The transition from hip-hop maestro to rap artist is a tough one, and not everyone can master it. But when it comes to getting down on the mic, some beatsmiths just have the gift of gab. With Kanye West making the successful leap from soulful in-house producer to one of the game’s most respected (and controversial) voices on the mic, XXL felt it only right to count down the best 10 producers turned rappers of all time in the October 2010 issue, which is on stands now.
Coming in at No. 4 is RZA, who always maintains creativity switching his style and persona. He started as the fun-loving Prince Rakeem, then began kicking five precent knowledge as RZA and horrorcore lyrics as RZArector. As Bobby Steels, he exercises his Mafioso fantasies and makes playboy moves as Bobby Digital. Be sure to pick up the October issue to get the full write up on The Abbot and how he earned his spot. But for now, here’s the 5 faces of RZA.
As Prince Rakim:
“And my ladies love me deeply/Because I’m handsome and freaky.”—Prince Rakeem’s “Ooh We Love You Rakeem”
“New world order, slave trade, minimum wage, Medicaid/Can a devil fool a Muslim nowadays?”—Wu Tang Clan’s “A Better Tomorrow”
“I’m the RZArector, be my sacrifice/Commit suicide, and I’ll bring ya back to life.”—Gravediggaz’s “1-800 Suicide”
As Bobby Steels:
“Double-breasted, bullet-proof-vested, well-protected/The heart, the rib cage, the chest and solar plexus.”—Raekwon’s “Wu-Gambinos”
As Bobby Digital:
“My name is Bobby, and I don’t dance that much/I play the wall, but, girl, you got that magic touch.”—Bobby Digital’s “La Rhumba”