Wu-Tang Clan's RZA sat down with Time Out and had a lot to say about Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize win, past MCs who would’ve deserved one, his history of scoring movies, and more. We recently covered the bizarre ups and downs of Wu-Tang’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, which seems to have fallen into the hands of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department.
According to Time Out, RZA will be in Miami for the III Points 4/20 concert tomorrow, where he’ll live-score the kung fu classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin—which served as part of the blueprint of that classic Wu sound first explored on the Clan’s debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Besides giving insight regarding film scores and his history in Hollywood, RZA spoke about Kendrick’s recent achievement and how mainstream America’s view of hip-hop has changed significantly.
“First of all, I’m so proud of Kendrick and I think it’s great,” he said. “I’m glad that they finally turned their eyes over to us. But I always thought the Pulitzer was dealing more with writing [...] And when I go back and see some of the lyrics that GZA wrote on Liquid Swords and Beneath the Surface, some of the writing he did was well-deserving. Take a song like ‘Fame,’ where every verse and every line is somebody’s name. Everything he did to me was at a genius level of writing. So I think in hindsight a lot of early hip-hop—Slick Rick, Rakim—a lot of those albums may have been overlooked because hip-hop wasn’t looked upon.” RZA’s point about the Pulitzer Prize having neglected hip-hop in the past is well made, but he’s happy times have changed, calling Kendrick “one of the best and most poignant lyricists out there.”
Now, as for Method Man and Ghostface Killah’s recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, during which the two did a sketch where they demand Jeff Sessions release the notorious Once Upon a Time in Shaolin project, RZA had perhaps the most poignant words of all. “If it’s in the hands of the Department of Justice, they need to do it justice,” he said. “But…I’ll just say, Mr. Sessions, Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to fuck with. And I’ll leave it like that.” So will we. Release the album, Mr. Sessions.