When you think of Raekwon songs, there are a few tracks that immediately spring to mind: “C.R.E.A.M.,” “Criminology,” “Ice Cream,” “Glaciers of Ice,” “Can It Be All So Simple” and definitely, definitely “Incarcerated Scarfaces.”
In fact, not only is “Incarcerated Scarfaces” the best song off Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, it’s the best Raekwon song ever. So it’s crazy to think that the beat could have gone to GZA instead.
“I wasn’t making that beat for Rae,” RZA told XXL. “I was finished with Rae. I like having 13 tracks. I don’t like having 18. I was making it for GZA probably. He was next. But then Rae heard that beat, grabbed his pen and paper, and started writing. Two hours later, it was written.”
A few years later after RZA’s interview, Rae would tell his own version of the song’s creation to Vulture:
That was also one of my bangers because I wrote that real fast. Sometimes, as an artist, you can come in the studio and hear a beat, and automatically, you relate to it. And that’s how it was with that record. I came over to RZA’s house. He was in the basement. He was playing the beat. I happened to walk in to hear it, and I tell him automatically I love it. Then I just started writing to it, and he knew I was writing to it. And at the end of the day, right before he was able to really just finish the beat, I already told him I had my bars ready. And I have three strong verses in less than 15 minutes, and the hook just came naturally because I was having fun and just quoting the hook in my mind. And he’s like, ‘Yo, you ready to lay it?’ and I was like, ‘Definitely.’ And some of my greatest songs was always done fast.Raekwon Picks His 10 Best Songs | Vulture