On screen and off, Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA shares how his career unfolded and how he evolved as a man.
Wu-Tang Clan’s Birth Quick Recap: The group, originally from Staten Island, includes original members RZA, GZA, Ol ‘Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, and Masta Killa. Rza (Robert Diggs) founded the band in the early ’90s after deciding he wanted a life in music, not the streets.
Their 1993 debut album, “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” is often listed as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time. RZA then fleshed out his resume, becoming an actor, filmmaker and producer. Quentin Tarantino chose him to tag “Kill Bill: Volume 1” and “Kill Bill: Volume 2”. He also helped produce “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” by Kanye West and “Watch the Throne” by West and Jay-Z.
His story is told in “Wu-Tang: An American Saga”, which just released Season 2 on Hulu. (The first season follows RZA as he gathered the members of the Wu-Tang. The second season follows the making of “36 Chambers.”)
RZA spoke to CNN about what it was like to produce the show, alongside Brian Grazer, and working with the writers to recreate his life for television.
“Season two will cover the album ’36 Chambers’ and its recording, which I’m so excited for audiences to see,” RZA said, “I mean, it’s a dramatization of what happened. We have great writers, don’t we. When you do a TV show, you get great writers who we tell our story to and they give it meaning and visual meaning. But hers is all rooted in one. true story.
He said that as the season unfolds, viewers will get a glimpse of events that have happened that have never been revealed to the public before.
“You might have gotten it from the music if you really listened,” he said, “It’s a great time. I never forget being that kid where I didn’t have it. ‘electricity to power my studio, because I actually didn’t pay the bill and it was hard, but we had to do this song. And so we had to plug into someone else in that building. . [On the show] we tapped into the spotlight, which was actually a nod to hip hop itself, from a DJ putting down the equipment, tapping into street lights and fueling block parties. So I took what happened in my life and took a dose of what happened to hip hop. And so instead of plugging into the neighbor, we plugged into the street lights, but it happened. And by doing that, if I hadn’t connected with someone else, I would never have made the song “Method Man”.
RZA said he became emotional after seeing a commercial for the show and realized how far he had come.
“It’s a surreal thing that happens, right?” Looking at him, there is something traumatic. It is fear. Every emotion is going to happen as I watch this and create this, but there is a beauty. And the greatest beauty is that I could look at that and see that I had evolved. At that time, I was aggressive. I was ready to, you know, do things that weren’t as useful to society because I wasn’t enlightened. To see that these guys understand their problem to find a better direction. “
RZA also attributes her progress to helping her be “healthy and happy” and changing her diet. He went from eating goat curry back then to becoming fully vegan. Now he is also trying to help his community be healthier. In partnership with Violife, he launched a program called Plant Grants, which helps black-owned restaurants incorporate plant-based recipes into their menus. Five restaurants across the United States have been chosen to receive $ 20,000 each to rebuild with a healthier menu after closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have helped black-owned restaurants that were really devastated by Covid and hanging by a thread,” he said. “My evolution towards veganism started by giving up this curry. And then I went further and let go of the poultry. The last thing to do was fish. Some people think that is not possible. I say this even if you could do it one day a week. It is about being more aware of the diet.
He adds that educating his community about food will help everyone feel better and also help the planet.
“I feel so much better. I mean, I feel good. I am happy and in good health. My kids are the same, ”he said. “[That’s] the physical aspect of it. But then for the big picture, we’re actually causing more destruction of our planet, of our atmosphere, of our whole environment, because of our meat-based diet.
Seasons 1 and 2 of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” are now streaming on Hulu.