If you watched the recent Wu-Tang Clan documentary Of Mics and Men or listened to the powerful 2017 podcast Mogul about the late Chris Lighty, you no doubt recall Sophia Chang. Chang, a memorable interview subject in both projects, calls herself "the first Asian woman in hip-hop," and she has the resumé to back up the title.
She has worked at record labels, including stints as General Manager of both RZA's Razor Sharp Records and Joey Badass' Pro Era Records. But Chang is best known for her time as a manager, with an all-star roster of clients: Wu-Tang members RZA, GZA, and Ol' Dirty Bastard; neo-soul heroes D'Angelo and Raphael Saadiq; Q-Tip; and more. ("I'm really hardwired to manage people," she explained to Complex.)
Now, after a career of helping great artists tell their stories, Chang is getting ready to tell her own. Her audio memoir The Baddest Bitch in the Room (put out by Audible and Reese Witherspoon's company Hello Sunshine) comes out on Sept. 26, and is available for pre-order starting today (July 25).
Chang will be narrating the memoir herself, which she told Complex was absolutely crucial. To make the point, she quoted an old friend.
"I voiced the book myself because I think it's really important that people are exposed to my voice both figuratively as well as literally. RZA says, 'My tongue is my sword.' That's very much how I look at myself. I'm a petite Asian woman who did not come into this industry having wealth, power, fame. So what I had to do was work really, really hard, and part of crafting my persona and my identity was sharpening my blade. In kung fu, we say, 'Sharpen your blade every day.' So, not only do I train in kung fu every day, but I also hone the way that I speak, and my voice is my most powerful weapon and tool for myself and to speak on behalf of others."
Chang, who in recent years has started a new career in public speaking, says that the memoir provides her with an additional way to get her message out, and to honor the people who have been alongside her for her journey.
"I'm really grateful that Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine and Audible gave me this opportunity and believed that my story was also worthy of telling," she elaborates. "And now that I have the opportunity to tell my story, I'm really grateful that I can share a lot of how other people have been so influential and loving and gracious and generous. That's a range of people from somebody like a Joey Ramone [who Chang met on her very first trip to New York City] that tipped it off, to my mentor Michael Ostin, to Wu-Tang, to the friends that sit around my dinner table, to the extraordinary women in my life. I always talk about the motherfucking village that raised me, and that village comprises all of those people. I get to honor those relationships, and I'm grateful for that."
Baddest Bitch in the Room can be pre-ordered here. Chang is coy about details, but says her audio memoir "will be like no other. This audiobook will be a game changer." You can hear an excerpt, in which she talks about her relationship with Wu-Tang, below.