BASS & TREBLE
AT A GLANCE...
+ The tracks “Tar Pit” and “16th Chamber” (featur-
ing a vocal track from the late ODB) only appear on the track listing for the European release of the album. However, RZA states that he hid “16th Chamber” at the end of the American release should fans try to look for it.
+ The dialogue at the end of the track “Life Changes”
is actually the Heart Sutra, as read in Mandarin Chinese.“Everyone should hear the Heart Sutra in its native tongue at least once in their lives,” RZA states.
+ RZA looks up to Snoop Dogg and Slick Rick. “Snoop Dogg to me is the coolest rapper in history. Only one who’s cooler is Slick Rick. He is the only one who can compare to Snoop as far as coolest.” + Each of the members of the Wu are referred to as
“generals,” whereas RZA refers to himself as “The Abbot,” meaning the superior of a monastery. In the old kung fu movies, the abbot was the one the badass warrior monks turned to for leadership or advice.
involved, you basically only making a bigger hole because they don’t know the problem and the longer it last the better for them. This thing with Ghostface has gone on for three years now.” In terms of the friction between RZA and Raekwon, this stems more from creative differences in which Raekwon longs for the grittier sound of older Wu-Tang records, referring to RZA as a “hip hop hippie” due to a more eclectic and, some may even contend, subdued palette. “It hurts me,” RZA admits. “And I ain’t no goddamn hippie… the first Wu-Tang album, the first song was called ‘Bring the Motherfuckin’ Ruckus’.Who sang that hook? That’s me! That shows you I was in an aggressive frame of mind. ‘Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit’. ‘Protect Your Neck’.These are all my hooks and my statements. So I know what Rae means because I’ve felt like that too but I’ve traveled the world and there’s another struggle out there in this world. I been to other places around the world and I seen other men, I got respect for other men, how they feel about life, how they feel about music. So I’ma jump in that way, not every song is aggressive. I got a song ‘While My Heart Gently Weeps’ because we all weepin’ inside.We act like we all tough, we these super heroes, but at the end of the day we weepin’ inside. Because the heart is weepin’.The heart really feels what’s going on inside this fuckin’ world, inside the whole crew, inside the whole household, inside everything when you walk outside.“ As cited before, the number eight represents a selfbalancing force and in spite of creative and business differences, RZA illustrates a bright side that is telling of each member’s passion for hip hop and as well as their collective respect for the entity that launched
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their careers.“The one good thing I will say about the record is the whole clan did come in and did give their vocal performances and lyrical performances in spite of all the difficulties we was having business wise. And I really wanna commend the group for that, for coming in and giving their time. I know Method Man’s lawyer, calling Method Man up going ‘don’t go to the studio, don’t go to the studio, don’t go to the studio…’ Ghostface showed up, Ghostface got a lawsuit against Wu-Tang productions right now…so I respect the clan realizing that Wu-Tang Clan and the music is bigger than any other personal problems or business problems we have and that our fans, they deserve more than to suffer while we suffer, and our music deserves more.” Turmoil and mathematics aside, one notable thing about the Wu-Tang Clan is unlike many mainstream rappers, they have not needed to have their beefs, whether they be internal or otherwise, highly publicized to sell an album. They simply spit the way they spit and the masses gravitate toward it. In spite of the perceived conflicts within the clan, RZA sums it up: “I think Raekwon put it best in an interview: ‘When we together, we have no problems. We only have problems when we all apart.’ That’s what I feel like… at one point I didn’t think Ghostface was going to be on this record and I was willing to do it without him, to be honest with you. But at the end of the day we sat down face to face and it felt like all the problems disappeared.” As exemplified by the previously stated symbolism of the numeral 8 turned sideways to reveal the symbol for eternity, it would appear that Wu-Tang is in fact forever.
+ The RZA and other Wu members espouse the divinity of mathematics, as taught by The Nation of Gods and Earths (more commonly referred to as the 5% Nation of Islam). + RZA’s favorite soundtracks that he’s composed are
for Kill Bill and Afro Samuari.“With Afro Samurai I was just doing my own thing, no guidelines.” The Afro Samurai Soundtrack made Skinnie’s Best of 2007 issue.
+ Two favorite movies that the RZA has worked on:
Kill Bill, in which he worked with his hero Quentin Tarantino and American Gangster, in which he acted alongside Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe.
+ The Wu-Tang Clan is a labor of love for RZA:“But
even as the producer, I did this whole album for only $200,000. I did a commercial where it took me three days to get that money. I got paid more for that commercial than I did for this whole fuckin’ album!”
+ Having studied all religions and paths, RZA com-
ments that all gods and all spirituality are essentially the same thing. “You can call it what you want, I choose to refer it as Allah, because the first three letters are ALL. It is all things, all gods, all paths.”
WU TANG CLAN’S “8 DIAGRAMS” is available now. For more info on the Wu, visit wumusicgroup.com
Published on Mar 28, 2010