RZA - Hero Worship
The Wu-tang Clan have risen to the top of hip hop. The man behind the beats Robert Diggs aka RZA has just released his fourth solo album, Digi Snacks. 3D’s Matt Unicomb finds out all about it, plus more.
Robert Diggs is a busy man. After conquering the hip hop world as both a producer and MC, the man they call RZA is branching out. To admire the impact this man has had on the entertainment industry, one needs to only glance at his career as a performer.
In 1993 the Wu-Tang Clan surfaced. Their seminal debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) went platinum in the US on a budget of $36,000US. Diggs was responsible for the production and mixing of every track. He is credited with bringing rap back to the East Coast, after Dr. Dre and N.W.A.’s domination. Kanye West, Just Blaze and 9th Wonder have all heralded Diggs as legendary. The gritty, aggressive street-beats he made famous have inspired a generation of producers.
On 28 June Digi Snacks was released in Australia – Diggs’ third solo album as alter ego Bobby Digital. The release has been well received. “The feedback has been really positive from all the critics,” Diggs begins. “The sales are moderate, but the vibe is positive.”
While every member of the Wu-Tang Clan collectively has been commissioned with dozens of platinum releases in the last decade, RZA has not. Now it is his time to shine. He has done what no other well-known rap artist has and fashioned a ‘hip hop superhero.’
“Bobby Digital first popped up in 1998,” he explains. “I felt overwhelmed by life, I had some problems. I was rich, but I wasn’t rich in my heart. A lot of things weren’t finished in my life, I felt like a big chunk was missing.”
Wu-Tang member Method Man – for example - is a Grammy award-winning solo artist. RZA is the man behind three-quarters of his beats. “Everybody in the Wu-Tang was getting a chance to put out solo albums and it seemed like I was some mysterious, hidden guy. I needed to express myself. I need Bobby Digital to do that.”
“My aim is to make Bobby Digital a real hip hop superhero. One of the first hip hop superheroes. Maybe 10 years from now someone might pick up the character and make a movie or album. I’m trying to make Bobby Digital a real superhero, like Batman or Spiderman is. I’ve lost a lot of the non-fiction the other albums had, and added some more fiction. Some of it is true-life, but most of it is totally whack.”
An award winning producer and MC must surely be under some excessive pressure when stepping into the booth for a solo joint. Not so, according to Diggs. “No, I feel better,” he exclaims. “I feel pressure when I’m doing a Wu-Tang album and have to please some of the dopest MCs in the world.”
“Bobby Digital is much more fun me because I ain’t trying to please nobody. It is really all about having fun. You buy a comic book - sometimes you’re just buying it for the cover. You don’t know what’s going on inside of it - you just like it for the cover. That’s kind of like Bobby Digital. Here’s a concept that is all fun.”
Every member of Diggs’ crew has notched up acclaimed solo releases. The Wu-Tang Clan holds some of the finest musical talent in the world. In a 2003 interview Kanye West proclaimed that he would “kill for a voice like Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s.”
RZA must impress. “As an MC, I love to say some rhymes that’s gonna make the Wu-Tang say ‘yo RZA, that’s crazy,’ he laughs. &l