There may not be an “i” in “team,” but every team has a leader. That’s essentially what RZA is to the Wu-Tang. He’s their commander-in-chief, yet he somehow manages to help out each of them when it comes to solo projects and personal endeavors. I guess he’s like a big brother too. RZA has always inspired me. He struck me as a very spiritual person who knew about art and literature that I’d yet to discover. He serves as role model to me and every time I feel like I’m losing control in a situation, I envision RZA and his leadership abilities.
Born on this day of July 5th, RZA celebrates his 43rd birthday. He’s accomplished many things during his career of which include emceeing, producing, acting, writing, screenwriting and directing. He was named after both John Fitzgerald and Robert Kennedy and just like the iconic family, he too is a part of American royalty. He gave hip hop a majestic legacy and set the bar incredibly high as a producer. Inspired by kung fu films and music, he is perhaps one of the most self-disciplined figures in hip hop, who puts a strong emphasis on work ethic. While some rappers are just merely there to party and enjoy the ride, RZA has risen about all calamity and indulgence to create music that is both artistically and critically acclaimed.
When I turned 18, it was precisely this strong-rooted belief of self that helped me get through some very difficult times. Questioning the purpose of my existence and the often delicate and frail nature of life, I needed some guidance from the spiritual realm. No organized religion seemed to have the answers I was looking for, so I turned to the quietest, most serene place I could find – the library. There, I began reading RZA’s The Tao of Wu. I became familiarized with The Five Percenters, Buddhist teachings and Supreme Mathematics. It not only gave me insight on wise spiritual teachings but RZA’s story inspired me as well. He really delved into the deep corners of his brain and revealed facts about the Wu that could only be told from a first-person narrative account. Recounting his hardships made all my problems seem minuscule and gave me faith that obstacles are not meant to stunt you, but rather motivate you.
The Tao of Wu literally gave me a new outlook on life and cemented RZA as not only a favorite emcee of mine, but also a role model. It seems that the gift of storytelling and knowledge of self runs deep into the heart of all the Wu-Tang members, but I must admit that RZA’s authorship and intricate way of writing inspired me like no other. It gave me ideas in regards to the woman that I wanted to be and rekindled my love of writing, which I thought had pretty much ignited. And here I am today.
The staff at Bad Perm would like to wish RZA a very happy born day. I know he has many blessed and prosperous years ahead of him. I know his journey is far from over and I look forward to listening or reading about whatever new knowledge he gains in the coming years.
RZA, if you ever read this. Thank you. You did more for me than any preacher, priest or teacher ever did!