GZA
Legendary Style

gza-1.jpgHow can hip-hop be dead if Wu-Tang is forever? 14 years after releasing their groundbreaking debut, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the crew from Shaolin is reuniting for their fifth album, 8 Diagrams. The LP will be released this summer due in large part to the work of The RZA and SRC Records founder, Steve Rifkind. But perhaps the busiest clan member is the one often perceived as the most reserved, GZA. The Wu’s elder spokesman is currently working with RZA to plan and organize the group’s first album since 2001’s Iron Flag. The Genius is also busy preparing two new solo records: a collaborative album on Babygrande Records with his son, Young Justice Kareem, and another LP with The RZA. The clan’s cerebral lyricist is also staring on Raekwon’s Cuban Linx II, releasing a DVD documentary, Wu-Tang Revealed, and penning his own graphic novel this year. It’s safe to say, GZA has a lot on his plate for 2007. XXLMag.com talks with the Staten Island native about the Wu’s reunion, his upcoming solo albums and outside projects.

What’s the status of your next solo album on Babygrande Records?
It got pushed back a couple of times because I was on the road and working on other things. My son produced a few tracks [on it], so I want it to be him and me for this Babygrande project. I’d like to get a couple songs in with RZA, as well. I don’t [have a title for the album yet], but I want to deliver…not a mixtape, but something a little bit above that. But for the next official GZA album, I expect it to be mostly [done] by RZA and myself.

Before Raekwon signed with Aftermath, you and Inspectah Deck were supposed to be featured throughout Cuban Linx II. Has your role changed since then?
It all depends on what songs he chooses to use. I haven’t heard his project in a while. We were in L.A. two years ago recording and we knocked out quite a few songs together. I think he might use some of those, but then again, he might not. But if he ever needs me, I’m here. I think the longer he takes to put it out, the more it will probably change.

You’ve stated your intention to write screenplays and direct films. How’s that coming along?
I write every now and then. I’m kind of laid back with it. I have a whole bunch in my head, as far as ideas I’d like to use for screenplays. I’ve been working on one for the longest, then I put it down for a couple months and started working on something else. I haven’t officially finished my first one yet, but I will this year. I’m also working on a graphic novel right now.

How did director Jim Jarmusch approach you for your scene in Coffee and Cigarettes?
I don’t remember exactly, but I’ve known Jim for years. I met him on the set of Ghost Dog with Dreddy Kruger. I knew he was cool with RZA and he’s always been a Wu-Tang and GZA fan. But I was cool doing [the film]; especially [since I got to] work with Bill Murray.

What was it like working with Bill on the set?
It was fun because I’m not an actor and you’re walking on the set with a heavyweight. He made us feel comfortable, [though]. We were sitting and drinking Saki. We improvised some of it. He’s just a natural. I wouldn’t mind working with him again. I would probably step it up a level or two.

Tell us about your new DVD Wu-Tang Revealed.
I’m still working on it, so I don’t have a set date. It was just me with a camera, shooting some things when we were out in L.A. Most of it started from the shows. We were out on the road and I was recoding stuff in Europe. I’ve always been playing with the camera. I’ve directed all my videos from day one. It all started with a Hi-8 camera back when I was on Geffen Records. But [for Wu-Tang Revealed], I started recording things when we were working on The W. We’ve had so much fun through the years, but there’s still some more things I need to shoot. I’m trying to figure out a storyline because I want it to be different. A majority of the DVD’s I look at, you see artists in the camera saying, “This is our studio, this is our house, we’re backstage.” But I feel as if no one should really be talking into the camera unless you’re a fan. I want to have a different approach. With the stuff I have, if you see anyone talking into the camera, they’re talking to me. It’s quite different.

How involved have you been with RZA and the other members for 8 Diagrams?
I speak to RZA all the time. I don’t speak to every clan member as much and that’s not by choice. Some people you don’t see for a while and some you do. The love is still there, though. Some just reach out more than others. I speak to Rae every now and then. I haven’t talked to Deck in a minute. I haven’t seen Meth since we were on the road. I haven’t spoken to Ghostface since we were on the road, but when we were, I was on the bus talking to him for eight hours. [We were] just kickin’ it until four in the morning, just building. Usually, I speak to RZA like every two or three days and we talk about the project [8 Diagrams], what’s going on and what approach we should take.

Some Wu fans have complained The W and Iron Flag didn’t feel cohesive. With 8 Diagrams, is everyone going to come together and do it all at once, or will certain members come in and do a few tracks here and there?
I definitely think it’s [going to revolve] around everyone’s schedule. But when we start on that first day, I think everyone will probably be there. I think we should all be together a majority of the time and vibe with each other. I’m not too good with writing in the room with eight other people, [though]. I usually write alone, so I would have to be in the next room or take the beats home. I like to come prepared most of the time. I’m usually not in the studio writing because that could take a long time for me. That’s how I did Liquid Swords. I was writing to the “Cold World” [beat] and that night I crashed out. RZA left the next morning to go take care of business in the city and he came back and the beat was still running. I was still working on a verse. I can write a rhyme in 20 minutes, but I’m not a quick writer. I put a lot of time and effort into it and I think it shows.

  • THE G.O.D

    Peace
    About time the w strikes back.
    Peace to man, woman and child

  • Were Read 2 Def

    Wu-Tang is 4 the babies.

  • Holla

    GZA is one of the greatest.

  • Iceberg Slimm

    ^^^Muthafuckas like you say shit 4 attention. Wu-Tang is the best rap group ever. That new shit will shit on 2007

  • meenstreek

    “We form like voltron and GZA happens to be the head” RZA

  • http://wuforever.com windwalker

    Halleluyah!!!! this is def the year of GZA and the WU!

    wuforever.com!

  • Brian McG

    If GZA could get back to Liquid Swords level then he’d be relevant again.

  • agee

    Shadowboxin, Coldworld, and Duel of the Iron Mic. I love the 90s. Ahh those where the days. Nothing wrong with two stepping, I am slimply tired of walking it out. We need more substance in our music.

  • mrmetwo

    Great interview

  • Sincere (Sin)

    “I can write a rhyme in 20 minutes, but I’m not a quick writer. I put a lot of time and effort into it and I think it shows”. GZA

    I think Hip Hop needs to understand quality over quanity.. take your time a make great music.. And write.. Everybody is not Jay Z or Pac and write music in there head.So take your time and write from the heart..

  • http://xxl.com YounGuttaAkaBlaqueCzar(longliveDaking)MW

    GZA Speaks the defenition of truth.

  • EReal

    You gotta diversify yo bonds nigga!

    His son can spit too, better than half the MCs in the game right now.

    Im fuckin waitin on this new Wu man. Sounds like the real MCs are gettin tired of this bullshit and wanna bring some real hiphop to the table.(No Lil Layme)

    1 hunned.

  • vincent

    substance is all we need. most of today is pop, all about how much they make. go play with shakira and co, they sell loads of crap. Anyway, wu tang s forever. When we ll be sixty well still listen to them. None of the rest

  • Holla

    Word – I’m tried of hearing rappers say they don’t write shit down – that’s why y’all are wack. Take the time to write a song. not everybody is Jay or Biggie. Just cause u take a day or two to write a verse doesnt mean your wack. Look at gza, he’s one of the best lyricists of all time.

  • Slizz

    GZA’s still the man the Grandmasters Album was raaaw.Of Course not on the Liquid Swords Level but he’s not really fallen off lyrically. And I hope 8 Diagrams gonna be fire…

  • http://- damage

    if Gza is gonna make anotha album its only fair to have U-God have a verse or 2 ..U-G only appeared on d 1st n dats on a small hook

  • thoreauly77

    yeha

  • thoreauly77

    its about thetime

  • http://www.gervislewisaol.com BlkGenius

    t

  • J.R.O.

    I expected the first thing to come out of his mouth was about his album being pushed back…

    Oh well, GZA’s better than most. Can’t wait for that new Wu album.

  • http://adsd.com Hip-Hop Lives (KRS-ONE is back)

    GZA is one of the best MC’s of All the time

  • Ryan

    That scene from coffee and cigarettes is classic

  • CarltonBank$

    Gza is one of the most harsh niggas in hip hop

  • Mike

    GZA is from Brooklyn. Get it right.

  • young focu$

    i agree

    Word – I’m tried of hearing rappers say they don’t write shit down – that’s why y’all are wack. Take the time to write a song. not everybody is Jay or Biggie. Just cause u take a day or two to write a verse doesnt mean your wack. Look at gza, he’s one of the best lyricists of all time.

  • slobbythegreat

    fuck yeah cant wait for 8 diagrams…hope all the wu in the same joint together vibin off each other getting a cohesiveness that they need…dont worry, when the album drops wu tang will be YOUR favourite rapper’s favourite rappers…everybody love wutang…even pac loved wu tang…now let me go speak my mind on this cam snitching bullshit…WU TANG WU TANG WU TANG!

  • Zhen_One

    Can’t wait for new Wu album. GZA is a tru Emcee, and that’s that.

  • http://nahright.com iLL Change

    GZA IS THE GENIUS!

    These fools like Lil’ Wayne calling themselves the “Greatest Rapper Alive” are nothing but jokes compared to GZA.

  • GATE13

    GZA the Genius fo real.

    Wu tang forever and ever.

    Tha early 90′s was tha best time for the hip hop culture. I hope krs and the wu bring some of it back.

    Cash rules everythin around me, C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dolla dolla bill yaaaaaall

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  • 1mic

    liquid swordz wuz a fkin clasic, aswell as THE W so 8 Diagrams will proly not dissapoint any fans of the real shit

  • http://www.soundclick.com/kevineze kevineze

    yo sincere pac didnt write shit in his head he was always writin shit down. also i dun c the big deal bout writin in yo head wats so special bout it its all bout the finished product

  • Alessandro

    GZA is not one of the greatest…

    GZA IS THE GREATEST!!!

  • >>–Allegany-Arrows–>>

    damn son, bout time the real MCs step outta da woodwork, lol this album gon be tough though for real.

    and im highley doubting ANYBODY here would know the answer to this but, does anybody here know who does that song, “my round dance queen”?

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  • triplesixninja

    maximiilion gary grice genius gza
    wu tang=best group of all time kniccas

  • C-BASS

    thats whats up !!! best rappers ever..big up wutang 1

  • i’ll shit bag u

    thats whats up

  • Sam Muller aka Sooperb

    This cat writes just like me. It might take me a few days to perfect my 16 but that shit is air tight when finished fa-real. Alot of cats don’t put that type of effort into HIP HOP anymore, they just rap. This negro has been runnin the ink outta his pens with a sick verse EVERYTIME he blessed a track. Wu-Tang 4eva nukkas and by the way y’all stop fallin for the bullshit ass phloes y’all hear on the radio because you don’t listen to the words. If HIP HOP was back to normal minus the POP influence the words would be heard more because you dancing to the beat wouldn’t distract you anymore.

    Hip Hop isn’t dead, it’s just waiting for me!!

  • Hip Hop since 79′

    Much needed light…

  • http://www.myspace.com/rawdialect RBI of the RawDialect crew

    GZA will always be relevant..muthafu**as….

  • BIG GERN FROM BROWNSVILLE

    It’s time for the Wu to bring back another B.I.B.L.E. for these new cats before it’d too late. Hip Hop ain’t dead. Some brothas don’t do they Math…..

  • BORN IN THE NORTH, RAISED IN THE SOUTH

    GZA > 85% of rappers out today

  • kikas Angola/Namibia

    Yes muthafuckers wu tang is forever.Here it comes the greatest rap crew of all times come and sting these muthafuckers asses.Im anxious to listen to rap iv been thirsty of real rap.Long time im not exposed to real hip-hop

  • 11kap

    Everything GZA drops’ HOT. The definition of a true Hip Hop elder. Respect everytime to the Genius.

  • Baz

    Sounds like everyone in the U.S. hates the way their hip hop is. Why is it still turning to shit?

  • Scott D

    The WU is coming back again and again to correct the sick state of hip hop!

  • mrLex

    The Gza/Genius. Can’t wait for the DVD, the new albums and the novel.

  • B

    props to GZA

  • DatNigga88

    yo Gza is one of the illest niggas out!!!!

  • mcfly

    its about damn time for the clan to set the industry on fire. I’m sick and tired of all them rappers talkin about the same thing [nursery rhymes about broads and money] over and over with no substance and 1st grader vocabulary. wu tang clan aint nothin to fukc with!

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