GZA – Real Talk
Article by: Jon Michael
With the release of the new Wu-Tang album (8 Diagrams) only days away, stories about the groupâ€™s infighting has been grabbing headlines the past few weeks.
Last month, Ghostface accused the Wu-Tang hierarchy of failing to fully compensate him and trying to halt the release of his latest solo album, Big Doe Rehab.
Barely two weeks later, Raekwon would also express his frustration saying that the group was not happy with RZAâ€™s direction for the new album. He also claimed that money was being withheld from him and said that the group plan to release another album without RZA.
In an interview with British hip hop radio host Tim Westwood last week , RZA stressed that he has never taken any money from anybody in the group and claimed that â€œEverything [was] back [to] peace already.â€
But it seems everything is still not peace. Last night (November 29) , Rhaspody.com posted an interview it conducted with Ghostface in which the rapper revealed his displeasure with 8 Diagrams.
â€œThat s**t is wack,â€ Ghost said. â€œI heard RZA was changing some of the beats around the last minute. I didnâ€™t hear that. I donâ€™t know what yâ€™all listening to out there. I never heard it. Iâ€™m with Raekwon.â€
Ghost also revealed that he had taken his monetary dispute with RZA and the Wu-Tang hierarchy to court.
â€œI just won my court case from them niggas,â€ stresse d Ghost. â€œThe suit been in there for three years. So put that out there. They just lost their fucking case. So who donâ€™t owe who money? Letâ€™s get it straight, RZA. Thatâ€™s all Iâ€™m sayinâ€™, baby. It was a loss, they lost. L-O-S-T. Thatâ€™s really it.
â€œ[RZA] real sneaky. I love him, though. Ainâ€™t no bad blood,â€ he added â€œ Ainâ€™t nobody doing no bad to him. Itâ€™s just that you canâ€™t get money with a nigga.â€
Prior to Ghostâ€™s interview with Rhapsody hitting the net, Sixshot’s Jon Michael got a chance to talk to GZA about Raekwonâ€™s comments, 8 Diagrams, and the state of hip hop.
Jon Michael: The Wu-Tang album drops in a couple of days, you excited about that?
GZA: Ummm, Iâ€™m aight, Iâ€™m kinda excited. I never really got all hyped about album releases. It feels good though. Iâ€™m happy to get back on the road.
Are you happy with how the album turned out?
I like it, yea, I like it. Itâ€™s growing on me more and more. The more I hear it, the more I like it.
When Raekwon spoke out and said he wasnâ€™t really feeling the album, was he speaking on behalf of everyone in Wu-Tang?
Nah, he was speaking for himself. I mean, that was Rae speaking. There’s always room for improvement. Personally, I feel I could have done better on the album but you have to consider the time it took to put it together.
Raekwon also mentioned that he may have had some issues with money. Did you ever experience that?
Iâ€™m not even gonna get into all that. Raekwon was speaking for himself. Thatâ€™s my brother just like RZA is my brother and I won’t go against that. Raekwon does represent us as a group also. Maybe he had more concerns among other thing that the other members or his beef went to a different extent.
Iâ€™m not gonna go against that. I donâ€™t air out problems, when it comes to my family. If I have money problems I deal with it. There are always problems with a group or family but thatâ€™s with everybody.
Your debut album Liquid Swords solidified you was one of the Wuâ€™s best lyricists. How did you feel when you were putting that together?
I felt good and that was because I was comingâ€™ off a disappointing moment. Previously things werenâ€™t so good. I was on Cold Chillinâ€™ and the record got no promotion so I got another deal and it was a good time because Wu-Tang was blowing up. It felt good. Everyone was coming through the studio, the whole vibe was great. It was a good feeling.
Do you consider the era you come out of as the Golden Era?
I wouldnâ€™t really call it the golden era; I mean we were around in the golden era. I mean it is. We as artists and lyricists consider the golden era to be like 85,86,87,88. Thatâ€™s the golden era. You know maybe Biggie, Jay-Z, and Wu. That was another era, the platinum era (laughs).
Wu, Nas, Jay Big, all dropped around the same time. You see any similarities between you guys?
I would say our sounds were different which was a good thing. Thatâ€™s the golden era. I think thatâ€™s what great about the golden era was that there was so much material and it was all different. Nas was different from Mobb Deep, Mobb Deep was different from Wu, and Wu was different from Jay. Everyting was different, not like today were a lot sounds so much the same. We didnâ€™t have musical relationships but maybe in other ways like the way we laid it down. The way we entered the business and capitalized off certain thing but musically, so different.
How do you feel about hip-hop today?
I donâ€™t really listen to a lot of stuff. I might hear it if I have the television on or if I’m listening to the radio and something comes on in the car or what other people are playing in the streets, thatâ€™s how I hear it.
And do you like any of it?
The majority of it? No. Every once in a while ill hear something thatâ€™s catchy.
Are there any new MCâ€™s that you check for?
Nah, nah, nothing really grabs my attention but hip-hop is like that. Itâ€™s changing, itâ€™s forever changing. Its music that started in the streets, in the basements, something that was a hobby and we’re the biggest selling music to this day. Itâ€™s the only music thatâ€™s recorded in almost every languge. There’s no other music like that.
Do you feel politics play a big part in todayâ€™s music industry, even moreso than when you first came into the game?
Of course politics always have a hand in something. Theyâ€™ve been involved from the earliest days. They had a spot on 20/20 about hip-hop in 1980 or 1981. Barbara Walters was like, how long will it survive? That was politics they were downplaying it in a sense but politics go way back even to the days of like Ice-T with “Cop Killer”.. Politics played a part then. Politics played a part with Snoop and C.Dolores Tucker. Itâ€™s playing a part now with the “N” word. The more money that’s being made the more politics is gonna be a part of it
How do you feel about Nasâ€™ use of the â€˜Nâ€™ Word for his upcoming album?
He’s entitled to it. Nas is a poet man, he’s a great lyricist, he’s a poet, and he makes great music. I will always take time to listen to what he has to say and make sure you quote me on that. He has done so much for hip-hop just with the songs heâ€™s recorded. He’s one of the greatest. Heâ€™s always doing more good than any bad. He could call it what he wants to because he has a reason just like when he said ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’. In a sense it was dead and Iâ€™m sure he has his own definition. He may have felt that way and if he calls his album that then he has a right to do that. Why make a big deal now?
The thing with politics is they see rappers and they think they get too much money or itâ€™s a lot of ignorance being spread. Richard Pryor had an album called That Nigga’s Crazy” in the 70â€™s, a comedian album, it wasnâ€™t a big deal then, so why now? Why wait till rappers start wanting to use a word to jump down on it, big deal.
Iâ€™m not saying it should be a word that should be out of the youthâ€™s mouths every 5 words or every sentence. Whats funny is that those same politicians use the word. Iâ€™m pretty sure Al Sharpton uses that word on a regular basis. Iâ€™m pretty sure he does. I use other words; I donâ€™t use too many negative words or profanity. I donâ€™t make a point of it, its just not in my writing and hasnâ€™t really been since Liquid Swords. I just choose to use other words; there are over 100,000 words in the dictionary.
It’s funny though because to me that word can be used like if I see a cat in an alley, I’ll be like, ‘Where that nigga go?’, ‘That nigga went under the car!’. I mean thatâ€™s how it is. I also think we should use other words because there are people that are offended by it. That was a name given by slave masters but now that we chose to accept it, they wanna stop us from using it, itâ€™s a bunch of bullshit. What ever happened to freedom of speech?
Do you feel hip-hop is dead?
Sometimes I do and sometimes I donâ€™t. Sometimes I feel itâ€™s at a point where it needs help. Itâ€™s not dead, that means no longer here or no longer around. I donâ€™t wanna contradict his statement because I see where heâ€™s coming from. How could hip-hop be dead if Wu -Tang is forever? Nas made some good points though. A lot of MCâ€™s are brilliant in their own way. They’re smart and clever but their subject matter isnâ€™t there.
Iâ€™m gonna say 95 out of 100 rappers donâ€™t speak in their natural voice. Its like I gotta do this just because. Theyâ€™re not playing this at the club or theyâ€™re not playing this on the radio so we need to make a club banger or we need a street song. Music has to be made from what we see.
Music should be like drawing where you just do what you see. You should be inspired by something. You might be inspired by a great story. American Gansgter might inspire you but youâ€™re whole life story doesnâ€™t have to match that. Its all the same, ‘I got a gloc, Iâ€™m in the spot’. Itâ€™s all said in the same way. You can reword it.
Do you prefer independent labels or majors?
Ups and down pros and cons. It all depends how you’re looking at it. I could be on a major and sell 500 thousand and make a lil’ money or I could be indie and sell 100 thousand and make a lot of money. It depends on your situation, what your deal is worth, if I sell 200 and Iâ€™m getting 8 a record Iâ€™m caking up. It’s all how you’re deal is structured. On a major itâ€™s not always like that. Iâ€™ve put out albums that didnâ€™t see the light of day but it depends. Sometimes you should be on a major. You might get good exposure.
Indie is the thing today, which is good because it gives you the power to get an album done and put it out. It cuts out red tape, cuts out the middleman. At an indie it’s like, here’s the money what do you wanna do? You donâ€™t have to go through a lot of people.
Its cool lately in the last 6,7,8 years its been a lot of cool artists that have been doing it independent and having great success. Itâ€™s a funny business. Like I could sell a million on a major then sell 400 and get dropped, then ill sell 200 independent and the majors will come back with a lot of money.
Youâ€™re on an independent label right?
Yeah, I’m doing a project with Babygrande. I saw an ad out there where itâ€™s promoted as a GZA album. I’ll probably be on most of the tracks but its supposed to be a compilation album, thereâ€™s various artists on the album. Thatâ€™s almost finished and then Iâ€™ll start working on another GZA album with RZA.
When is that going to be dropping?
Sometime next year we donâ€™t even know yet but we have options.
What else can we expect to see from you?
Iâ€™m working on a few things. I have a graphic novel, I been working hard over the summer with. It should be coming out soon. I have some ideas for a second novel; Iâ€™m building the foundation. Iâ€™m into scripts and novels. I like film, I want to knock out a couple of films and let RZA score it and then throw out the soundtrack too. It doesnâ€™t stop you could look forward to hearing some great projects coming from myself in the near future.
Anything youâ€™d like to say to the fans?
8 Diagrams, December 11th , if you donâ€™t have it by the time youâ€™re reading this.
Source: Six Shot
dope. didn’t know you were dutch. keep it up
This should be the Wu’s official site. You guys are killing it. Much props to y’all.
haha thanks, thats appreciated
“This should be the Wuâ€™s official site. You guys are killing it. Much props to yâ€™all.”