This week we venture into the world of the RZA via RZA as Bobby Digital.
The album might feature predictable elements, nearly nonsensical lyrics, sampled dialogue from kung fu flicks and eerie beats, but the end result is really rather remarkable. It’s a document proving that RZA is a genius (though not the Genius).
Those elements can be found on any Wu-Tang album, but RZA takes risks. He has beats that almost sound like they could make it onto the radio. He has interludes that have variations on a theme. This is actually a very tight album.
And while it is tight in structure and production, RZA is loose with his flow. When he remarks about drinking “Bud Lite beer with Buzz Lightyear” it’s an example of his sharp humor. And while “Domestic Violence” borders on the typical misogyny found in hip-hop, RZA tempers it with genuine regular-Joe frustration at a failed relationship with a woman he’s grown to hate. It’s much more a vent than anything else.
Of course the cover art is classic, with an illustrated RZA in full action-hero/super-hero movie poster pose (by renowned artist Bill Sienkiewicz). This album really is a complete package. It reinforces the claim that RZA is a premier producer, yet undermines the notion that he’s not so great on the mic.