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TOP 5 DEAD OR ALIVE: RZA

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Beside a knack for freaking ridiculous beats, if RZA possesses anything it’s resounding confidence. Still, when certain Wu-Tang Clan members (ahem…Raekwon) went rogue and publicly disparaged The Abbot’s beats selections for 2007′s 8 Diagrams, you couldn’t help but wonder if it shook his self-belief.

However, “It didn’t f**k up my confidence but it f**ked up my heart,” says RZA.

 

Well love must conquer all because when we spoke to the RZA he was on the road with the entire Wu-Tang Clan and he assured any issues were resolved. Besides touring with his band of brothers, RZA is promoting the second season of the anime series Afro-Samurai, which he again scored. The show’s soundtrack, RZA Presents…Afro-Samurai: Resurrection  includes appearances from the likes of Ghostface (“Whar”), Rah Digga (“B***h Gonna Get Ya”), Kool G Rap (“You Already Know”) and even Sly Stone on “Blood Thicker Than Mud (Family Affair).”

 

Family must have been on RZA mind when we asked for his Top 5 Dead or Alive. Initially he tried to include a gang of his Wu brethren but we did him a favor and consolidated them into one entry, while he dropped nice insight on the rest of his picks. Bong.

 

 

Jadakiss

RZA: Jadakiss rhymes…like his catch phrases even from years ago with The LOX, he rhymes like he has the experience of a father, like a grown man nahmean? He remind me of somebody that got all the wisdom from all the older cats while he was young and everything he is spitting is like it has the older cat mentality, like a Grand Puba or something, but at a young age. Jadakiss, he doesn’t play with that mic yo.

 

Nas

 

RZA: The early Nas, the first three albums of Nas yo, nahmean. I don’t think too many solo MCs will ever surpass the creativity, ideas and individualization that he put inside his lyrics and songs. Two of the best rhymes I thought written was when he wrote the song “One Love” to his man in jail. You look at Eminem’s “Stan,” that’s “One Love.”  That was the inspiration of a man sitting here writing a letter to his man in jail.

 

Then you take a look at him writing his song [about the gun] “I Gave You Power”; describing the tech feeling this way, the rusty gun…taking the individualization of a gun describing. The only other MC doing that was the GZA where he took on the labels and made one meaning a whole ‘nother meaning.

 

Big Daddy Kane

RZA: Big Daddy Kane was the one of the first MCs with swagger. In the old days you always used to argue who was better Big Daddy Kane, Rakim or Kool G Rap. But the reason why Big Daddy Kane I think you know was even in that category and some people would say was because his swagger was an MCs swagger. This dude had the Brooklyn aggressiveness, and yet he still has all the girls on him and he still had hardcore styles. You know his first rhyme when he came out like, “It’s the Kane in the flesh of course I’m fresh, You thought I was rotten, beg your pardon,” when he came with that [“Just Rhymin’ With Biz”] that shocked almost every MC in New York.

 

Even to this day when I worked with him, he still is a cool ass muthaf**ker. I always felt like Slick Rick and Snoop Dogg are two of the coolest MCs ever because of their voices, they styles. But when I was hanging with Kane, I was like, “Naw, you up in there not only as being a dope lyricist and dope MC, but as also one of the coolest muthaf***er G,” he really is a unique individual.

 

Kool G Rap

RZA: G Rap is the father of drug Rap yo. Off course you know I think Raekwon and Ghostface bought it to our generation and took it to a hands on thing cause that’s where we came from. But G Rap’s Road To The Riches, Wanted Dead Or Alive, when he had that lyric, “Crack head searching a dead man’s pocket,” they put you right on the block with that one. Or take his lyrics off “The Symphony” which at that time Kane was the hottest rapper, but G Rap stole that song.

Wu-Tang Clan (GZA, Raekwon & Ghostface)

RZA: Well to me, and this is just my personal opinion, no other MC is better than GZA. Two reasons; first of all look at what he spawned. He spawned some of the other best MCs in the world. So that shows his talent was so strong that he taught all of us. Some people put Method Man in their top 50 emcees and he’s a product of the GZA. If you take that song “Fame” where he says, “Police Sean Comb through the evidence and Robert Diggs the beat,” nahmean, if you take that lyric alone where he takes all the names of different celebrities and [makes a] whole story out of it. He did it with “Labels,” it’s a little trademark he does on every album.

 

Back in the days he was signed to Cold Chillin’ and Kane was like he thought I was GZA, cause he didn’t know my face or whatever, and was looking to battle this n***a cause he knew that the n***a was one of the dope MCs out there and this is what Kane said when we was in the studio. But the GZA yo, his words, his ideas and poetry of his sentences to me makes him one of the best. I am going to give you an example from “Killa Hills 10304” from the Liquid Swords album. “Restaurants on a stake-out so order the food to take out, chaos outside a spark steakhouse, Maintain the power, I feel the deal’s gone sour, N***a Mr. Wedding, late a fuckin half hour and his man who bought land from Tony Starks, while he was contractin bricklayin jobs in city parks, he’s a loan shark, bitches raise a grand to a finger, in a garment that’s stretched, got it sewn like Singer.” Some artist rap four rhymes or four lines most just write lyrics cause they are looking for punch lines.

 

Raekwon; s**t it took years to figure out what Raekwon was saying. He bought the most slang to the Rap game out of anybody. He is like a slang therapist and if you listen to his lyrics it’s like slang on top of slang. First “politic ditto”, that’s not a catch phrase, it is now. “Africans robbing n****s up in yellow cabs, waving their arms musty like Arabs.” [laughs] It’s like this n***a is crazy; you know the back of a cab be funky…  He made it make sense. Back then people was making all there rhymes with “like,” “like,” “like,” but he wasn’t using “like.”

 

Then if you go to Ghost; to me I just quote what Quentin Tarrentino said to me. He said there are two favorite writers in music from all the writers he listens to, Bob Dylan and Ghostface Killah. Ghost, one of the lines I be using is, “I got to f**k something tonight if not I’m f**king my girl.” He got lines after lines, I think he described the street like Nas did it one way that was crazy but Ghost you could tell was not talking from third party experience. Like a lot of MCs tell from they man’s experience, nah, Ghost was the man that did it, saw and could write about it in a way that make you feel like you are doing it.

 

People didn’t even think Ghost was good at first cause he didn’t get a chance to shine on 36 Chambers, but once he did Cuban Linx… he never turned back. Ghost used to have a lot of headaches and s**t and once he finished the Cuban Linx… album the headaches kinda went away—of course he had a few medical things he had to deal with but I remember Dirty said, “Yo G, you f**king was busting your brain God. In one to two years you developed ten years of talent.” Cause at one point Ghost looked at Dirty as being iller. But [Ghost] was going so hard to make the rhymes to tell his life and tell his story through these rhymes. He used a lot of “likes,” but his “likes” was unorthodox; naming foods and all that s**t. [“Apollo Kids”]

 

That’s my top five right there, not to mention Inspector Deck. Inspectah Deck is one of the most under rated MCs out of all MCs if you take his verse from “Triumph” alone G. That’s got to be in the top twenty verses ever written!

 

THE SIDEBAR:

Yeah, RZA was able to nab an appearance from that Sly Stone “George Clinton has been a buddy of mine for some years and George and Sly was buddies. I told George about the project and told him Sly Stone and the afros he had back in the days, and his style, kinda could fit the Afro Samurai vibe. But more in the way that he would fit Afro’s fathers vibe and in the new series. That’s me getting Sly to represent. The reason why I chose the song Family Affair is because the whole Afro Samurai series is about family.”

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