like whiteys on Gillette razors”
9. Mobb Deep – “Nighttime Vultures” (Feat. Raekwon) [Prod. By Havoc] (1996)
Mobb and Rae seemed to have a special connection in the ‘90s (watch them do an interview with Nas on Yo! MTV Raps in ’95), so Rae sounds right at home over this Hell On Earth cut. Kind of makes you wonder what a Raekwon x Havoc project would sound like.
Best Line: “Watch this, dun glock-less, fiends scopin’ out my rock shit / Diamond on some H&R Block shit”
8. Ol’ Dirty Bastard – “Raw Hide” (Feat. Method Man & Raekwon) [Prod. By RZA] (1995)
On the second solo Wu album, Rae’s style starts to come into focus. You can tell just by how he opens the verse (“Yo, check the bulletproof fly shit”), but when he says “collidin’ on the track like gin and watty,” you start to get a sense of where his slang was headed. Four months later, Cuban Linx hit stores.
Best Line: “Now regulate and I’ll be out to set up a date / Wu-Tang bangin’ like a Ron G tape”
7. 12 O’Clock – “Nasty Immigrants” (Feat. Raekwon) [Prod. By 4th Disciple] (1996)
Of course Rae would be on a song called “Nasty Immigrants.” This was on the Nutty Professor soundtrack, which was grimier than it deserved to be with songs from Def Squad, Trigger Tha Gambler, and 12 O’Clock, a member of ODB’s Brooklyn Zu crew. 4th Disciple is also way too slept on.
Best Line: “Peace what’s the signs ock? Fruit of life like the apricot / Cocktails, tossin’ ‘em at cops on blocks”
6. Method Man – “Meth Vs. Chef” (Feat. Raekwon) [Prod. By RZA] (1994)
It’s common lore that Wu-Tang members would compete for RZA beats for their respective solo albums by spitting verses and then deciding who deserved the track. Raekwon wanted “Meth Vs. Chef” for himself, and the song wound up taking the form of a battle between the two. (Then again, Meth rhymes nonchalantly on the track while Rae sounds like he’s coming at someone’s neck.) Shallah still has that blunt 36 Chambers style, reminiscent of his verse on “C.R.E.A.M.” right down to the onomatopoeic gunshot.
Best Line: “I go to war in a concrete jungle, making bundles / Niggas act funny and fumble”
5. Easy Mo Bee – “Let’s Make A Toast” (Feat. Roc Marciano, Busta Rhymes, Raekwon & Chip Banks) 
So much slang in this verse, I straight up do not know what Rae is talking about on every other line. Still fire though. Funny how people bitch about not understanding Young Thug like they knew what the fuck Chef was saying 15 years ago. Either that, or I’m whiter than fishscale.
Best Line: “Spit fire, Bailey’s with the tassel / Rassle up the last capsule, you ain’t sellin’ if you natural”
4. Bounty Killer – “War Face (Ask Fi War)” [Remix] (Feat. Raekwon) [Prod. By RZA] (1996)
This is such a random, grimy record. How the hell did Bounty Killer and Rae even connect? Shallah drops two dope verses, and notice how he peppers his verses with all these multisyllabic rhymes. People don’t give him enough credit for his rhyme schemes.
Best Line: “These scandalous brothers, we trample this / Fake and get blamp’d with this, Bounty and Chef, don’t even sample this”
3. GZA – “Investigative Reports” (Feat. U-God, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah) [Prod. By RZA] (1995)
This is just a whirlwind of syllables and impressions. It’s hard to keep up with every little genius observation he makes: “Mix collaboration, man, little man, and his girl / Way of life got me thinking.” Then the camera swings upward and we’re looking at youths on roofs, three time felony brutes.
Best Line: “Faculties bubble keys for Gs / Cream flow like seven seas, hit chicks Guyanese”
2. Mobb Deep – “Eye For An Eye” (Feat. Nas & Raekwon) [Prod. By Havoc] (1995)
Rae’s first feature outside of the Wu grabs you by your collar from the get-go – “Hold up and analyze, the wild cats slang cracks.” It’s his phrasing that does it, though. He doesn’t say he drinks German beers. He says, “Sip beers, the German ones, hand my guns to sons.” Despite Nas completely shitting all over this beat, Rae still remains memorable. The image of a crackhead over candlelight recalls those homeless dudes in Max Payne huddling over garbage can bonfires.
It’s worth mentioning that an alternate version of this song surfaced last year, and while it features a different Rae verse, it doesn’t necessarily merit its own entry. He did say, “Call me Santa, with more snow than Montana” though.
Best Line: “But late night, candlelight, fiend with a crack pipe / It’s only right, feeling higher than an airplane, right”
1. Ghostface Killah – Ironman (1996)
Ironman is a whole other thing. Rae is on 12 of the album’s 17 tracks, effectively mirroring the collaborative nature of Cuban Linx with Ghost as a partner. Truth be told, Ironman might house the best rhymes Raekwon ever spit, but that’s a discussion for another day.
For the sake of being stubborn nerds who don’t like covering things that have already been beat to death, we’re including Ironman as one unit of Rae features. If you haven’t heard this album, we aren’t the same, and if you’re mad about us doing this, go have a donut or something.
Oh, and Rae’s best verse on the album is the first one you hear.
Best Line: “Yo, Gambino niggas who swipe theirs, deluxe rap cavaliers / Midgets who steal beers, give ’em theirs”