Under the tutelage of Wu-Tang Clan’s resident Chef Raekwon, the four-man crew, Ice Water, consisting of Polite, Stomach, P.C. (Paulie Caskets) and D.C. (Donnie Cash) marks Staten Island’s return to prominence as a hotbed for fresh, credible talent. Die hard fans may remember Ice Water from their appearances on several tracks on Raekwon’s last album, 2002’s “The Lex Diamond Story,” as well as their opening stints for the Chef on his subsequent 30+ state tour. As Raekwon confirms, “We knew these cats had potential way back, but the timing wasn’t right. I always kept a radar on dudes, and when I felt they was ready mentally and lyrically, I helped ’em get on.” Raekwon compares his protracted development of the group to raising pitbulls: “I’m training these pits. I’ve got them on the treadmill, and I’m beating ’em, feedin’ ’em hot sauce and steaks, so they’re ready for this industry.”
Honed and focused, Ice Water’s debut, “Polluted Water,” will finally be released on Babygrande Records, home to such renowned and critically acclaimed talent as Hi-Tek, GZA, Jedi Mind Tricks, Immortal Technique and more. Raekwon states, “Babygrande recognized that Wu is a brand, and we’ve got so many different divisions of rappers around us.”
But is Ice Water really ready for the spotlight?
The veteran multi-platinum selling MC speaks earnestly, justifying the time he’s taken to refine the quartet’s innate skills: “I can’t put my name on anything that I feel is not on my level. These dudes are on my level, that’s why I pushed for the project; I believe in them.” A-listers such as Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Remy Ma, Three Six Mafia and Jagged Edge believed too, appearing on a number of the album’s tracks, which also features appearances from Rae himself and Method Man, along with production by such renowned producers as Scram Jones, Jagged Edge and EZ-Elpee. According to Rae, the collaborations weren’t just a result of Rae’s industry stature: “Yea I pushed a couple of buttons. Busta Rhymes, he’s a good friend of ours; but he knew where these dudes was at. Nobody would represent these guys if they didn’t have a good taste in they mouth about dudes”
Honing their craft for over a decade, Ice Water has paid their dues. Indeed, the release of “Polluted Water” marks both the return and rebirth of Staten Island hip-hop. The significance of the group’s long awaited emergence from the Wu-Tang Clan’s very own Shaolin stomping ground is not lost on Master Chef Raekwon: “At the end of the day, I knew I’d never build another dynasty with eight or nine dudes. But these dudes’ chemistry is perfect. This is the next dynasty.”