Arts Desk

The Tao of Wu


Yesterday I received a preview copy of The Tao of Wu, a “spiritual memoir” in which Wu-Tang Clan producer RZA offers up pearls of wisdom. Actually, since we’re talking about an icon of ‘90s hip-hop here, I should probably say he is dropping gem or blessing us with jewelz or some such thing.

The press materials call the book a "nonfiction Siddhartha for the hip-hop generation."  And if Siddhartha had been into kung-fu flicks and the Five Percent Nation and his trusty companion Govinda had been a small-time weed dealer, that comparison would be spot on.

If you're  seeking a little bit of enlightenment Wu-Tang style, the book holds plenty of lessons and what RZA calls his "pillars of wisdom." There's actually some really touching stuff about RZA's mother, and his time in jail, and his friendships.

But if you're just looking for scoop on everyone's favorite hip-hop supergroup, there's plenty of that, too. The book is slated for an  Oct. 20 15 release, but here are a few nuggets to tide you over.

*RZA says that in 1991, Ghost was very into trying rip off a Brinks truck.

*Ghost used to call Old English "Wu juice," and RZA used to call Ballantine Ale "Shaolin."

*In 1989, RZA showed some of his friends Eight-Diagram and says some of them started crying because it's so real.

*RZA used to ride the subway wearing a Big Daddy Kane-style gold cable, a book of 120 lessons, and a .38 revolver.

*If you see Method Man on the street and yell out "Shaquan!" he'll probably turn around.

*A sampling of  RZA's early production tools: 1982, Technics SL-6 turntable; 1985, Roland 606 drum machine; 1988, Casio sampler.

*RZA used to live in a basement below some family members of Prince Po from Organized Konfusion; Po used to come visit him and watch him make beats.

*RZA once hung out with Leonardo DiCaprio, right after Titanic came out. They smoked cuban cigars together and Leo recited some Wu-Tang lyrics.

*RZA holed up at Trump Tower while working on the Bobby Digital album; for fun, he used to hang out on the front stoop of The Plaza, drinking 40s, smoking weed, and watching the celebrities come and go.

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  • Jonathan L. Fischer

    If this is a hip-hop's Siddhartha, then the Ghostface album that leaked yesterday is its Decameron -- if not its Kama Sutra.

  • Sarah Godfrey

    Ghostdini = hip-hop Kama Sutra, for sure. I must say, a lot of the most interesting stories in Tao of Wu are about Ghost. Not surprising, I guess.

  • Ted Scheinman

    Fischer gets a prize.

  • Sarah Godfrey

    Commenter of the week, and it's only Tuesday!Day-am

  • Brian

    I can't wait to read it!!!

  • Tim

    Hip-hop and the teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism do not mix. The Rza displays an acute lack of understanding of the fundamental philosophies and teachings behind these well respected religions. Anyone who follows the teachings of Buddha and/or Laozi would surely find this book revolting.