I had the good fortune to attend a lecture at RISD last night by none other than GZA aka Genius. Founding member of the Wu-Tang clan and creator of one of my top 5 hip-hop albums ever (Liquid Swords)!
What was such a noted MC doing at an art and design college? Talking about rap of course, but framed through science. GZA has a new album Dark Matter, that should come out next year. He’s been spending time with scientists from MIT learning about astrophysics, universal vibrations and other “large galactic things“. He even rolled off some VERY scientific verses from his upcoming album. He discussed a pilot program in NY where GZA himself will be teaching the art of flow through an emphasis on science. Good work, and it’s nice to see someone with real credibility reaching out kids…..
Of course, one of the highlights was GZA’s overall presentation style (he stood at a podium and lectured in true academic style). He was insightful, very funny, and told some interesting stories about coming up in Staten Island. Highlights included:
– the fact that he did NOT like being given the name Genius (“only rhymes with venus and penis“)
– his watershed record was the first Last Poets album (“at his aunt’s house, and she probably didn’t know it had all that cussing“)
– a few great stories about the pre-Wu-Tang All-In-Together Now Crew with RZA, GZA and the Old Dirty Bastard
– a general re-definition of two kinds of hip-hop : real flow that’s thought out and evolving VERSUS pop rap about “cars, gold, hoochies“…
My personal highlight was GZA’s advice on writing verse (which can of course be applied to so many countless things in life) :
HALF LONG, TWICE STRONG!