“Fast for a few days. Don’t have a lot of people around. Be alone and quiet. You’ll start to hear yourself, feel yourself. You’ll hear from the you that’s not the you your family, society, or history created.”
Perhaps not the sort of advice that one might expect from a legend of hip hop music; but Robert Diggs (aka RZA, The Abbot, Bobbie Digital), producer, rapper, author, actor, film director, creator and spiritual leader of the hip hop juggernaut The Wu-Tang Clan, is full of surprises, contradictions, and inspiration in his new memoir meets eclectic spiritual guidebook The Tao of Wu. Mixing 5 Percent Nation Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist beliefs with kung-fu film philosophy, chess master wisdom, and his own gritty life experiences, RZA writes about a youth spent bearing witness to the rise of rap music, searching for true knowledge through religious pursuits and kung-fu movies, but never far from the swift violence and grim realities that surrounded his upbringing in the housing projects of Staten Island. After being acquitted on an attempted murder charge in the early 1990’s, RZA set his mind upon walking a righteous path and literally walked from one end of Staten Island to the other, as he puts it “like Da’Mo walked from India to China”, thinking about his life and music and formulating plans and musical ideas that would eventually manifest in the legendary Wu-Tang Clan.
The Wu-Tang Clan's music.
Ghost Dog: the way of the Samurai - Fantastic Jim Jarmusch film for which RZA provided much of the musical score and appears in an iconic scene at the very end of the film.
Digging for Dirt: the life and death of ODB - chronicling the chaotic life and tragic death of one of the most celebrated members of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Check the technique : liner notes for hip-hop junkies - Features a chapter on the Wu-Tang Clan.
Blakroc - collaboration album with indie rock blues band The Black Keys and several hip hop luminaries including a great track featuring lyrics and guitar playing by RZA.
The Tao of Wu