RZA Says His New Rock The Bells Radio Show, 'Wu-Wednesdays' Will Bring That 'Shaolin Bodega Flavor'

RZA Says His New Rock The Bells Radio Show, 'Wu-Wednesdays' Will Bring That 'Shaolin Bodega Flavor'

Published Wed, November 29, 2023 at 10:00 AM EST

It's late afternoon on a Tuesday, and legendary multi-hyphenate RZA is audibly excited.

It makes sense. He's on the verge of introducing his new show, Wu-Wednesdays, on LL COOL J's Rock The Bells Radio to audiences, a new venture that he knows will resonate with fans of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan and Hip-Hop in general.

"As a producer, I'm always looking to infuse my creative take on things, and this show will be that," RZA says.

One of the most respected figures in Hip-Hop history, RZA's cultural influence can't be overstated. He's touched some of the most revered music of the past three decades, stamped his creative imprint on beloved, classic films, created genre-bending comic books, and expanded the bounds of creativity in general through his artistic vision.

Now, 30 years after the debut of The Wu-Tang Clan's landmark album, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), RZA's tackling a new creative challenge with #WuWednesdays, a show he hopes will help not only continue to build on Wu-Tang's storied legacy, but pay homage to the foundational elements of Hip-Hop, even as it continues to look toward the future.

He says the show, which will air every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST, will also feature exclusive interviews, unique insights into the inner workings of the Wu-Tang Clan, as well as take a deep dive into the work of the Wu's most charismatic member, the late Ol' Dirty Bastard.

"We plan to make this thing like a very fun experience," RZA says. "And when you look at Rock the Bell Radio, a place where you get such great legends from Roxanne Shanté to Grandmaster Caz, there's so many great legends who host on the air and give us these classic vibes. Wu is gonna continue that, but also add that Shaolin bodega flavor that only we can bring."

Rock The Bells caught up with RZA to talk about his plans for Wu-Wednesdays, and get his insight on why radio still is such an important medium. 

With Wu-Tang Clan being known for its innovative style and influence on Hip-Hop, how do you plan to incorporate your legacy into Wu-Wednesdays? Can listeners expect any exclusive insights or stories behind some of your iconic tracks?

Yeah, the plan is to not only invite the listeners into exclusive stories and insights and information about how some of the iconic tracks were made and produced, and the backstories to them, but also Wu-Wednesdays will be utilized to have that moment in radio be very reflective of some of the foundation cores of Hip-Hop and some of the foundation cores of radio. As a producer, I'm always looking to infuse, I guess, my creative take on things. And this show will be that. It will infuse a little twist, and some surprises as well, of the Wu vibe, the Wu legacy, and as well as the creative energy that is all embodied inside the Wu-Tang, all that will make its appearance on the show.

Can we expect any guest appearances from other members, or just other collaborators? And if so, how do you plan on choosing who's gonna show up on the show?

We definitely plan to have other members participate, being guest hosts in different weeks. There's many people over the years who collaborated with Wu-Tang, from the old school and the new school, whether it's someone as cool as our brother Nas or someone as recent as Coi Leray. You know what I mean? The Wu movement and vibe has touched a lot of Hip-Hop culture from Grandmaster Flash all the way up to Drake. And our goal is to kind of show, through the music and through interviews, the synergy of the Wu vibe. And so yes, we're looking to have a lot of special guests and a lot of good energy. And just for kickers, I plan on running up on people with my iPhone and asking them questions and recording them and then blasting it on the air, yo.

It's interesting that you just mentioned the connectivity of Wu-Tang across generations. Are you excited to share any personal stories or lessons you've learned with your audience?

Yeah, of course. Wu-Wednesdays will not only feature never heard before stories of RZA, Method Man, Ghostface, and Wu-Tang Clan, but also some stories of Hip-Hop that have dwindled away out of existence because of time and a lot of people not being there to give you a good [version] of the story. So we're planning on having a segment that will deal with the current things as well as a segment that will give you a blast from the past.

You touch so many different aspects of creativity – you're a producer, a filmmaker, an author, and more. How do you plan on incorporating all of your creative experiences into this show?

Well that's one of the cool things about you know me as an individual but also as Wu-Tang as a whole is our reach, you know. You know, whether it's talking to some of our great film directors and getting a take on a vibe that they have that may be based on music or based on Hip-Hop culture, there's a lot of sports icons... It's just such a vast well to pull from. And myself, being in those worlds, in one capacity or another, I plan on bringing it to the show and giving people just some insight and cross-pollination of art that they may not have expected.

Using myself for an example, when I was composing Kill Bill and making music for that film, we were bringing in sounds into cinema that were unique, you know, [Gheorghe Zamfir] and the Lonely Shepherd song with the flute and all that. Some of those sounds went on to be sampled by other artists throughout the industry, people making their own tracks and making their own vibes from sampling ideas we brought to the table in our soundtracks. So it's gonna be fun to look back on that and to show the connectivity of Hip-Hop, Wu-Tang, cinema, comic books, and all these beautiful things. We plan to make this thing like a very fun experience.

I'm a grandmaster in Hip-Hop now. It's important that we show and share our techniques to the next generation.


How do you think shows like Wu-Wednesdays contribute to both the evolution and the preservation of Hip-Hop?

Well, being a Hip-Hop baby, you know, second generation, I guess, if you think about it, it was actually those small one-hour radio shows, or weekly radio shows that helped pioneer Hip-Hop to be what it is today. Hip-Hop started from a single radio show if you really want to go back, right, first it was just an independent public access radio, where somebody had to come on at two o'clock in the morning. I remember the World Famous Supreme Team coming on and kids putting their ear to the dial trying to tune into the station just to hear some type of vibe that this Hip-Hop culture was bringing. And years later, of course, Mr. Magic gets a chance to bring it to WBLS.

And then the legacy is born, it's like the first Hip-Hop radio show on a national, or on a major label, shall we call it. And then we think back to Stretch and Bobbito, and there's a list in each place — Sway and Tech with The World Famous Wake-up Show down in the Bay Area. People just having one hour to spend but yet, feeding the fans the creativity, the imagination, the dance, the move, the spirit, and most importantly the culture of Hip-Hop spreads that way.

So I think that my goal is to add on to that flavor, and continuing the legacy of what Hip-Hop has done, to add the Wu flavor. Even though Wu's had a lot of success, we didn't make a lot of our music directly aimed at radio. We just made it, you know? And eventually, it ended up on the radio. And yet there's still a lot of songs that may have not been played on the radio, but millions of fans around the world love it. And it's something magical when it comes through a radio, when it comes through your satellite and it shows up in your car and you're getting the frequency of that. There's something special about that, and special about those moments. And my goal is to bring those moments to the table, to combine and keep the legacy of what Rock The Bells Radio is already doing, which you know, I'm driving in the morning to drop my son off, I don't drop him off now, he's in college, but when we was driving to drop him off in school and Rock The Bells Radio, that was our morning job, you know what I mean? And those types of vibes are needed. And now on Wu-Wednesdays, you know, I think we have a cool slot, whether you're driving home or whatever, you know, here's a vibe, you get into some Wu Chamber and continue the Hip-Hop legacy.

Speaking of Wu's legacy, this year marks 30 years since the release of 36 Chambers and 50 years of Hip-Hop. How do you think those milestones intersect with the launch of Wu-Wednesdays? Could you share your thoughts on why that timing is so significant?

Hip-Hop's 50th is something of course that we all celebrate around the world, something that's very appreciative that the culture has shown that it has perseverance. And then when you look at Wu-Tang at 30 years and see that perseverance as well, there's something parallel in that growth. You know, Hip-Hop, for me, has been my guiding light since the age of seven, you know? And at that time, Hip-Hop was a baby. You know what I mean? And so I grew up with that baby. Cause I'm a grandmaster in Hip-Hop now. It's important that we show and share our techniques to the next generation. So these techniques, these vibes, this energy, this creative force, this positivity, this thoughtful, thought-provoking music, sometimes in political aspects, sometimes it's just song and dance and laugh, sometimes “Peter Piper picked pepper and run rock rhymes,” you know? This energy has to be continued to be shared and nurtured. I'm at a point in my life where I'm in the giving space. I've been blessed so much and have so many things that I've acquired that this is me taking a moment to give back some of my time, some of my creativity, and that Wu vibe. And every Wednesday people could show up and get that.

Catch Wu-Wednesdays beginning on Nov. 29 on SiriusXM's Rock The Bells Radio.

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