Why Rihanna and A$AP Rocky Naming Their Son ‘RZA’ Isn’t That Surprising
Wu-Tang has never been more for the children than it is right now. Rihanna hasn’t been shy about sharing photos of her firstborn—complete with a March 2023 cover story for British Vogue *–*but the news of her and A$AP Rocky’s child’s name wasn’t revealed until last week. That’s when People and The Daily Mail obtained the birth certificate, definitive proof that the baby’s name is RZA, a nod to the legendary rapper and producer from the Wu-Tang Clan. It’s definitely a unique name choice, but more than just referencing a classic rap group, it’s also a continuation of the name trends in Rocky’s family.
Rocky, real name Rakim Mayers, and his sister, Erika B. Mayers, are named after the iconic New York rap duo Eric B. & Rakim, who helped usher in hip-hop’s golden age of the late 1980s. (Rocky’s mother, Renee Black, is a huge hip-hop head, and famously once got Rakim to sign her infant son’s diaper when she spotted him in Harlem.)
Eagle-eyed fans have already noticed the hints that Rihanna, an avowed Wu-Tang fan, had been dropping with various outfit choices. Back in April, she wore a Wu-Tang football jersey styled as a dress to a dinner in Los Angeles, and was even seen last August wearing a shirt bearing the cover of RZA’s 2003 album, Birth of a Prince, clearly foreshadowing the name choice. As part of his 2023 Met Gala outfit, Rocky had a decal on his right pinky nail that resembled the Wu-Tang Clan logo. (Rihanna’s hit song “Wild Thoughts” with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller, also heavily samples Santana’s “Maria Maria,” which in turn saw Wyclef Jean sample “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit.”) Last weekend Rocky and Rihanna leaned all the way into the name reveal for young RZA’s first birthday bash, dressing up as fellow Wu-Tang members Ghostface Killah and the late, great Ol’ Dirty Bastard respectively.
RZA was born on May 13, 2022 but the name had been kept secret, even as Rihanna posted the baby on her Instagram and he joined his parents in the British Vogue shoot. (In that piece, the writer notes that Rihanna, Rocky, their loved ones, and PR teams all simply called the child “Baby.”) During the interview, Rihanna spoke about the “head-fuck” of giving birth, saying, “Essentially, from one person I became two. You walk into the hospital as a couple and leave as a family of three. It’s nuts. And oh, my gosh, those first days are insane. You don’t sleep. At all. Not even if you wanted to. We came home, cold turkey, had no one. It was just us as parents and our baby.”
At 35 and 34, respectively, Rihanna and Rocky are a little younger than the average Wu-Tang fan, but the hugely influential New York rap group has continued to have a presence in hip hop through the enduring success of 1993’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and the many successful solo projects by RZA, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, and Method Man, among others. Both native New Yorkers, Rocky and Raekwon have worked together a few times, with the latter told DJBooth that he had a strong friendship and tremendous amount of respect for Rocky, even acknowledging ASAP Mob as “Wu-Tang Clan: the new generation.”
Interestingly, Raekwon is probably the most common Wu-Tang inspired name out there, including NFL players Raekwon Davis and Raekwon McMillan, butut RZA is often credited as the architect of the group, having produced the majority of their most iconic tracks, inarguably earning his place in the ever-debated Mount Rushmore of producers. He’s had a successful solo career as well, with projects like Bobby Digital in Stereo. Like Rocky and Rihanna, he’s also worked as an actor, appearing in a number of high-profile films over the last two decades including American Gangster, Nobody, and his feature directorial debut, The Man With the Iron Fists.
Rihanna notably revealed a second pregnancy during her terrific Super Bowl halftime performance, meaning that the couple will have had two children in the span of two years when their next child is born. Check back for updates on GZA Fenty-Mayers (or the unisex friendly Bobby Digital, perhaps?) as they come.
Originally Appeared on GQ