From NPR

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of a remarkable year in music. Over the 12 months of 1993, Queen Latifah, De La Soul, Salt-N-Pepa, Snoop Dogg, A Tribe Called Quest and more than a dozen other rappers released albums that helped to change the sound of America. One of those albums wasn’t just a collection of songs — it was a business concept, too. The Wu-Tang Clan’s 1993 debut was the opening shot of an audacious plan to open the music industry to hip-hop made way outside the mainstream.”

I read an article about how Marvel / Disney devised a strategic plan to roll out the various marvel characters via movies and series over the next 20 plus years.  It reminded me of a similar plan that I had  heard more than 20 years ago by a black entrepreneur from the streets of Staten Island.

Robert Fitzgerald Diggs (a.k.a. The RZA) is the grand master entrepreneur who started the Wu-Tang Clan back in the early 90’s.  With their first album Enter The Wu-Tang Clan: 36 Chambers, they forever changed the game and cemented themselves into music and hip-hop history. Their grimy samples from kung-fu movies’ theatrical scores, cinematic scenes and dialogue are heavily intertwined within the Wu-Tang’s gritty sound.

It was something different, edgy, creative and genius about this new type of music production.  Even though some members of the Clan were better lyrically than others, the music production is what made it unique and a clear standout.  When you heard a RZA beat, it was undeniable of who produced the track.

Ticket Stub

Even though I had heard and seen plenty of Wu interviews, one morning on my way to work it was absolutely a joy to hear RZA speak about his vision and legacy as it pertains to the Wu-Tang Clan. I’m one who believes their music is timeless and as a fan, I still listen to them weekly. One of my best memories is sitting at the top of an entertainment area (purposely in the nose bleed section); smoking a blunt and watching the Wu perform during their “Wu-Tang Forever” tour.  Yes I still have the ticket stub from 1997, which is pictured above.

Thanks to the Wu-Tang Clan and the RZA who I know will continue to produce my kind of music.  Check out the 7 minute interview with the RZA below that was featured on NPR.