RZA has been quietly hanging around the music scene despite the glory days of the Wu-Tang Clan largely behind him. The Abbot will display some of his chops at this year’s Beyond Fest in Los Angles where he will be live-scoring a screening of Kung-Fu movie classic, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.
RZA spoke exclusively with Beyond Fest about the scoring of the film at the annual genre film festival. The movie largely informed the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan as samples from the flick appeared heavily on the group’s debut.
From Beyond Fest:
Long before he was universally acknowledged as a guiding force in hip-hop by birthing Staten Island’s finest clan, RZA was an obsessive encyclopedia of martial arts cinema, in particular the work of the famed Shaw Brothers studio out of Hong Kong. RZA first saw THE 36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN on television when he was 12 years old and again 2 years later on the big screen of a seedy 42nd Street theater with his cousin, Unique (who went on to become Ol’ Dirty Bastard). Dazzled by Kar-leung’s rich kung-fu tapestry, RZA (then Robert Diggs) was most profoundly affected by something that ran much deeper: the struggle between oppressed Chinese villagers and the repressive Manchu authority. “Beyond the kung-fu, it was the reality of the situation that hit me. Growing up as a black kid in America, I didn’t know that that kind of story had existed anywhere else,” said RZA.
In viewing THE 36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN in this allegorical light, RZA was inspired to create a wildly complex mythology, transforming his immediate urban surroundings of Staten Island into a Shaolin and his cousins and childhood friends into the Wu-Tang Clan. The resulting effort is one that stands as one of the most important hip hop albums of all time; Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
Learn more about Beyond Fest here.