The film director/actor/producer/fvcking legend, who is also promoting his new film, Brick Mansions (due out tomorrow, 4/25) with Paul Walker (R.I.P.) answered a few fan questions. Check out some of the highlights below:
How did the transition from Wu-Tang to movies and film production affect your films? Was the score always in the front of your mind because of your production skills?
+ Scoring was my transition. It wasn’t always on my mind. Jim Jarmusch came to me and thought I would be a good composer. And also gave me a cameo in Ghost Dog. But I didn’t forecast on being an actor. It took an executive to see that quality in me. And push me to pursue it. Now, when I do films, I just do the job that they hired me for!
Have you ever considered a collaboration with a philharmonic or orchestra for an opera type of production? If so when, and what theme?
+ Not actually. Working as a composer I have been in front of orchestras as large as 80 pieces, and I’ve actually written out 36 Chambers in orchestra form. Now all I gotta do is one day get it played!
Did you tailor a beat for every member in the clan; how did you choose who got their solo songs on the album? Who are your other favorite rapper/producers? Lastly are there any beats that once you had finished then played back you realized that it was going to be a classic?
+ Yes, I used to tailor the beats to their rhyme styles. I knew my Wu brothers for so long, and made so many tapes with them, that I grew an ear to what would fit the MC.
Choosing solo songs for each artist on a Wu-Tang album is something that kind of materializes during the process.
Pete Rock, Dr. Dre, Kanye West.
Yes, I have one right now that I just can’t wait til the Wu MCs get on, because I just know that this is one of those magical ones.
How did your collaboration with James Blake come about?
+ Well, thanks for enjoying the song. Our managers are friends. And they suggested that we get together and make a song. I heard some of his music, and enjoyed it, and what really pushed me that GZA’s son Kareem was a fan of James’, and I kind of did it to impress him.
Could you elaborate on your infamous flood story? The legend says that you once had a flood into your basement that caused you to lose a few hundred beats you had made that were meant to be put onto the first round of Wu-Tang solo albums. Did this actually happen? Did you recreate any of the beats that you lost? If so, which ones?
+ Yeah, I lost a lot of beats. In those days, I would keep my beats in a floppy disk holder, which held 80 disks per case. And I had the cases sectioned out with names of each Wu member, and beats that fit their styles. Those disks have not been recovered yet. I have some of them, but they won’t play.
What was it like working on the score for Ghost Dog? Did you know it would become a cult classic while composing it?
+ No, I wasn’t aware of how it would be received. But at the time, I was really spending a lot of time making new forms of beats. And I knew they belonged somewhere, and I’m glad they ended up on Ghost Dog.
I’ve always wondered is Tarantino an honorary member of Wu tang or what? Also who are some of your biggest hip hop producers that influenced you? Do you crate dig a lot of stuff to sample?
+ Tarantino can be considered an honorary Wu member. LOL. Marley Marl was a big influence, and in the 90s while I was making hiphop, I was always impressed with the production of Dr. Dre. Yes, I still dig.
What was it like working with the Black Keys? Did you guys synch up pretty quickly?
+ Yeah, Dan and Pat are two cool guys. We actually hung out a few times, first before we made music together, and when making the song The Baddest Man Alive, we spent 2 weeks in the studio together, and recorded a lot of demos.
Can you share any memories of your tour with Rage Against the Machine?
+ That was one of the highlights of my career. At the time, Wu-Tang had the #1 album in the country, and we began playing some of the biggest venues that we had to that date. One of my best memories is when Zack broke his leg on tour, and needed a little energy during the New Jersey show, and I came out and rocked the stage with him. The rest of the Wu went home. :(
Is there anyone that you want to collaborate with? Either music or acting?
+ On the acting level there are so many people I would like to work with. Because I have such an acting bug in me right now. Musically, I never got a chance to work with Stevie Wonder. Or Lauryn Hill.
Whats your all time favorite Martial Arts flick?
+ I’ll tell you the 3 that inspired me the most. Shaolin versus Wu-Tang. 8 Diagram Pole Fighter. And the Five Deadly Venoms.
If you could suggest, let’s say one to three books, that you think everybody NEEDS to read, what would they be?
+ I think we should all read the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita.
How did you come up with the name RZA?
+ In my neighborhood, my homies would call me the RZA RZA Ra. Because they said I was razor-sharp. Ra was my chosen name, short for Rakeem. When I decided to improve myself, I changed my name to Rakeem Zig-Zag-Zig-Allah. And RZA is like an acronym for that.
What was it like working with Kanye West; specifically on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy?
+ Working with Kanye was super-cool. We had a lot of fun, got a chance to know each other, two generations of hiphop coming together as one.
Liquid Swords II when?
+ I think GZA may be in the process of writing that now.