From Hood to Hollywood RZA Inspires a New Generation of Hip Hop Stars


Back in the dizzay, hip hop was different. From Sugarhill Gang's 1979 release of "Rapper's Delight," to the looping of Public Enemy; the lyrical hip hop of KRS-One and the addition of rock music by Run-D.M.C and the Beastie Boys. The 80s rap trends continued with the jazz-a-licious smooth grooves of Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. Then, enter gangsta rap (N.W.A., Ice-T) to change to face of the industry. This gritty subculture erupted violent gang fights that led some mainstream artists to their deaths. R.I.P. Jam Master Jay, Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac.

The 1990s took hip hop even more mainstream with Public Enemy, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Wu-Tang Clan. This was a time when rap "groups" were bouncing on the stage with up to 20 members. Wu-Tang might be the most celebrated rap group of our time as it was the catalyst to many individual careers spawning from its ashes. RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghost face Killah and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, were all a part of arguably the greatest hip hop group of all time. Nowadays, gaining positive publicity is much harder because people are doing more extreme things in the media...enter world star hip hop here.

Let's Talk RZA

Straight out of the Staten Island hood, Robert Diggs (RZA) fell into crime early. An interview in GQ magazine talks about his days of crack slinging with further mention of a somewhat declassified Wu-Tang Clan FBI file. RZA had grown up fascinated with Kung-Fu films and got some of his early education from them as he would visit theaters to watch double, even triple, features of the classics. Pre Wu-Tang, the members began coming around to watch movies and talk music with RZA and, over time, the rap group began to materialize. RZA's word became law. By the end of the 90s though, no more Wu. Members were missing performances and going on their own. RZA began partying hard when one day, through a spiritual awakening, he realized what he wanted to do. Make solo albums and get into the wonderful world of movie-making magic.

Welcome to Hollywood, RZA

Since RZA is about to blow up even further as a director (and lead actor) with his debut full-length film, "The Man With the Iron Fists," inspired by the Quentin Tarantino-esque kung fu genre (presented by Q himself), let's talk about how one gets to the point of going from the streets to the director's chair. Advice offered to by RZA.

- Become a student, educate yourself on all matters and collect wisdom. Watch people you admire. Listen to them. Do what they do. Do your homework, grasshopper.
- Keep the yin and yang balanced by listening to others' opinions.
- Gain trust — follow through with your words and actions with every one from your actor to your set caterer.
- Set goals, large and small, and bring your originality to the forefront of your goals.
- Have patience and compassion.
- Always be prepared and have a vision.

"The Tao Of Wu"

His personal memoir, "The Tao of Wu" was released in 2009 and recounts his personal life from the violent projects of NYC to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood. Because he has brushed the realm of spiritual enlightenment, the journey he describes is one others can learn from. He has become an inspiration to his peers and kids growing up in the ghettos in America.

RZA called himself to action. He knew he was in a bad place when he was young and inexperienced and he put himself on a path to change course and try something that inspired him. Kids don't have to take the path living in the mean streets often carves. There are ways to get out and do big things. RZA is a prime example of going from hood to Hollywood.

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