Just over a month ago, Wu-Tang Clan’s U-God released his memoir RAW: My Journey Into the Wu-Tang — a vivid recounting of his life from the projects to the epicenter of Hip Hop. The book made headlines for its criticism of RZA, who has responded to U-God’s claims in a new interview with Rolling Stone.
“Look, every man has a right to write a book,” RZA said. “Some are myths, some are fantasy, some are sci-fi … I don’t know if this book falls totally in nonfiction.”
The Wu-Tang co-founder addressed the accusations of being a control freak by pointing out the group had their own contracts and noted that they’ve released more solo projects without him than with him.
“If I’m the problem for anybody’s growth and development in music, then why [is it that] after 18 years after everybody got released from the Wu-Tang Productions contract in 2000, your growth has not shown through your own talent then if that’s the problem?” he asked.
He also took aim at U-God’s claim that putting management in the hands of RZA’s family members, specifically Mitchell “Divine” Diggs, held the group — as a unit and as individuals — back from signing with more prominent agents.
“Of course this is a family business,” RZA said. “My brother [Divine] has always been that guy in my life.” He also pointed out the agency issue was out of his hands. “Agents solicit you, you don’t solicit them.”
RZA was particularly bothered by U-God’s frustration over being charged a fee to use the Wu-Tang logo. He paid for the rights to the logo in the ’90s and started enforcing a usage fee because the brand became diluted.
“Nobody was standing behind the ‘W’ in the reality,” he noted. “Who promoted A Better Tomorrow? Nobody. Even on [2007’s] 8 Diagrams, nobody showed up for their own video shoot. But you still want the company to represent you? If he’s gonna give [the logo] to [another label] who’s going to make an economic off that, he should at least pay a 10 percent fee for the usage of my logo.”
RZA did agree with U-God’s comments about the group needing to perform newer material at live shows. He shed some light on why the group “seem to be stuck in a certain chamber of music.”
Despite all the criticism, The Abbot doesn’t have any ill will for Golden Arms. In fact, he’s glad to see U-God doing so well right now.
“More than anything, I’m happy because I’ve watched a couple of U-God’s interviews and he seems engaged and happy and satisfied, and that’s what an artist needs,” RZA said. “He’s always been a good artist. In his book, he writes that he was looked down upon. I think he doesn’t realize how much people love him … he’s an important piece to this Wu puzzle, and I’ve got nothing but love for him, personally.”
Read the full interview here.