The RZA Explains the Real Reason Ol' Dirty Bastard Bum-Rushed the Grammy Awards, and Why Wu-Tang Really Is For the Children

Well, you certainly have done many things—music, film, philanthropy. So shout out to mom and dad. That’s the power of a name. In more recent history, your name has been given to a baby born to Rihanna and A$AP Rocky.

Yeah, yeah.

How did you hear about that for the first time?

You know, A$AP had gave me a tip early on. But that’s, they’re family so I never speak on it. But then one of his family members ran into me, and I think I was at a Nobu. He was like, “You know he did it, right?”

I said, “Yeah? He told me he was going to do it.”

“Well he did it.” You know what I’m saying? And so when they announced it, I just was like, “Wow. He did do it!” I ran into him down south, in New Mexico. He was like, “Yo, you know I mean, Zig-Zag? I’m about to do sump’m. I’m gonna show you better than I can tell you.” And what was going on in the media I kind of was like, I kind of figured it out.

But it’s an honor, you know? And I think I said this before, but I’ll say it again to you: The RZA is not just a name. It’s a title. And I think it can invoke strength. And so I pray for the young man and his beautiful family that he grows to be great, healthy, strong, powerful, impactful, and an inspiration to his circle. His circle could be five people, it could be 5,000, it could be 5 million, but be impactful to his circle. I know right now he’s very impactful to his household.

I believe that.

I seen them online. His family, they love him. Sometimes that’s all you need to do.

Back to The Beatles— “All You Need Is Love.”

That’s it. You know what I mean? Exactly. [sings] “Love is all you need.” That’s what I’m saying, man.

So you took that Beatles energy on tour in 2023?

I was fortunate—you know, last year the New York State of Mind tour goes out.

That was Wu-Tang and Nas on the road, worldwide.

We are doing very, very great. But I have an album that I’m sittin’ on that I recorded with an orchestra. It’s called A Ballet Through Mud. And I’m like, “I need to mix this album.” So what if I have the bus come on the road with me? And they brought the bus but I didn’t know they was gonna have the Dolby 7.1 stereo in the bus—but they did! And so we mixed the whole album on the bus. We talked about it. We did it. My management almost pulled the plug on it…

Really? Why?

Yeah, just because it’s too much. Cause I also designed the show for the New York State of Mind. I’m directing the tour. I’m doing a lot of stuff, but I’m like, “Nah, don’t worry about it.” Music is second nature. So let me do. And we had a great engineer, and in 10 days we mixed that. And when we finished it, Brian heard it, and he was like, “Wait, I thought you was gonna be on the bus rappin’ with the Wu-Tang and all that.” I said, “Nah, bro.” I want to share somethin’ that took me years to build. Nobody invested into it. It’s self-funded, and I just would love for people to get a chance to hear about it. So it’s a new album composed by me, performed by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and it’s called A Ballet Through Mud.

Are there any MCs on the record?

Nope. It’s no MCs. It’s A Ballet Through Mud, because out of the mud grows the Lotus. When I started, it was during Covid and I’m on a plane and I get off and it’s Andre.

Three Stacks!

And we see each other. He’s like, “What you doin’?” I said, “I’ve been writin’ all this orchestra music.” He said, “Word? I’ve been doing all this flute.” You know I mean? And we played each other a piece. And that was like middle of 2020. I know his album came out and me and my wife play it in our house.

So you’re rockin’ with the New Blue Sun?

Yeah, we play it in our house while we cookin’ or…You know, very meditative music right there. But I’m happy to see that he carried it out. Then I’m also happy to see that I carried it out. We didn’t abandon it.

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