This interview wasn't meant to happen. I secured a video interview with Raekwon, the Chef of the Wu-Tang Clan, at the A3C hip-hop festival in Atlanta. Knowing GZA (a.k.a. The Genius, also of the Wu) was touring with Killer Mike (Formerly of Outkast and the Dungeon Family) and would also be in the area, I reached out to his management to try to secure an interview. No response.
So Friday night, I dutifully showed up to my Raekwon interview and proceed to have an amazing and very open convo with the Wu great. After it was over he mentioned to me that he was headed over to see the GZA and Killer Mike show at Terminal West. With nothing to lose, I asked him if he could get in touch with the Genius and ask for an interview. He called in his homey Supe, who promptly made a couple of texts and bangarang -- we were in there!
No video, as GZA rarely does interviews period, so I was stoked to even get that far. We got bonus points when Killer Mike walked over and joined the convo and what ensued was a fun little insight into two of the greatest lyricist's prowling today's hip-hop stage. Enjoy!
GZA Genius, you have been on tour with Killer Mike for this past month, how did it feel to come to his hometown of Atlanta and -- OK, here he goes Mr. Killer Mike.
[Killer Mike bombards the interview. He and GZA exchange dap. This reporter is very happy.]
GZA: You know what it is.
KM: What up, mang? How you, mang? I'm building with the original God body, mang, getting my lessons.
How was it playing with the legend Genius right here, killing it in front of your home crowd?
KM: Considering 17 years ago I was standing in that warehouse looking at [the Wu-Tang Clan] perform it's kind of surreal, I appreciate him having the belief in me to bring a Southern artist out. Wu-Tang is worldwide, but they are an East Coast dominating force...
GZA: The bus is more real than the stage though.
KM: Yeahhhhhh, yeah!
GZA: We really vibe on the bus!
What goes on on the bus, that's what I want to know?
GZA: I won't say it's personal or private, but --
KM: It's trill shit, it's for the bus!
GZA: Yeah, just for the bus!
Considering what the GZA Genius and Killer Mike be rhyming about I can imagine the tales y'all be talking about. Politics, just every thing that be going on in the world?
GZA: Politics, fucking everything, hip-hop, food.
KM: Soul music!
GZA: Soul music!
KM: He got me eating some veggie meals.
GZA, you are a vegetarian right?
GZA: A raw food vegetarian. Haven't eaten pork since I was 11. I still eat some dairy though.
"I'm tired of that question, it's not true. I fitting to name, Earl (Earl Sweatshirt from Odd Future), Joey Badass, Ab-Soul, there's this kid from the A named Reggie P, so let's stop asking that. Lyricism is strong and deep in the game." -- Killer Mike
I heard you convinced the whole clan to not eat pork, how many have you talked into being vegetarian?
GZA: Well me, RZA, Master Killer and DJ Technique are all vegetarians. I used to tease Meth all the time about him eating steaks, use to tell him he was “Eatin' a pig pussy T-bone”. He hated that shit, but he just recently came up to me and said both he and Red Man are vegetarians now.
KM: Yeah, he convinced me to be eating some veggies, so that's cool.
GZA: Me and Mike be building all the time, this is an intelligent dude.
For sure, I can imagine, this man has the ill lyrical skills. Speaking of lyrics, I happen to be talking to two of the most lyrical dudes in the game right now, GZA voted near the top of the top 50 lyricists of all time by the Source. Killer Mike certainly near the top, especially of the current time we are in.
KM: Man I can't hold a candle to this man.
GZA: Don't let him say that shit, you kidding, you fucking kidding me...
Killer Mike ,definitely in there, top 50, top 75...
KM: I appreciate ya, if you only counting dope ones!
Oh yeah, we only counting dope ones.
GZA: It is what it is, Atlanta and NY uniting.
Two of the top lyricist in the game right now. In my view as a long time hip-hop fan I feel the art of lyricism has slowly been depleted from the current bank of hip-hop. What's going on, why has the lyricist disappeared?
KM: I'm tired of that question, it's not true. I fitting to name, Earl (Earl Sweatshirt from Odd Future), Joey Badass, Ab-Soul, there's this kid from the A named Reggie P, so let's stop asking that. Lyricism is strong and deep in the game. (To GZA) What's they name, the little Wu kids that's up in Pittsburgh?
GZA: Wu Lords.
KM: Wu Lords! Kids is 12 years old, sheeeet, they bad. There's lyricist out there.
GZA: Hip-hop is forever changing man. Support hip-hop, strongest genre of music. Forever, that's what it is.
KM: We trill, don't be a fuckboy, bye!
[Killer Mike leaves.]
Some years ago, you the RZA and Mr. ODB (Ol Dirty Bastard) started this outfit called the Wu-Tang Clan. What was that moment like, 20 plus years ago when you finally made the choice to take your destinies in your own hands and start the Wu?
GZA: We decided that after we got individual recording deals at a young age before Wu-Tang.
You were the first one with a deal.
GZA: Yeah, I had a deal on Cold Chilling Records, and RZA had a deal on Tommy Boy. They failed to promote us and support us. It was RZA's plan and idea to put Wu-Tang together, it was his idea, his dream.
You being the spiritual head of the Wu, the first to get a deal, the oldest member of the clan, do you see a moment in the future where the original nine members and RZA will collaborate on another record?
GZA: Yes I do. If it's Wu-Tang, produce it, RZA! Who gives a fuck, what!
I just spoke to Raekwon and he said y'all shouldn't just rely on RZA, you should be working with Kanye West, you should be working with...
GZA: I can see that too, there’s a lot of producers out there. I mean RZA is the Wu-Tang's producer, but there are other producers out there so... It's not like we have to get who's hot and who's current. Shit on the radio is six months old. We got to get what's hot and what's current before it reaches the market.
Final question, I ran into the RZA at Coachella and he told me he was there partly to peep out the Tupac hologram to potentially have ODB be repped as a hologram for a future tour. What do you think about that, would you be in support of that?
GZA: I got to see it, that's all I can say. I got to see it. Truthfully, I can use his son. (Boy Jones or YDB, who lives in Atlanta and performed 'Shimmy Shimmy Ya' with GZA that night and is ODB’s spitting image) That's better than any fucking hologram. Peace!
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