RZA has just entered the headphone game.
Next in a line of hip-hop heavyweights that includes Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and Ludacris, the Wu-Tang Clan soundman has recently released his Chambers by RZA headphones. This past Thursday (December 1), the Shaolin master held a release party for the product in Los Angeles. He took a few minutes to speak with XXL shortly before the festivities.
“If you notice, you don’t see my name on a lot of gadgets,” RZA explained, adding that he was hesitant to get involved at first when the idea first came to fruition two years ago. However, when he met with WeSC, he had a change of heart. Soon, he teamed with the Swedish company to create what would become Chambers by RZA.
Bobby Digital lent his creative touch to the style of the headphones. “I think about the kicks we wear, when I was designing the headphones, as far as looks and color,” he said. “I also thought about the kind of cars we like. It gotta sound good, first and foremost, but it gotta look good, too.”
The main focus, though, is the sound. There are two options for listeners: the premium style and the street style. Both focus on a crisp sound and noise cancelling technology. In addition, there is a feature that allows listeners to connect multiple headphones together. “You, your buddy, you’re watching a movie on your iPad together; or somebody got the song that they downloaded and you don’t got it, they can enjoy it with you,” RZA explained of the daisy chain RZA Connect feature.
The legendary beatsmith acknowledged the prevalence of Beats By Dre headphones, but doesn’t plan on letting that stop him. “I don’t like to compete with anybody, but if anybody else can do it, it can be me,” he said. “We are the two batteries of the game. The two icons from both sides of the world—not taking nothing from all the great ones, also. He spread the West Coast sound to the world, and I spread the East Coast sound to the world. Therefore, he can have headphones and I can have headphones—that’s how I felt about it.”
The release party in Hollywood last week included a performance by Talib Kweli and appearances from David Banner, Mike Epps, Marilyn Manson, Russel Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Eli Roth, Victor Rasuk, Fergie and Josh Duhamel.
Chambers by RZA are available now on the WeSC website and at Guitar Centre locations. They will be made available for wide release later this month. The street headphones retail for $170, while the premium pair go for $270. —Adam Fleischer