Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, masked supervillain DOOM, and “The Puerto Rican Rhyme Slayer” Chino XL are teaming up for the Rap City 2012 tour.
In 2010 Rap City brought DJ Premier, The Beatnuts, Masta Ace & Edo G to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and after a year off it’s back with Brisbane and Perth added to the tour schedule. And the impressive lineup is made even more enticing by the fact that Ghostface and DOOM putting the finishing touches on their long awaited, and delayed, collaboration album Swift & Changeable under the moniker DOOMStarks.
Although hip-hop tours have struggled recently with a near comical series of cancellations we’re confident that the this one will come together without a hitch, although the planned Rap City 2010 tour headlined by Blackalicious was cancelled “due to circumstances beyond their control”. However this year’s headliners do have a good track record with Australian tours – Ghostface will be returning to Australia following a successful solo Australian tour in 2009 and a visit with his Wu-Tang brothers last year, while DOOM (Printed in all CAPS, always) made his Australian debut last year with a run of sold out shows.
Ghostface Killah, DOOM, Chino XL tour:
Friday June 1 – HQ, Adelaide
Saturday June 2 – Enmore, Sydney
Sunday June 3 – Metropolis, Perth
Friday June 8 – Arena, Brisbane
Saturday June 9 – Forum, Melbourne
MTV2 has announced that their new Hip-Hop Squares show will feature the likes of Amber Rose, Wu Tang, Fat Joe and more.
The new MTV series reboots the classic 'Hollywood Squares' game show for the YouTube generation. On 'Hip-Hop Squares,' the nine squares of the tick-tack-toe board are filled with a rotating cast of rappers, D.J.’s, comedians and sports and television personalities, and they field questions about music, history, pop culture and the Kardashians.
As on the original series, contestants must agree or disagree with the stars’ answers to score an X or an O, and the stars, who are given the answers beforehand, do their best to entertain or confuse with shtick and attitude.
It's exactly what it sounds like: rappers, comedians, DJs, and assumedly the Twitter-famous answering trivia questions about pop culture.
Among those tapped for the first season, are Community star Donald Glover, neé Childish Gambino, Machine Gun Kelly, Fat Joe, Method Man, DJ Khaled, Amber Rose and Wu Tang alum Ghostface.
Paul Ricci, the senior vice president for programming and production at MTV2, explained how casting for that unpredictability was key.
“There’s so many charismatic personalities” in hip-hop, Mr. Ricci said. Among the first to sign on was Ghostface Killah, the Wu Tang Clan member, rap eminence and conoisseur of 80's TV.
“I knew it was going to be big,” Ghostface said of the show, sitting on a green-room couch after a taping. “MTV do what they do to the third power, you know what I mean? They do it big.”
Hip Hop Squares, the hip-hop Hollywood Squares real thing that is actually happening, has started filming, and so far so good, reports the Times. Once Ghostface Killah was onboard, plenty of other people wanted to be on the show, too. But Ghostface has bigger concerns: The show needs a theme song. "They should have some real nice music" for the theme song, he said. "Like when you hear 'Pyramid'" — he sang the theme song for "$20,000 Pyramid." "You know what I mean? Everybody knows 'The Price is Right.'" He sang that one. "What is this one going to be? Something that’s" vehemently — he used a different word — "unique."
A civilised person is one having knowledge, wisdom, understanding, culture, refinement and science of life; And not a savage in pursuit of happiness. They say the civilised is held responsible for the uncivilised; And have a duty to teach the science of life to the uncivilised...In the ancient history of shaolin temple they kept their healing knowledge to themselves. In turn the outside world later consumed them...Thus if the civilised does not perform his duty the results of the penalty can be severe. We must know when to build and when to destroy...
The recent 2Pac hologram at the Coachella 2012 concert continues to bring in fans and critics sounding off about the idea of the technology, or simply the amazing nature of the performance. Recently, Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon shared his thoughts in a YouTube video clip.
Recently, the Tupac hologram performance was praised by Nas. Now it's getting praise from one of the Wu-Tang Clan's master emcees. A VIBE interviewer told Raekwon about his experience at Coachella seeing the holographic image up close. He tells the Wu-Tang rapper, "it looked like he was just there," drawing a comment of "that's incredible" from Rae. He also added in his interview:
It's beautiful, b. All I can say that it's live. It's wild when you see it. It looked like his spirit. That was brilliant. I tip my hat to Dre because it really shows the sense of love he had for Pac. Just to see someone do it for the first time ever. We only seen sh*t like that on TV.
Of course, the idea of resurrecting other deceased rap stars has come up now after Tupac's hologram performed Sunday night at Coachella. One name previously mentioned was Notorious B.I.G., and now another one brought up was the late Wu-Tang rapper, Ol' Dirty Bastard. Raekwon said he could see that happening but under one condition:
I would definitely have to have an understanding with his moms. I think it all starts with [her] respect level. If [she] want us to do it and they feel like it's cool, that's when we would continue to move on and do that. I wouldn't jump up out of the blue and just say, "yo, I want to reincarnate your son this way." I think it's important that you give mom's respect for her son.
It looks like plenty of rap stars admire what Dr. Dre did here, bringing Tupac Shakur back to the stage. It's also clear that this new technology may just be getting started. For all hip hop fans know, there might be a concert full of holograms performing on stage, with ODB, B.I.G., and the 2Pac hologram headlining a show. Other acts might include Big Pun, Big L, Guru, Heavy D, and the late Jam Master Jay of RUN-DMC.
So what do you think Wudisciples? Do you think having more holograms of deceased musicians will happen in the future, or should this trend not continue? Would you like to see an ODB Hologram?
Ghostface Killah talks about the similarities of skateboarding and Hip Hop culture.
To celebrate the opening of their new skate clothing outlet Brick Harbor, Karmaloop enlisted Ghostface Killah for a live performance. Now, in a recent interview, Ghost Deini the Great speaks on skateboarding's place in Hip Hop culture.
Pretty Toney explained that skate culture is akin to Hip Hop in many ways given the unique set of guiding style and ethics. He went on to liken it to break-dancing, saying that skating itself has in many ways replaced breaking as a for of physical expression within Hip Hop.
"Skateboarding and Hip Hop is one and the same," he explained. "Hip Hop is a way of life. It's our way of life: how we walk, dress, talk, how we do things, b. Y'all say swagger - I don't like to say that word 'cus I've been using that shit a long time ago - but, you know, it's just what it is. When we was break dancing, that was Hip Hop. Skateboarding, that's still Hip Hop. I had a skateboard, too, when I was younger, you know what I mean…all that shit is all together. It's a culture, yo. Whether you skiing or whatever b, it's all together."
It was only a couple of hours ago that the Flaming Lips were confirmed for this year's NXNE, but the organizers of the industry showcase have already announced a number of other acts who will be coming to Toronto this year between June 11 and 17.
In addition to the Flaming Lips, other artists who will headline free shows at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto are Bad Religion, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah, and Matthew Good.
As for other the acts who will be playing in various venues around the city, they include Of Montreal, the Sadies & Andre Williams, Plants and Animals, the Men, Death Grips, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, 2:54, Bleached, Ceremony, Bran Van 3000, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Doldrums, Odonis Odonis, Mac DeMarco, Bass Drum of Death, Grass Widow, No Use for a Name, Hollerado, Porcelain Raft, Violens, Killer Mike, Eight and a Half, Purity Ring, Good Riddance, Action Bronson, the Black Belles, DZ Deathrays, and more. There will be roughly 650 bands in all.
The festival also features a NXNE Film portion. This will include the world premiere of What Did You Expect? The Archers of Loaf Live at Cat's Cradle, a documentary about the band's recent reunion.
Lastly, the event also offers the social media-minded NXNE Interactive portion.
Tickets are on sale now. Full festival wristbands cost $50 plus tax. Get yours over at the NXNE website, where you can see the full list of performers announced so far.
Let's face it. Most MTV Clutch readers probably don't know much about "street life." We get our knowledge from rap lyrics and Netflixing "The Wire." It's nothing to be ashamed about--the streets aren't really for the faint of heart. It's a dangerous world out there, and we have to come fully equipped. Luckily, we have our good friend Cappadonna to help us navigate. The Wu-Tang Clan member has a few valuable tips up his sleeve for decoding the streets and life in general.
In between promoting his latest album The Pilgrimage, performing on The Black Cloud Tour and just being all around awesome, Capp spit some interesting (albeit strange) philosophies to MTV Clutch about the streets. Grab a pen and take notes. Don't be scurred. [FYI, many of these commandments have nothing to do with the streets.]
1. Know Thy Self
"The first commandment for the streets from the angel of rap, the unordinary light, Cappadonna is know thy self," Cappadonna says. "In order to find yourself, you gotta dig within. You'll never be able to find yourself looking for yourself in somebody else or in the world or in a book. In order to find out you, you have to sit down and meditate and acknowledge yourself and study yourself--your origins, your culture, where you come from. Trace your lineage as far back as you could, and that'll give you even more knowledge about not only yourself but where you come from, which is the second commandment..."
2. Know Where You Come From
"Because if you don't know where you come from, then you don't even know where you're going. So there would be no need for a third commandment."
"Not just the knowledge of yourself or where you come from, but knowledge of all things around you. God told Adam, 'This is yours. I give you this world. I have only one thing for you to do and it's not to eat from this tree, which is the tree of evil. But you're allowed to eat from this tree.' So that knowledge will give you the ability to overcome the tree of evil. 'Cause knowledge is the foundation for all things in existence. It's to know, think, listen, and observe...and also to respect. Yeah."
4. Don't Mistake Culture for Religion
"Religion and culture are two different things. Religion is something you rely on; culture is something you live. Once you understand the culture, then you don't have to keep questioning why things are how they are. You know we came up through slavery; let's not be fooled. Let's not fool each other, you know? Know where the pain comes from. Know why there's aggressive rap and aggressiveness in our culture and our lifestyle. Know when you have everything taken from you, why you cherish your Nikes so much."
5. Do Unto Others...
"If you can't take it, don't dish it out. If you want peace and harmony, move with peace and harmony. If you want to be respected, show some respect. You wanna be loved? Show some love. You wanna make that money, spend some money."
6. Love Thy Neighbor
"There's a lot of people trying to pull each other down to get up. It's a lot of people selling their soul and altering their appearance to be accepted in life. There's a lot of people that's stealing and murdering to get something they don't have from somebody that worked hard to get it. That's why we need to learn how to love ourselves. That's why sometimes we have to learn how to be alone. Oh, you in there arguing with this one, and this one, and this one, and y'all trying to figure out what it is to solve y'all little problem of who's gonna get the car today or who's gonna do this or do that. But it's like, you need 'me' time, homie. You need a timeout. That's what you need, because by the time you get back, you've got other things on your mind now. Fresh new things. Don't get caught up in pettiness."
7. Lust "I'm not talking about 'sex' lust; I'm talking about a lust for material wealth and fancy things. Anything that's deterring you from achieving your goal. These are things that are causing you to sell your soul. You ain't just selling it because you want a name, you want the whole package. There has to be a higher level you're trying to achieve. Like, my rap form is ministry, and I'm learning more and more and more to come a little bit cleaner and cleaner and cleaner. I'm still trying to keep it real and aggressive though, because my ministry and the people I minister are not a soft people."
8. Growth and Development "Growing comes from learning from the situations and the obstacles of life that you've been through. The things that don't help anybody grow is stagnation: being stuck in the same situation, same spot, same place, same time, every single same day. A white man once said in the State of Virginia, he said, 'We're gonna cut off every avenue from which light could enter the mind of a slave.' Every avenue? You know? What kind of person could even conjure up a Jim Crow law like that? This is what we're dealing with. You gotta get out. Even the birds have gotta leave their nest. The mother bird pushes the bird out of the nest, knowing he's got the potential to fall down and break his neck, but she's like, 'Baby, you gotta go.' You know? Hoping that the father's even around so he can go and scoop him up."
9. Family Keeps It Together "You can front on everybody else, but you can't front on Mama's love. We can't run from big bruh or big sis; can't front on lil bruh or lil sis for that matter. So Mama's love, and if we can find Papa, then he's down too. Stop hatin' on Papa; he's out there, man. We out there. Some brothers don't wanna come home if they've got nothing to give. But you wouldn't understand that; you gotta talk to another man that spoke to another man about it."
"Check out [the movie] 'Soul Food,' that one time when Birdy tried to talk to her ex-boyfriend to get her new boyfriend a job. Oh my God. Nah, that ain't cool. Vivica A. Fox had to tell her, 'No, baby. Listen. Sit down, mami. You don't do that.' You let a man be a man. Are you crazy? Then they came and broke the door at the store. Smash! And then not only that, then she's laughing? Then I guess getting her new man a job, they didn't show the part, but she had a bracelet. You're like, 'What's that?' She's like, 'Oh, it's a gift. We went to dinner.' Argh!!! That was it. It just kept getting worse and worse. Yeah, so you know. Let us make sure that we are in the respectful order of the family, which is man, woman and child."
10. God "'Cause again, like family, without God sitting on top of all of this, none of it's possible. At all."
Brooklyn's annual Northside Festival was officially announced in a press conference at Borough Hall presided over by Marty Markowitz and Wu-Tang Clan member GZA. Yes, GZA and Marty, passing the mic. Never one to miss an opportunity to make his borough cringe, Marty put his rapping skills on display, dropping the first lyric to GZA's "Liquid Swords": "Through cyclones or typhoons, I represent Brooklyn from midnight to high noon...I don't waste ink, I think, I drop 'fuggedaboutits' faster than you blink." Bear witness:
GZA will be one of the main musical acts during the festival, performing Liquid Swords with Grammy-winning Latin funk group Grupo Fantasma. The festival, which will take place June 14th through the 21st in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, will include music from over 350 bands at over 30 different venues. Other notable artists will be Of Montreal, Ceremony, Tinariwen, Starfucker and Screaming Females.Markowitz went on to "joke," "(In Williamsburg) I've seen people with all different colors of hair... except mine." GZA also clarified an important bit of trivia "You know most people associate Wu-Tang with Staten Island, or Shaolin, but actually I'm a native of Brooklyn."
The festival will also showcase the finest in the Brooklyn art scene, and feature over 45 film screenings including the premiere of Take This Waltz, with Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, and Sarah Silverman.
Purple strobe lights illuminated a crowd of Northwestern students dancing to a pounding bass, forming the letter “W” with their hands as they participated in a “Wu-Tang” chant led by Method Man.
NU students filled the Riviera Theatre in Chicago Saturday night for this year’s A&O Ball, which was headlined by the DJ duo Major Lazer. Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man and his rhyme partner Redman opened the show with an hour-long performance of hip-hop and rap songs.
Method Man performed “Bring the Pain,” the first single released from his debut album “Tical,” and a DJ homage to Jam Master Jay. He also performed several songs by the Wu-Tang Clan, a rap and hip-hop collective established in 1993.
Vivek Sudarsan, co-chair of promotions and public relations for A&O Productions, said Method Man’s past work as a member of Wu-Tang Clan drew numerous fans to the show.
“Method Man obviously has a big following,” the Weinberg senior said. “Everyone that was up front seemed to know his Wu-Tang songs.”
At one point during the show, members of the crowd held Method Man up by the legs as he sang above the crowd, and he crowd-surfed again later in the evening. Weinberg sophomore Ezra Olson said Method Man did a good job of getting the crowd excited and involved in the performance.
“I really appreciated the energy he gave,” Olson said. “This was a tribal experience — in a good way.”
By the time DJs Diplo and Switch of Major Lazer began their performance, the area in front of the stage had filled in almost completely, and the energy of the crowd increased.
Throughout their hour-long performance, Major Lazer wove a variety of electronic mixes in with well-known songs like Rihanna’s “You da One” and Far East Movement’s “Like a G6” and featured portions of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex. They also played their well-known dance mix, “Pon de Floor.”
Like Method Man, the group tried to involve members of the audience, bringing several students onstage to dance.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has always found a way to include the genre of hip hop in the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day convention. This year’s live webcasted youth and hip hop townhall featured a conglomerate of influential artists and community activists who delved into subject matter aimed at inspiring young people to accept responsibility.
“Education is the thing that they don’t want you to have that you can elevate yourself with. Anything that’s worth something, you have to strive for it and education is the ultimate thing to strive for,” said rap artist Cormega.
“The first step in getting young people excited about education is to show their value in it and make it relevant,” said Enoch Muhammad of Hip-Hop Detoxx.
They were a part of the first set of panelists along with experienced organizers Hasaun Muhammad and music artist Lah Tere. The event was hosted the evening of Feb. 25 at the Stephens Convention Center.
Greg “Grouchy Greg” Watkins, who co-founded AllHipHop.com, facilitated that segment on education. The popular site served as an official co-sponsor and broadcasted the entire program to their thousands of online readers. It could also be viewed on the N.O.I.’s site.
“We need to create a trend where we start promoting excellence, not just in entertainment and sports, but within this business paradigm. Opportunities exist outside rap,” said Hasaun Muhammad.
Lah Tere said she founded Mama’s Hip Hop Kitchen as a platform to educate and empower women to “be activists and talk about what’s happening in their communities because as women we are dying. Our community is dying,” she said.
RZA spoke to the youth via Skype. “No government can change what’s going on in our community. We have to do it ourselves and use Hip-Hop as a tool,” said Lah Tere. “I think it is important that everybody realize that you’re going to have to educate yourself. Unfortunately, we are a community of people that have been severely oppressed. Nobody has our best interest in mind when it comes to education,” said Grouchy Greg.
The crowd was brought to their feet as performers Avian Nalej, Akilah Nehanda, Nailah Muhammad and Malika rocked the microphone with songs filled with conscious and uplifting lyrics.
The power of originality
Ashahed M. Muhammad, Asst. Editor of The Final Call newspaper, moderated the second panel discussion. RZA, of the Wu Tang Clan, spoke via Skype and was interviewed by Mr. Muhammad. RZA also answered questions from the audience.
“There are more opportunities in this industry besides being an artist. There are many avenues we can enter into to show our talents and not just copy the same thing we’re seeing others do,” said RZA. “Be original and try to bring something unique to the game. When it is original it is unique and when it’s unique it has value,” he added.
The award-winning producer also spoke on how the Wu Tang Clan has been able to maintain longevity by studying the business side of the industry and also feeding their minds constantly on the Supreme Wisdom Lessons brought by Master Fard Muhammad, founder of the NOI.
“After all of my studying, I’ve come to find that Islam is the proper way of life. Master Fard Muhammad, for whom we celebrate Saviours’ Day, brought this divine wisdom to free our minds. If you look at Method Man, Old Dirty, Raekwon, Ghostface, they all study these lessons. A lesson a day keeps the stress away,” said RZA.
Jasiri X, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Ja’Mal Green, Divine, Raheem DeVaughn, Mary Brown and JT The Bigga Figga were the next featured panelists.
“Violence is really a big thing in this generation. It’s really hard to watch the news because that’s all you see. I think there’s a lack of opportunities for youth so they go into the streets,” said Mr. Green, a 16-year-old music writer.
The majority of those in attendance were under the age of 19 brought by co-sponsoring group Much Better For The People. For some this was their first time being outside of the confines of their Chicago neighborhoods.
“You are the most important generation our people have ever seen. In the 20th century we fought for civil rights, but the difference right now is we’re fighting for existence,” said Rev. Yearwood, who heads the D.C.-based Hip-Hop Caucus. “There’s some in this room who the spirit is going to hit you that you’re going to recognize that this is the time for us to fight.”
Mr. DeVaughn, a Grammy nominated R&B singer, spoke on how he has successfully navigated through the “landmines” and “pitfalls” of the industry thus far.
“Try to have the right team around you. You’re judged by the company that you keep. Be God fearing, be a leader and be willing to go against the grain. Know that nobody is going to give you anything,” said Mr. DaVaughn.
Pittsburgh rapper and activist Jasiri X has chosen to address serious issues via his popular YouTube videos versus contributing more to the dumbing down of the masses.
“We have almost a depression in our community as far as the lack of resources, the lack of jobs, and people being killed. I feel like, as an artist, to talk about popping bottles and making it rain, that’s not the real experience that our people are dealing with,” said Jasiri X.
“I don’t want to be an artist just for the sake of selling records. I want to use my art to uplift our community. It’s my responsibility,” he said.
Insight into taking advantage of the digital revolution, the need for ownership and what it takes to maintain integrity was offered by JT The Bigga Figga, Divine and Mary Brown.
“We brought the young people in hopes that they would be inspired by seeing people of color who are successful and who may have been through similar situations as they have. They enjoyed it,” said Jay Waddy, who spearheads Much Better For The People.
“This was a great event and we received so much support. I always love involving Chuck and Grouchy from AllHipHop because they also back us up. We hope to make it even bigger next year because these young people need to know Minister Farrakhan,” said Yonasda LoneWolf Muhammad, who was the lead organizer of the town.
The RZA, legendary hip-hop producer and one of the few men who can pull off a fedora, recently sat down for a twenty minute interview that’s very enlightening even if you’ve read The Tao of Wu while listening to 36 Chambers on RZA’s branded headphones.
If your idea of long-term planning is deciding between Playstation and Xbox, listen as RZA describes how he steered the Wu Tang Clan from the slums of Shaolin to the global stage in five years. In between dropping steady bombs of wisdom, RZA also outlines his favorite Wu albums, lyrics and briefly mentions his directorial debut. Not bad for a guy who got his start selling socks.
Podcast Description: Grammy award–winning music producer, BAFTA-nominated film composer, recording artist, and actor RZA is one of the most prominent figures in hip-hop music today. RZA has spent the last several years building his feature film resume and studying top-tier directors, with appearances in several popular movies. Join us for this moderated discussion led by Jeff Staple of Staple Design, as RZA discusses his career and showcases his new entertainment app, RZA’s World.
listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts
All Your Light (Times Like These)," first a single off Portland-based Portugal. The Man's sixth album, In the Mountain in the Cloud, is now a remix specimen for none other than Wu-Tang Clan's RZA. The track's newfound crunchy percussion provides a truly fresh contrast to John Gourley's singing, and only strengthens the song's already march-like appeal.
But how did this remix even come about, you ask? Well, according to the Fader, the guys in PTM asked RZA if he'd do it, and the Wu producer answered in the affirmative. Simple enough. You can listen and download below
Many Jack White fans have been waiting for a solo album from their hero for years, and they'll finally get their wish later this month when he releases Blunderbuss. Well, here's something you might not have known about the forthcoming album: it's only thanks to Wu-Tang Clan's RZA that Jack even made it at all.
In the New York Times' recent interview with the former White Stripes leader, it's revealed that Jack had booked a recording session with RZA, presumably for one of White's many collaborative seven-inches. The session was due to take place at Jack's home studio in Nashville, TN, but the rapper was a no-show.
While waiting on RZA with nothing else to do, White apparently decided to work on his own songs. Before long, this writing blossomed into Blunderbuss.
White had previously mentioned that the album began when an artist didn't turn up for recording, but he referred to the other party only as "someone," and didn't reveal that it was RZA.
White also gave the New York Times the scoop on his separate male and female live bands. When he takes both on tour, only one will perform each night and no one -- not even the players themselves -- will know who until the morning of. What's more, the two bands aren't allowed to listen to each other, because the leader wants them to remain musically distinct.
In conjunction with the launch of his new website, hip-hop ninja GZA is inviting fans to “put their MC skills to the test” in a contest called “Duel of the Iron Mic”, named after his track of the same name. The contest winner, which is also judged by GZA, will appear on a future GZA album.
To enter the contest, entrants must rap the first verse of the track “Liquid Swords”, record it on video, upload it to Vimeo, and posting it on GZA’s website. More info about the contest will be announced when the website launches next week.
About the contest, GZA said, “This contest was inspired by my countless tours all over the world where I would see my fans, many of them non-English speakers, reciting every lyric of the song back to me. It’s become clear to me that my music is appealing to a whole new generation: I’ve had a bunch of people tell me that they first heard my album because their parents listened to it. That might make some artists feel old but I’m happy that my music is still relevant today. I am honored that Liquid Swords the song and album have been so widely embraced for so long. This contest is one way of giving back to my fans, of letting them share their take on the record.”
Wu-Tang Clan rapper GZA has been known as the Genius since the early days of his career – but in recent months, the name has been particularly apt, as he has spent much of his free time chatting with scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and giving lectures at Harvard and New York University. The emcee also recently completed work on Dark Matter, a new album inspired in part by his interest in quantum physics, which will hit stores later this year.
Rolling Stone caught up with the rapper to discuss the new record, his university visits, his interest in writing for television and the low chances of hearing a new Wu-Tang Clan album any time in the foreseeable future.
You've been pretty busy on the lecture circuit recently. What have you been talking about?
It's just about music, Wu-Tang, whatever they ask. Lately, they had a little outline about what they wanted to hear me speak about: the globalization of hip-hop, lyrics, Wu-Tang's early years, my affiliation with Wu. Everything is hip-hop, it's all about hip-hop, but there are some specific things they wanted me to touch on.
So how did you start doing these?
It all started with Harvard several months ago. I don't know exactly how it unfolded. Y'know, the schools have been calling, and I have been going.
So when you say "the globalization of hip-hop," what do you mean by that?
Y'know, how hip-hop has gone mainstream all over the world. The globalization. Japan, Europe, Africa. It started here in New York, but it's all over the place right now.
You have a new album, Dark Matter, that is coming out. I understand that you put another record on hold to start on this. What made this record more urgent?
I didn't make it urgent. I just pick and choose. I mean, it would probably be urgent in the sense that I decided to do this before. Plus, the other needed more of a setup and different type of approach. I mean I had several different ideas and concepts in my head. It's just a journey of the universe. Dark matter, dark energy.
So this is about astronomy and physics?
Yes. And not necessarily so in that sense. It's just a beautiful story – planets, black holes, comets.
How did you get interested in this subject?
I've been interested in it for years. I mean, if you think about it, if you go back to Legend of the Liquid Sword – I put that out in 2002. I had a song on there, a verse where I say:
Why U-N-I-verse run like clock works forever?
Words pulled together, sudden change in the weather
The nature and the scale of events don't make sense
A story with no warnin' you're drawn in, environments
Gravity that's gone mad, clouds of dust and debris
Moving at colossal speeds, they crush an emcee
Since this rap region is heavily packed with stars
Internal mirror in the telescope, noticed the Czar
From far away, they blink as the lightnin' strolled
Great distance of space between precise globes
So I've been rhyming about this stuff – it's not anything new to me.
Did your visit to MIT have much impact on your writing for this record?
The thing at MIT didn't really have anything to do with it. This was just something that added to it. I mean, I never went to a university and linked up with, you know, quantum and astrophysicists and things of that nature. But it's not like this is what sparked the idea for me to want to do this album.
It was an interesting experience. I went to MIT and met with Penny Chisholm, a marine biologist. She was looking at viruses, bacteria, all kind of stuff. It was actually new for me to be up in there. It was a great experience. I went over to Harvard and spoke to David Kaiser, who is a quantum physicist. I met with him today and a few other quantum physicists. We sat down, we had lunch. I just had a chance to meet several professors, students. You know, scientists.
What else do you have coming up on the horizon, aside from Dark Matter?
I'm just working. I'm constantly writing. I'm always out. I have been running several months now. I've been on the road. I was just in Europe for a month. I did 31 shows in 29 days in 14 countries. I spent New Year's in Australia. I toured out there for about two weeks alone. Then I came back and linked back up with Wu-Tang. I was on the road with them for a month or so. I'm writing, doing pilots. Working on a script or two, and some ideas.
What was the pilot thing?
It was an idea by an actor/writer/friend that I know from L.A.. He had this idea going on he wanted to do this pilot for, this television series. But that fell through and they wanted to attach me to it and be a part of that. But I've been working on stuff aside from that.
What kind of stuff do you want to do for TV?
I'll do anything. Just like I can write anything lyrically. I don't really want to throw ideas out, because once stuff is in the air, people subconsciously take your idea and run with it.
You said you were touring with the Wu-Tang Clan, is there anything coming up with them, as far as another Wu-Tang record?
I have no idea. There's been talk. But I don't know what going on, you know? I can't say.
Is it too hard to get you all on the same page?
I mean, we haven't been on the same page in years.
Do you feel bad about that?
Nah. It is what it is. Sometimes that match burns out. So, no, I don't feel bad about it. It's good. I'm grateful for everything we have done throughout our careers and if there's nothing else to put out, then there's nothing to put out. I'm constantly writing and working. It doesn't stop there.
Colin Munroe records with RZA for his upcoming project "#Unsung Hero."
After a hiatus from the spotlight, Colin Munroe has released footage of him in the studio with RZA recording the song “Invincible.”
The darkly shaded song features rolling drums and snaking synthesizers. In the clip from the session, Munroe and the Wu-Tang Clan member discuss placements of instruments on the track, which plays in the background.
Munroe is currently gearing up to release his new mixtape #UnsungHero. He most recently dropped his new single “The Fight of My Life” featuring Pusha T. It is unclear if the cut will appear on the project.