By Paul Cantor
The song lifts much its rhythm and main melody from Wu-Tang Clan’ “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F*** Wit,” with additional production on Bieber’s vocals.
“Flipping an old Wu beat was a smart move,” says Complex Deputy Editor Brendan Frederick. “It automatically gives you that nostalgic feeling, an old trick from the Bad Boy era that still works. Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F*** Wit” was always a fun record, and it translates perfectly to a light-hearted remix like this.”
“Kanye is clearly a Wu-Tang fan,” says Rob Markman, Deputy Editor at XXL. “Even when he was doing sped-up soul samples you could see Rza’s influence in ’Ye’s production. Kanye is capable of making an original beat and he was just paying homage to the Wu.”
Still, the remix has its critics. Some feel that just because artists can collaborate, doesn’t mean they always should.
“Reinvigorated Raekwon has obviously been a good thing for his opportunities and great for hip-hop,” says SmokingSection.net’s Gotty.
“However, there should be someone standing nearby reminding him of how a collabo like this one may come off as trite. Just because high profiles are involved it doesn’t necessarily mean it will yield good results, especially not when your calling card has been gritty talk your whole career.”
Dallas Penn, of The Internets Celebrities, thinks otherwise. “Raekwon’s verses are hard and on time,” he says. “The references are razor sharp. This isn’t from a throwaway notebook.”
Markman merely thinks Rae served his purpose, which was to accentuate the track and give it the true school feel it needed. “Raekwon’s verse was straight,” he says. “It wasn’t the Chef at his best, but then again I don’t know that the record called for it. Rae fit right in on the record and complimented it as only he could.”
Jake Paine, HipHopDX’s Editor-in-Chief, feels similarly. “[Raekwon] sets the tone for the record, and gives it the most authenticity possible,” he says. “In the last year, Raekwon has released no less than 10 better verses than this. He sounds cool… [but] this Rae is very Lex Diamond Story compared to the Chef we just heard on his ’The Heat’ record with Twista.
Will it be a hit though?
“This is one of those collaborations that was far-reaching from its earliest conception,” says Gotty. “The execution just shows how far they missed the mark. The artists’ egos were served, not their individual fans. I don’t suspect Bieber’s fans are going to acknowledge the Wu and start throwing their W’s up and I know for sure I won’t be singing in unison with the teeny bopper.”
Frederick disagrees. “The remix as a whole, seem to be Kanye’s way of trying to turn the next generation on to what made Wu so dope,” he says. “[Urban] radio is going to play this into the ground, and it’s definitely the best shot Raekwon has at getting on pop radio.”
Perhaps Dallas Penn puts it best. “Everyone wins on this joint, including the 13-year-old girl sitting in her room staring at her Justin Bieber poster,” he says. “’Runaway Love’ is the future of Hip-Hop.”
What do you think? Is “Runaway Love” the future of hip-hop? Sound off below!