The RZA just keeps getting sharper.
After twenty-plus years in the rap game, the prolific artist continues to evolve and expand his creative reach. He has produced, rhymed, acted, composed film scores, written books, and now his debut as a film director The Man with the Iron Fists is set to come out on November 2nd. Last night (October 3rd), the RZA was in Brooklyn on the first leg of an 11-city U.S. tour to promote the film and its all-star soundtrack. As he announced to the crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg, “I made it for you, make sure you enjoy it.”
The Abbot kicked off his set passing around bottles of liquor and sharing a smoke with audience members. As he pointed out a screaming fan, RZA turned things berserk with the Gravediggaz single “1-800 Suicide.” Then, the Staten Island legend went right into a medley of Wu-Tang hooks, including “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta Fuck Wit.” Throughout the performance, Prince Rakeem shared his thoughts on his directorial debut, as stage assistants passed out The Man with the Iron Firsts memorabilia. While the film will mostly draw male viewers, RZA added that he inserted “a beautiful twist,” which will allow women to fall in love with the film as well. Always one to connect his philosophy to the art form, the RZA explained this creative balance using the principle of yin and yang, pointing out that even the “W”—the sign, which represents Wu-Tang—takes two hands to form into one.
He also paid tribute to the late O.D.B., expressing sadness that his fellow Wu-Tang member cannot be present to see the new film. RZA reminisced about times that ‘[him] and Dirt would cut school, go to 42nd Street and watch muthafuckin’ kung fu movies.”
The RZA performed for 45 minutes, followed by a solid line-up of opening acts, including Kosha Dillz, Supernatural and U-God from the Wu-Tang Clan. Kosha Dillz was part of the latest BET cypher, which was released yesterday and features RZA as the DJ. In an interview with XXL after his performance, Kosha Dillz said of the night’s line-up, “We all know each other from Rock The Bells, so it’s a lot of respect for each other out there.”
Supernatural hit the stage with the revered freestyles he’s known for, and showed off a trademark technique he developed in 1993. Asking members of the audience to hold up items from their pockets, Supernatural walked up and down the stage, picking out different objects and rhyming about them in a long, flawless freestyle.
U-God finished warming up the room for the RZA, and spoke with XXL on his upcoming projects and how it felt to share the stage with his Wu-Tang affiliate: “I’m out here supporting my brother with his movie, and I’m just proud that I know him. I’ve been with RZA since I was 12 years old, so seeing my brother grow up and do these great accomplishments puts a smile on my face.” U-God’s solo album Keynote Speaker—executive produced by the RZA—is set to come out on early 2013.
As Method Man famously explained in 1993’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the RZA is “always on point, razor sharp, with the beats, with the rhymes, whatever.” The high-energy show he delivered last night proved exactly the kind of sophistication expected from the Abbot. As he closed the evening by shouting, “My name is the RZA, I love you, peace and blessings,” crowds of Wu-Tang fans respectfully raised their two hands forming the W .
—Katie Moore for XXL