I’m not even halfway done reading this and this is just amazing.
The Hyatt Hotel in Berlin is truely a very noble place to stay. When rappers hold their interviews in of the conference rooms of such hotels, journalists can get a chance to get to know the luxurious side of the business.
The residence in such kingly accommodations with at least ten serving women who read the wishes from ones lips are plain routine for the RZA. When it happens that he is transported by Minivans instead of a luxury bus, or has to confine himself to buying one pair of Ray Ban shades in stead of three, only because the promoter didn’t pay enough, then something is going wrong in the world of the Wu-Tang Mastermind.
Because money makes the world go round. Or rather cash rules everything around me. Thus our interview was centered on Dollars and Bills – be it RZA’s money, RZA’s money, which he allegedly owes someone, RZA’s missing money, RZA’s neglected life because of the making money or RZA’s thoughts about money in todays music industry. The chef of everything called being related to the two letters WU told us about his daughters, his brothers, his brothers from the Clan, his childhood, his first label, about lawsuits, lawyers, promoters, tours, London, Görlitz, greed, jealousy, fantasy and love.
RZA: Y’all aint gotta be nervous to talk shit about me, okay?! Feel free.
WildstyleMag.com: Some time ago you went to the U.K. to promote your new Digital LP…
RZA (interrupted the question and told a long story about a promoter in Lodnon): Ask anybody who knows me, in the last two months they never saw me angry. I wasn’t even angry at Raekwon after all the stupid shit he said to me about the 8 Diagrams Album, RZA is a Hippie and that stupid shit. That didn’t get me as pissed off as this dude from London.
Because he had me leave my house, leave my kids, leave my family and come all the way over here with my buddies. One of my buddies got locked up, one of my other buddies couldn’t pay his fucking rent, so we all wanted to get our money. But the promoter didn’t fucking pay the fucking money yo! Then at the o2 Arena, where 1.100 paying guests attended the show, I almost fighted with the show organizer because he wouldn’t give me the money. He said he gave it to that promoter. I stayed in London for two extra days out of my own pocket, payed for the hotel, looking for that motherfucker. I couldn’t find him and I never heard from him again.
There was one girl that knew him that came to the show and came to the hotel afterwards.
Two of my buddies both fucked her. I don’t know if that was his girl or not. Anyway, she told us that he was actually from America and he used her address to get his visa in London. And she had been looking for him, too.
I wonder why the promoter did this to me. Honestly, he actually wanted to give me the money in my hand but I told him not to. I said he should give it to me at the end. I trusted this motherfucker! At the day when the tour was over, he said we were leaving 9 o’clock. At 9 o’clock we’re waiting for him when the driver told us that he thinks he caught a train at 7 o’clock. So the driver took us to London, we wanted to go to James’ office. But the address that he gave me was a fake address! This place was in the hood of London, people were looking at me like “fuck you”, and then the driver also wanted me to pay him! This promoter put all of us in this situatuin! Damn, that n-gga is smart! He’s fucked up!
You know, I make a lot of money in my life, 50.000 dollars are nothing, but it still affects me because I was out here for a month! That’s not fair!
Wildstylemag.com: Since we are already talking about money and debts: What is the case about all the Wu-Tang members claiming you wouldn’t give them their money?
RZA: Ah listen, that’s a whole other story. Wu-Tang members saying I don’t give them their money is all falsehood. Everybody in the Wu-Tang got everything they’re entitled to and not only that, they got more than their money. I give everybody in the Clan more than I was supposed to give.
Let me give you an example from the music industry: You can put Suge Knight next to Wu-Tang, we both came up at the same time, Death Row – Wu-Tang, okay?! When Snoop Dogg left Suge Knight and went to Master P., they had to pay Suge Knight a million dollars for that, did you know that?!
When Wu-Tang – Raekwon, Ghostface, Inspectah Deck, Method Man – asked for releases of Wu-Tang production, what did I get? Zero, I gave it to them for free! When Ghostface wanted to sign to Sony Records although he was already signed to Razor Sharp Records, he had to wait for a process until the deal was done. Now I said “Ghost, don’t leave my company, man! If you leave my company, then Cap will leave my company. Y’all are gonna devalue my company. My company is worth 15 million dollars right now!”
If they come and take the artists from the company, the company is worth shit. First Cappa signs. I was like “Ooh shit, he is with Mike La Russa who has a true article about who he is”. And then Ghost lets Mike La Russa become his manager and leaves Razor Sharp Records. But before Ghost left, he had no money. I loaned him 100.000 dollars to leave me. Because that’s my brother. I don’t give a fuck about money when it comes to that.
Eva hold on, I need you as a witness. (Eva R.,Wu-Tangs lontime international representative, was just passing by) She said Wu-Tang said I took their money. What did Wu-Tang say recently about this tour? On this tour, did Wu-Tang say you gave me payment under the table? Now, did you pay me under the table? Did I get 15 cent?!
Eva: In fact I am even telling Bobby that he owes me 425 dollars for a suitcase in Prague.
RZA: Is Wu-Tang accusing you of taking the money right now? Are they accusing Jerome of taking money right now? Is Jerome a fucking nerd? Would Jerome take 5 dollars from a cat?
Eva: Jerome is the most ethical and beautiful person in the world.
RZA: Exactly, they accuse him of being a crook. They accuse anybody…
Eva: …they accuse anybody. If you had 15.000 dollars right now that Ghost thinks is his, he would jump at you and say: “You took my money, come on, give me all your cash!”
RZA: Did Ghost jump at you for the cash? Three days ago?
Eva: Yes, three days ago. He told me to give him all my money. I called the police for a second, but then I cancelled the police again.
RZA: Now, I am not disrespecting Wu! We’re from the hood! So we don’t trust nobody! That’s just how it is, you know.
Eva: Yeah, that’s the difference
RZA: You find people who say something like “Yo, RZA just bought a new house” – I just did five fucking movies scoring, man! You know how much money I did out of Kill Bill? You know how much money I made out of all these movies and shit? Yeah, I can buy a fucking new house! I didn’t buy it from the Wu-Tang money. But, they won’t think that because somebody’s in their ear like “Yo, how do God get this, how do God get that? Yo, how you do this, yeah, the nigga must be getting all your royalties, the nigga is getting this, the nigga is getting that.”
There’s a lawsuit at the moment between me and Ghost. Do you know what the lawsuit is about?! Check out what the lawsuit is about: He has an accountant and a lawyer that tell him that for all the songs that I wrote over the years I should have gotten less money! You know, when you make a Hip Hop song, 50 percent of the publishing goes to the producer or the music, and another 50 percent goes to the lyrics. Is that the same in Germany?
RZA: Okay. Ghost has a lawyer that says I should have only gotten 20 percent and that Ghost should have gotten more. So therefore they took all these times that I got 50 percent, added them up and said I owed them about 300-400 Grand. How the fuck can that be Ghost?! Everytime you put an album out with any producer you do the same thing. Now you are going to change it on me? Not only did I make the beat, I probably gave you some of your lyrics and sat in that fucking studio for months! Because they come in, rap, smoke and go. You know what I am saying?! I’m here for months!So there it is, you can decipher that, haha. You get nothing but the truth from me.
Wildstylemag.com: This situation between you is pretty difficult and seems messed up. You are in a Clan, whose members are acually even your family members, and then you have lawsuits between you and money is involved. How does this affect you emotionally?
RZA: It’s funny though. It affects me mostly badly because I have a family, too. I have got a fiancé, I have got children and they look up to Ghost or Rae as their uncle. You know, Raekwon comes to my house and kisses my babies. Just as U-God who I know since we were kids. So when U-God went for filing the lawsuit for 170.000 dollars against Wu-Tang Productions, I was like “U-God, if I did owe you 170.000 dollars, you wouldn’t sit here after 10 years and say you were missing 170.000 dollars after everything I did for you. I would have swallowed that shit.
He’s asking me for 300-400 Grand! When I did Wu-Tang Records, nobody signed U-God before. He never had a record deal. He only had a record deal on my company. I put 700.000 dollars in his hands baby, in your fucking hands, nigga. And I did videos, 200 Grand video here, video there, for you out of my company. And you only sold 200.000 records. That means my company lost money of you, Sun. So don’t come to me like I ever owed you something. But I asked him why he thinks I owe him 170.000 dollars. He said he didn’t get his mony of the last 8 Diagrams album and of the last tour. So I asked him how much money he didn’t get out of that, he answered 4.000 dollars. “Where do you get 170.000 from 4.000 nigga? Oh, your lawyer got you gassed up?”
And what happens to a lot of artists in the music industry right now is the following: The music industry is plummeting real fast. So as the industry plummets, what happens is that there is no deals being made. If there’s no deals being made rappers, what happens to the lawyers. They’ve got to close their firms, they can’t make no money. How can they make money from the client now? Litigation! And that’s why you will hear this coming up. Not only Wu-Tang, you’ll here it popping out throughout the industry, you’ll hear somebody suing somebody, because there are lawyers advising to sue, so the lawyers can keep their retainments.
I told Ghost right in court to come over to me. Ghost is my brother, Ghost has got babies from my sister, did you know that? I’m the uncle of his children, my little sister has two babies from him. I was like “Yo Sun, we’re in court, look how stupid this is. They got us in court not talking to each other”. His lawyer tells him not to talk to me. Why? Because they don’t want the truth to come out. The lawyer costs Ghost 1000 dollars a day, he costs me 1000 dollars a day and this case has been going on for 2-3 years!
Wildstylemag.com: Does that make you sad?
RZA: It makes me supersad! But did that stop me? No! How could that stop me? I’ve been the underdog in my life since I was a kid. I had a lot of problems in my life. I’ve been a sickly kid, I had a strange life. They said I could have been blind, handicapped, asthmatic, there were all kind of different problems about me. So I don’t give a fuck about what people say. I build myself back up and come back stronger. That’s what I do.
So, it affects me. But what affects me more is that when I go home to my woman and I was gone for an eternity. You know, I got to this tour, I am away from my kids for another 30 days for a fraction of how much money I made last month out of my own tour. Actually not even 1/5. I made 300.000 $ on my own tour the last time. That’s nothing compared to the fuck this fucking tour is. That’s not even 1/8 maybe.
But, I’m not doing it for the money. I’m doing it for the integrity of the brand. But yet my woman is like “Why are you doing it? These niggas don’t care about you!”. And it’s not good to argue with your woman about something, because women feel strong about it, they slap you in your face, you still go back to them. I am like “Look, you don’t understand that. We’re brothers, brothers do that.” It happens all the time.
Like I have a blood-brother named King who used to rob me, beat me up, take my clothes, stab me with forks and shit. He was just the older brother, who got jealous when your mother gives you more love. He was just mad, he was a mad kid, yo! He used to steal my money everyday. And when I got wealthy I bought this big 100 acres of land in Ohio. And I told him to go there and run the land. He went there for 3 years and ran the land. When he got to run the land by himself the solitary and the solitude made him become a real man. And now he’s my best motherfucking friend. Life is like that sometimes.
Sometimes brothers are in war with each other, like in that old TV show “Dallas”, but at the end love conquers all. And I love Wu-Tang Clan.
Me and Mef didn’t even speak one time on this tour. Me and Mef don’t speak over a girl. Not a girl that I fucked either. It was a girl that knew my friend first, then she met one of my other friends. She met him, she liked him and then she meets some of my other friends and liked him. That’s just how some girls are. But Mef thought I had something to do with her like that. And so he said he was not going to speak to me no more. “What, over that girl?” “Yeah, fuck that, I don’t speak to you no more.”, so he hung up the phone. And we haven’t spoken for fucking months. This tour right now we still didn’t speak!
But at the end of the day we ended the tour like “Yo God, I love you man!” And when you figure that out, when we catch up, we catch up! That’s the beauty of love. Sometimes you don’t have to say nothing.
It is like with a woman and a man who have an argument . If they keep talking they keep fighting. Have you ever been with a girl, you had an argument and you wanted to make up with her? As long as you say nothing, you can make up with her. If you say something, it’s going to be another argument, you are going to get no pussy and you go to bed mad. But if you don’t say nothing, it gets closer and closer, y’all make love and it’s all expressed through love. That’s how we are right now, how shit is going on in the Clan. We’re not fucking though, haha.
Wildstylemag.com: You just mentioned that you can’t see your family often because of your work. How does your musical carreer affect or even block your family life?
RZA: It actually hurts my family life especially concerning time. Because my time is being shared with my fans and the people of the world, while I have got children growing with a lot of days of not seeing their father. And – I can’t say unfortunately but sadly – I’ve got babies in more than one household. For example one of my daughters I only get so see one time in the year. Because she lives with her mother and they live in Atlanta. But at the same time, they’ve got a nice house that I pay for, she goes to a private school, she’s growing up in a better life than I ever had. Now I grew up without my father too, but I grew up without my father and without a pair of fucking sneakers and a bed to sleep in.
So that’s the difference. I know I can’t provide her with the time but I believe in the 12 Jewels and try to provide my childrem with them. That is Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding, Freedom, Justice, Equality, Food, Clothing, Shelter, Love, Peace and Happiness. I can provide those to her. And I try to provide that to any of my children.
It is sad that the world has gotten more of my time than my children, but my children benefit from it through their financial and economical freedom that I didn’t have.
Wildstylemag.com: You earned this financial freedom for yourself and your children through your musical carreer. How has the situation changed for the new artists nowadays?
RZA: What’s happening right now in the Hip Hop industry is that it is deeply affected by the general economy of the country. The people who are getting the money now are young. When you are young “money” is not the same. I give you an example: If you are 19 years old and you get a record contract with 15.000 dollars, you’re a cool 19 year old motherfucker. So it doesn’t bother you, you know?! You don’t even realize it. But for the artists that are 25 and up 15.000 dollars is not a great salary, it’s a medium salaray. So that’s where the problem comes out. If you see somebody like Souljah Boy, who is only 16 years old, making fucking 200 Grand a year, then he’s doing great. And all he is buying is sneakers and candy. But if you are dealing with a rapper that is 25 years old that may have his first child on the way, or maybe his first home he has to buy, there’s the problem.
And I think as time goes on that generation of rappers who’s making it now is gonna face the same thing that my generation was facing, which is the decrease of sales. The decrease of hard-copies. As the hard-copies decrease, the royalty decreases. So they are going to face that and they are going to have to realize that they have to say something about it. So I think it will make a change.
EVA: You know what you should also tell them: Why the Wu-Tang Clan did not perform at Görlitz. Because a lot of people are asking that question.
The Bangarang Festival is a Reggae and Hip Hop festival located in Görlitz, Germany. The Wu-Tang Clan was booked as the headliner of the festival but didn’t appear. Jeru the Damaja and many other artists also didn’t atten since the promoter had miscalculated his finances and didn’t have the slightest bit to pay the costs. The result was a huge crowd of dissatisfacted paying guests.
RZA: Oh yes. Bottom line: Why did Wu-Tang not perform at Görlitz? Because the promoter didn’t have the money! Now, should that stop us? It usually doesn’t stop us.
In London the same problem happened. The second show in London the promoter didn’t have the fuckin money. What did we do? We decided: “You know what?! The fans are there, let’s do it man, fuck the money.” We said fuck the money. And you know what we got payed for that show? 1.100 fucking dollars a piece. That ain’t shit yo. I went and bought a watch and glasses. Actually I only looked at the watch, I couldn’t afford it. But we still did the show.
After the show in London we had a big fuckin Wu-Tang argument in the dressing room, Rae and Mef started going at it and it just started getting really tense. All of this started from that promoters spirit. When Eva came in and said “we ain’t got the money” the whole day was ruined. The spirit and the energy decreased, it made the whole show become something different. Who wants to go on stage and rock when you know you ain’t getting shit.
Now when it came to Görlitz it was a different situation. We found out that the guy didn’t have the money when we were 3 hours away from the venue. Besides that in London there were 15.000 dollars missing but it wasn’t the whole amount missing. Whereas in Görlitz the whole amount was missing! So we thought “Should we drive to the venue and do the show or should we just go back to the hotel we were at and take a chill-pill?” And I was like: Yo three hours for getting jerked again? No!
If we would have went to Germany we would have probably been fighting each other, because we were close to that in London. But it was the promoter who started that whole shit. Once he gave us that negative spirit it multiplied inside us and now we were looking at each other like we’re fucking stupid. But he was the fucking problem. So when it came to Görlitz, we didn’t want that again. I wouldn’t have went, because I knew that the spirit of the day was ruined.
Not to mention those noodleheads they sent. I don’t want to diss these young guys, they were only 19-20 years old. But the guys the promoters sent to pick us up, who came two hours late, went to the wrong fucking airport and came in six minivans instead of one nice big luxury van. The vans were so tiny that only two members could sit in one. I was in the car with GZA, the driver misses the other ones and is making U-turn in the city and all. I was like “Yo this fuckin guy can’t drive, I wanna get outta this guy’s car!” I asked him how long he’s been driving, he said one year now! I said: “Man, we’re with the wrong crew today!” So this was a bad experience.
Later we found out that the promoter cheated everybody! I heard that he got beaten up and that he’s in hospital now! Lucky that we didn’t come, because he would have been dead if these 8 motherfuckers would have gotten on him. (Laughter)
Wildstylemag.com: Were Rae and Ghost actually present? Because I know they should be on Rock The Bells Tour in the US.
RZA: They were there! That was their last show they had with us. And that made Rae and Ghost even madder because going to Görlitz was halfway to Berlin, and their flight was from Berlin to Chicago, so they could go and join Rock The Bells. But now they were stuck in Prague.
Back at the Hotel, Ghost started looking at Eva strangely. But you know, when things don’t go right it causes a chain reaction of ideas and imaginations. When we all leave each other with those imaginations, they multiply. So say for example Ghost goes home and is like: “Yo, I didn’t get my fucking money from London, there’s also money missing from this and from that.” Somebody tells him: “Well, maybe Eva’s got it.” “Word, maybe she’s got my shit, this fucking bitch! I’m gonna sue Eva”. This is just how imagination goes.
Wildstylemag.com: Yeah, and then there’s a lawsuit again.
RZA: Not only that. Let me prove something to you, that’s going to sound funny. You know, “8 Diagrams” was the album that we had our conflicts on, right. We’re doing this show, Mathematics plays the music. I made it clear, I’ve got nothing to do with nothing, I am here as a client, just let me do what I am doing, I am not saying shit about shit, because I don’t want to be blamed for shit that I don’t do.
So he playes on “The Heart Gently Weeps”, Raekwon doesn’t know his lyrics, okay. The second night he plays it again, “Take it Back”, “Gently Weeps”, Raekwon doesn’t know his lyrics. The third night he plays it again, right. Now I don’t have anything to do with this, I am just on the stage. I don’t even know what the guy is going to play, when the songs come on, I react. So he plays “The Heart Genty Weeps” and I am quiet. Raekwon is like “Yo fuck that RZA, why you keep doing this shit…!?”.
I don’t know what the fuck I have go to do with it! I pulled Ghost and I said “See, that’s the problem with y’all, God. Y’all got me in a negative mindframe in your imaginations because of all the shit y’all built up about me. You think I am the cause of this fucking thing, but I am not the cause of it G, I have nothing to do with it.”
After that, the next thing you know, they are telling Eva that she is paying me under the table. Paying me fucking what? I don’t even know what the fuck Eva is getting. I don’t even know what you are getting. All I know is what I am getting. That’s it. But imaginations do that.
Let me use the example as a woman of an analogy. Me and my ex-wife wouldn’t get along, you know. So she would go somewhere and I would think to myself “Where the fuck is this bitch at, what is she doing? Who is she with?” I could think of a thousand things she’s doing. But she only did one thing: She went to the fucking grocery store. That’s life yo.