10 Beats That Showcase RZA's Greatness

10 Beats That Showcase RZA's Greatness

Published Mon, March 4, 2024 at 12:45 PM EST

Best known as the de-facto leader of Staten Islands finest, Wu-tang Clan, RZA has given us some of the most incredible Hip-Hop music of all time. He created an entire world with his haunting samples, which eventually become his signature, molding classic tracks from Raekwon’s “Ice Cream,” the timeless "Bring The Pain” by Method Man, and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Ya.” 

Perhaps what we forget is that RZA has contributed to many other timeless records over the years. He has made entirely out of the box, blues-rock records to working with the new generation of Hip-Hop; RZA has solidified himself as a staple of Hip-Hop culture and one of the greatest producers of all time. 

"Dark Fantasy" - Kanye West

In the intro to Kanye West’s magnum opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, RZA gives us one of his most iconic placements to date. RZA, Mike Dean, No I.D, and Kanye, make up the production Avengers on this track, giving us the sonically cinematic masterpiece, “Dark Fantasy.” 

As Kanye raps about the perils of fame, RZA lays down a hypnotizing piano sample coexisting with No I.D’s drum loop. There is no question that RZA’s thumbprint is all over the place on this song, as well as other moments on the album. 

"Molasses" - Earl Sweatshirt

By  2013, the Los Angeles alternative Hip-Hop collective Odd Future had reached the height of their global recognition. The group, known for their militia of talent and personalities, the comparisons to the Wu-Tang Clan inevitable. Things came full circle for Odd Future when RZA and Earl Sweatshirt would join forces on Earls’s debut album, Doris, on the exuberant track, “Molasses,” where the two go back and forth on the track exclaiming, “I’ll fuck the freckles off your face bitch!”

Earl spits a playful, tongue in cheek verse while RZA samples Lennie Hibbert’s song “Rose Len.” The song is reminiscent of GZA’s classic track, "Liquid Swords," with the piercing string loops and steady bass line; the track was the perfect introduction to RZA to a younger generation. 

"Liquid Swords" - GZA/Genius feat. RZA

The murky classic that cemented RZA as a pillar of grimy East Coast rap at a time when the man was hot like fire. GZA's cerebral rhymes glide effortlessly over RZA's sample of famed Al Green producer Willie Mitchell's 'cover of the Young Rascals' hit "Groovin'." Child educator plus head amputator. 

"Long Kiss Goodnight" - The Notorious B.I.G.

The whispers of bad blood between Wu-Tang Clan and Bad Boy in the mid-'90s ran counter to this stellar collaboration between Frank White and The Abbott. Over RZA's foreboding strings, Biggie goes full-on villain; wallowing in murderous revenge fantasies and offering some of his most sinister wordplay. 

"The Baddest Man Alive" - The Black Keys

Coming from the soundtrack of RZA’s debut feature-length film, written and directed by himself, The Man With The Iron Fists, we get a collaboration with Ohio blues-rock band, The Black Keys with “The Baddest Man Alive.” 

The song features The Black Keys signature blues-rock sound and some dope bars from RZA, rapping some Wu-tang centric shock value bars from sucking the milk out of a grizzlies titties having a threesome with apes. The song works as the theme song for RZA’s character, Blacksmith. 

"Daytona 500" - Ghostface Killah feat. Raekwon and Cappadonna

How do you flip one of the most sampled songs in the history of Hip-Hop in a way that manages to still sound fresh and unique? That's a rhetorical question: RZA's alchemy is his gift alone. This is one of the greatest singles in the entire Wu discography, carried by Ghost, Rae and Cappadonna's razor sharp rhymes; but also RZA's brilliant use of Bob James' classic "Nautilus."

“Doe Or Die (RZA Remix)” – AZ

This hard-hitting remix to AZ’s classic tune from his debut album, “Doe or Die,” with a bass line that’ll make you hit the stank face along with the piercing horn sample heard throughout, makes this song a hidden gem amongst rap fans. 

Raekwon is added to the track on the remix, spitting aggressive verses throughout the track about diamonds, cars, and women.

"Can It All Be So Simple" - Wu-Tang Clan

The soulful flip of Gladys Knight carries this murky, gloomy, absolutely perfect track. Ghost and Rae establish their legendary chemistry, and RZA elevates himself into the upper echelon

"New Day" - Watch The Throne

“Me and the RZA connect,” Kanye and Jay-Z refrain throughout the song, a callback from Raekwon’s classic single, “Incarcerated Scarfaces.” The track samples Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good’," as the Throne rap personal lyrics dedicated to their then-unborn sons. 

Kanye West signature chipmunk-soul sampling accompanied with RZAs niche for making melancholy atmospheric beats shine on this track, making it one of the most ear-grabbing songs on Watch the Throne.

"C.R.E.A.M." - Wu-Tang Clan

It's on the short list of the greatest Hip-Hop songs of all time. Deck opens things in memorable fashion, as Rae gets mournful. The song that woke up any and everyone who was still sleeping on the Clan. They'd made noise with street singles and some video play, but this classic changed everything.

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