RZA has shared his thoughts on hip-hop and the culture surrounding it in a recent interview honouring Hip-Hop 50.
This month, hip-hop music celebrates its 50th anniversary. The milestone has been marked by numerous events and performances so far this year.
While talking to Rolling Stonethe Wu-Tang Clan member reflected on what is next for hip-hop. “Somebody tweeted recently that ‘We are still not aligned.’ I think we need to align,” he said to the publication. “Maybe get some of the godfathers to come together and talk about what we’re going to do with this culture, and how we’re going to protect it, preserve it, and advance it.”
He suggested that there should be a “Hip-Hop Hall of Fame” as The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and BET Awards are “great” but are governed by the “corporate” world. “We need people of the culture to govern and guide the culture”, the rapper explained.
RZA’s comments follow Ice-T sharing at this year’s Essence Fest that he thinks the modern scene needs “to get a hold of itself” because “every week somebody’s going to jail. People are dying of drugs, killing each other.”
“My generation, we lost Tupac, we lost Biggie and we got the memo,” Ice-T said. “Everybody calmed down. We all figured this out: We [were] rapping to get out of the streets.”
Elsewhere in his interview, RZA also spoke about the late rapper and his former Wu-Tang Clan bandmate Ol’ Dirty Bastard. “He was such a unique talent,” he said. “He had a couple of left turns that was pretty off-course from the person who he really was. I think he would’ve found his way back on his right path and potentially would’ve been one of the greatest artists alive.”
As for the rest of Wu-Tang, RZA was asked about the possibility of a new album from the group, to which he replied: “We’re still here on the Earth… We’re laughing with each other, sharing music with each other. There were a couple of [tracks] I heard that sound like it’s very possible.”
This year, the Wu-Tang Clan united and toured the world with fellow New York hip-hop juggernaut Nas in honour of Hip-Hop 50. The London stop of the ‘NY State Of Mind’ tour saw them perform at a sold out O2 Arena before Nas hosted an afterparty with Hennessy at Camden’s KOKO. There, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon surprised the crowd with a performance.
Great to celebrate 50 years of hip hop at The House of Koko last night, followed by Nas and Wu-Tang Clan in the Koko Theatre for a late night ‘after party’ set post-O2 performance. pic.twitter.com/S0swcIiIm5
— Greg Wetherall (@GregWetherall) June 14, 2023
In other news, there will be a celebratory Hip-Hop 50 Live concert on August 11 at New York’s Yankee Stadium. Run-DMC will headline the star-studded line-up that features Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Lil Kim, Eve and more. The concert is partially organised by Nas’ Mass Appeal label, who have also released two EPs in honour of the genre’s birthday; ‘Hip Hop Vol. 1’ and ‘Hip Hop 50 Vol. 2’.
YouTube has also announced its FIFTY DEEP campaign, “a cultural campaign that salutes how far [the genre] come” with the mission of allowing “every generation to dig into the gems of YouTube’s archival treasury of Hip Hop.” They will stream Hip Hop 50 Live on Mass Appeal’s official channel.
Last February, Questlove curated a tribute to hip-hop and Dr Dre was honoured with the Global Impact Award at the 65th Grammy Awards. LL Cool J, GloRilla, Queen Latifah, Jay-Z, Melle Mel and more all featured in the star-studded set.