RZA – Digital Love

RZA, THE WU-TANG CLAN GENIUS BORN AS THE HUMBLE ROBERT DIGGS, HAS DREAMS OF CONVERTING HIS FAMOUS GROUP’S LEGACY TO CELLULOID, AS RIP NICHOLSON DISCOVERS.

RZA interviewed @ 08:30 AEST – Saturday 9th January, 2010
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press

Words by RIP NICHOLSON
Images courtesy of Kai Regan

[Full Q & A below]

The abbot of Wu-Tang’s conglomerate band of brothers, RZA aka Bobby Digital aka The Rzarector and a slew of other conceptual identities dependent on the current of creative air swirling around the genius born Robert Diggs, is making power moves on a Hollywood chessboard.  A student under the wings of this generation’s biggest cult director Quentin Tarantino (whom RZA refers to as The Master) is making grand attempts to bring the Wu-Tang dynasty to film.

“The whole operatic movement of the Wu-Tang Clan is something I’ve always envisioned for one day,” Diggs reveals. When I make records they’re always mini movies to me. You listen to [Raekwon’s] Cuban Linx, 36 Chambers, [GZA’s] Liquid Swords – those are my movies, but they’re audio. Now I’m gonna get a chance to direct a real movie for the cinema. But at the same time as I study acting and directing, and as I’m getting older, I’m not gonna be able to go on stage and rap every night. Now I gotta give you the love of hip hop – as we all get older and the music matures it’s time to put it into another arena to continue enjoying it without ruining its culture.”

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The founding leader of Wu-Tang and groundbreaking producer Diggs has been at the forefront of every Wu-Tang clansman and affiliate recording since before 1992’s seminal classic, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). An industry of creative pursuit unto his own, Diggs is chartering into new worlds, steering the next vessel in which to bring his conceptual conquest to life. With Tarantino’s blessing he’s directing his first masterpiece The Man With The Iron Fist, a Spaghetti Western meets Shaw Brothers kung-fu flick with RZA scoring the soundtrack – though he’s keeping a lid on the finer details.

“All I’m gonna say is I’m looking forward to bringing the audience a unique movie experience. One that makes you wanna buy two bags of popcorn,”

chuckles the man with a busy mind and fast words. “I’m really aiming at pleasing the audience with this particular film. A film has to be worth going out and seeing or else you’ll stay at home.”

“Me, in the director’s chair? Definitely! That’s where I wanna be. That’s why I’ve been studying Tarantino for just that purpose. I wanna follow in his footsteps and help bring some unique new culture to a whole ‘nother world. But this still reflects my creative, artistic nature, but I gotta admit it’s not an easy job to write the script and get it to the format we got it at and to be accepted by Hollywood. It’s taken a year and a half to get to that level but it’s very fulfilling. When you give it to other people to appreciate it and they say, ‘Wow what a great story, what a great script’, it’s something I’ve been working on for a few years. I’m really passionate about it and I’m ready to share it with the world.”

But first up for Diggs is a return trip to Australia mere months after he landed here with a sprinkling of Wu-Tang Clan members in 2009, and he promises the energy he brought to those shows will be present again when he performs in solo mode.

“I think you can expect a lot of energy and don’t expect to be standing still, you know what I mean?” the Wu leader declares. “When we come out to the hip hop concert, that’s where we come and get rid of all our backed up negative energy. You’re not allowed to walk down the street, jump up and down and yell or walk into a restaurant and scream and curse. That’s what a hip hop concert is for. So, I’m bringing the energy and expecting high energy when I get there. It’s summer time in Australia, our shirts will be wet.”

[Full Q & A below]

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Q+A with The RZA

The abbot of Wu-Tang’s conglomerate band of brothers, RZA AKA Bobby Digital AKA The Rzarector and a slew of other conceptual identities dependent on the current of creative air swirling around the genius who was born Robert Diggs, is making power moves on a Hollywood chessboard. A student under the wings of this generation’s biggest cult director, Quentin Tarantino whom RZA refers to as the Master, is making grandeur attempts to bring the Wu-Tang dynasty to film, for eternal survival in a young man’s game of hip-hop.

Recently the Wu-Tang performed in Melbourne. Good to see. Almost everybody on stage. How was the chemistry during the event?

We had a really good time out there, the crowd was having a good time with us. We had a good time on stage. I think the chemistry and energy was great. We are trying to do a proper tour with the Wu-Tang Clan but that can be difficult. So I’m coming down, you know test the waters. Ghostface and GZA been down there. Now Method Man and Redman are running around right now. I’ma come down in February and bring my high voltage energy – getting’ it ready for when the whole Wu-Tang Clan returns late this year or early next year. We are working out details for everyone to be involved, but right now you have the energy of RZA individually and have some fun and I’ll build up a demand for the whole crew.

Is this to promote the new album, The Cure?

No I wouldn’t say that. (laugh) It’s really just to touch bases with Australia and New Zealand. I haven’t had a chance to perform in the country for about five years, and then last year we did two dates, then ten dates so it’s like you know, it’s a long trip, a great continent, I think the energy of the people there are really driven and just right for my style of hip-hop. I think the youth and adults have really grown to a level of appreciation for the music. So it’s a real treat and pleasure to perform out there.

But I don’t wanna pre-talk on that (new album), I’ve done some work with some good other musicians. We did the Black Rock project with the Black Keys and I’ve been doing some music for some buddies in Hollywood. I don’t know exactly what I wanna do creatively yet to be honest with you. I’m having fun with music and that sound I’ve missed. Over the years I’ve been doing music and in the beginning it was all about fun and good times. Then we strived and got a record deal, then we have a career and started doing music for pay checks, you know what I mean. And if they didn’t write me a budget I wasn’t goin’ in the fuckin’ studio. That became a problem, so for the last two years I’ve been back in the studio makin’ music for fun. Now I don’t know what to do with it, and one day I’ll decide what to do with it. Do I sell it or give it away, we don’t know what we wanna do.

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LA Times just announced your clearance for Man with the Iron Fist. I can’t help think that this was the next logical step for RZA. How does writing and directing film compare to scoring music?

Well its a whole ‘nother world but it still reflects my creative, artistic nature but it’s not an easy job, I gotta admit it’s not an easy job to write the script and get it to the format we got it at and to be accepted by Hollywood and the elite people. It’s taken a year, year and a half to get to that level. It’s not easy but it’s very fulfilling. When you get all that creativity out of you and give it to other people to appreciate it and say, ‘Wow what a great story, what a great script.’ It’s something I’ve been working on for a few years and I’m really passionate about and I’m ready to share it with the world.

Consider retiring into the director’s chair with Tarantino’s blessing?

Me, in the director’s chair? Definitely! That’s where I wanna be. That’s why I’ve been studying Tarantino for just that purpose. I wanna follow in his footsteps and help bring some unique new culture to the world.

Now I heard that you had wanted to put the Wu-Tang on Broadway. Is this bullshit or something for the future?

It’s something for the future. I don’t wanna give too much away on my idea, but I think the cinematography is priority one and the whole operatic movement of the Wu-Tang Clan is something I’ve always envisioned one day. I always envision when I make records as mini movies. You listen to Cuban Link, 36 Chambers, Liquid Swords – those are my movies, but they’re audio. Now I’m gonna get a chance to direct a real movie for the cinema. But at the same time as I study acting and directing, and as I’m getting older and older I’m not gonna be able to go on stage and rap every night.

Now I gotta give you the love of hip-hop, as we all get older and the music matures it’s time to put it into another arena to continue to enjoy it without ruining it’s culture. Now I don’t wanna put it on Broadway as like Frank Sinatra, no. There are other ways to do it. Now I don’t think I’m ready yet but everything I’m gaining and learning from this, over the next five years experiencing filming and directing I think it will give me the knowledge and power to take it to another level one day. Its a dream, and right now it’s in the back of my head.

Man with the Iron Fist; Is this a Leone spaghetti western meets Kill BIll type of film?

All I’m gonna say is I’m looking forward to bringing the audience a unique movie experience. I wanna give you an experience that makes you wanna buy two bags of popcorn. I’m really aiming at pleasing the audience with this particular film and uh, I go to the movies every Wednesday, me and my wife. A film has to be worth going out and seeing, or else you’ll stay at home. My master, Quentin Tarantino made one of the best films last year, Inglourious Basterds. I saw it three times and I enjoyed it every time.

It’s amazing how he builds up the anticipation in his dialogue.

I’m looking at doing the same, in terms of building up the anticipation and the adrenalin through the visual effect that I will develop over time. We’ll see when the film comes out, yo.”

What can we expect from the RZA-Rector when you come out to Australia to perform?

I think you can expect a lot of energy and don’t expect to be standing there stuff, you know what I mean. When we come out to the hiphop concert, that’s where we come and get rid of all our backed up negative energy. So you’re not allowed to walk down the street, jump up and down and yell. You can’t walk into a restaurant and scream and curse and let it out there. That’s what a hip-hop concert is for. So I’m bringing the energy and I’m expecting high energy when I get there. It’s summer time in Australia, our shirts will be wet.

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