For over two decades GZA has been expanding the vocabulary of hip-hop, steady as a Star Wars opening crawl. As a founding member of the seminal Wu-Tang Clan, The Genius has dropped knowledge from cosmic quarks to Central Park. So sharpen your pencils and straighten your desk as the grand professor of hip-hop takes us to school on quoting soul lyrics like scripture, Black Lives Matter, the Wu-Tang diet and the secret ingredient that is daytime justice television.
HUSTLER: Wu-Tang Clan is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) this year. How has it been, making that journey together?
GZA: The majority of us, we go way back. Most of us know each other from childhood. Some of us are family, like cousins, and others are linked in different ways. So we kinda grew up together. As far as making music, the dynamics have changed in many different ways. This was a hobby for us, and we were able to make a career out of it—I mean, doing something that you love to do, that you would do for free anyway. We had so much passion. And we were able to able to put out music and reach millions of people all around the world. It changed a lot of lives, and that’s a great thing to be part of.
You, RZA and Ol’ Dirty Bastard came up with a group called All in Together. Did you guys ever put out any recordings?
Just demos. That was before we were doing it professionally, so we were making a lot of demo tapes, you know?
Have you and RZA ever considered putting out some kind of retrospective disc for this pre-Wu-Tang group?