Now a few episodes into Season 2 of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” viewers get to know the legendary rap group deeper than from their introduction in Season 1. Putting their years of drug dealing behind them, the Wu-Tang Clan is now well on its way to becoming a household name. RZA, founding member of Wu-Tang and executive producer of the series, sat down with Kevin Polowy to get real about the show. RZA speaks fondly about the late ODB and promises that this season will focus deeply on his story. He also explains the true meaning of the phrase “Wu-Tang is for the children” and reveals which pivotal scenes were completely factual — right down to point-blank gunshots that actually did happen.
- Let's makes some music.
[MUSIC - WU-TANG CLAN, "PROTECT YA NECK"]
- (RAPPING) --the mic like Smokin' Joe Frazier--
- Raising hell with the flavor--
- Sure wrote the name, Wu-tang? Yeah, that works.
- The Wu is back in season two of Hulu's "Wu-Tang, an American Saga." RZA, what has you most excited about getting reunited for season two?
- Well, I mean, you know, season one, we had a chance to look at the Wu pre- "36 Chambers" and still kind of scattered. And in season two, we get to see the Wu combine, unify and record the "36 Chambers" album-- which, I know I'm part of the creator of that album, but beyond my own participation, it's definitely has been considered the iconic, groundbreaking album for hip hop and for music. And so it's really a joy that we get to reenact those stories and share them with the world. Because-- for me. This is just for me, Kevin. Wu-tang is a spoonful of positivity.
- That reminds me of, like, on social media, you'll post, like, collections of people, pics that they've posted of their kids wearing "Wu-tang is for the children" gear. I've done it-- you know, my kids rep, you know? Talking about the positivity of Wu-tang. What does that movement mean to you? Like, seeing parents pass the Wu onto the next generation?
- Well, that's one of the greatest joys, and-- there's a little bit of bitterness because ODB is the one who said that first.
- When it comes to the children, Wu-tang is for the children. We teach the children. You know what I mean? Puffy is good, but Wu-tang is the best! OK? I want you all to know that. This is ODB and I love you all.
RZA: He meant it so much, we used to always talk about that, that even though there was profanity in the language and all that, he was like, nah, but-- we are giving people the real when others is giving them the fake. And so we got to be for the children.
I just thought that that was so enlight-- enlightening to put into a TV show for an audience to realize, hey, don't judge the book by the cover. Dig deeper, you know?
- Yeah, I mean, and speaking of ODB, is that pretty emotional for you guys, resurrecting him for the series?
RZA: One of the coolest things about this season, Kevin, is that the camera lens is going to go on ODB. We're going to get off his story. So it's a beautiful thing as well.
- Season one focused on them, you know, selling drugs and such. But in season two, we finally see Wu-tang come together as a musical unit. I mean, when you think back to this era-- I'm sure you're doing a lot of reflecting these days working on this show-- Bobby's portrayed as a dreamer, like you got to be as an artist. But, like, could you ever, like, dream or fathom the future dominance that Wu would have, back then?
- I definitely, Kevin, could not dream of having a medium like TV as an outlet of the Wu story and the Wu image because back then-- I mean, it was really nothing on TV that was based in real people, with all reality. But think about, can we find a group of real people, music-based, hip hop-based, even, that we can actually tune in every week and watch. I think this might be a first, but I'm so grateful for it.
- We're going to see it in season two, but, like, in your own words, what was that period in your lives like when "36 Chambers" dropped and you guys-- you guys just blew the doors down.
- First you got the fear of failure. But we recuperated and came back again. And so when it was working, it was such a great fulfillment. I felt fulfilled and I felt that my dreams and the mission that I knew I had to be on was correct.
- Constant debate among Wu fans, as the series, you know, as everybody watches this series, is like, how many of these things actually happen? There's a lot of, like, fact versus fiction debate. I know it's tough to quantify but how do you characterize, sort of like, you know, it's factuality, it's actual facts.
- Well, I mean, it's TV first, right? So TV has the ability to play with time, places, name, locations and all that. So that's what TV does. We strive to make sure that the spiritual truth is there. You know?
So for instance, second episode-- Dirty snatches a shotgun from a kid. Guess what? He did that. It don't seem like it's real, but ODB snatched the shotgun out of a dude's hands and pointed it back at him because he was tired of anybody trying to bully him. He was not tolerating that.
You know what I mean? And so you see it happen in the show. You see Ghostface get shot, point blank. That's how Wu got shot, was point blank.
[SIRENS IN BACKGROUND]
RZA, man it is always such a privilege to speak with you. Always a pleasure, thank you so much.
- Thank you-- thanks.