RZA is an American rapper, record producer, musician, actor, filmmaker and author. A prominent figure in hip hop, RZA is the de facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan. He has produced almost all of Wu-Tang Clan’s albums as well as many Wu-Tang solo and affiliate projects. He is a cousin of the late group-mate Ol’ Dirty Bastard and GZA (who also formed the group with RZA). He has also released solo albums under the alter-ego Bobby Digital, along with executive producing credits for side projects. In addition to the Wu-Tang Clan and his solo releases, RZA was also a founding member of the horrorcore group Gravediggaz where he used the name The RZArector.
Furthermore, he has acted in several movies, including Coffee and Cigarettes, American Gangster, Gospel Hill, Life Is Hot in Cracktown, Ghost Dog, Funny People, Derailed, Due Date and Repo Men. He also appeared in the Showtime TV series Californication. His directorial debut is for the film he co-wrote and in which he plays the title role, The Man with the Iron Fists, also starring Russell Crowe.
The magazine The Source placed him on its list of the 20 greatest producers in the magazine’s twenty-year history. He also made the “Elite 8” in the search for The Greatest Hip-Hop Producer of All Time by Vibe. NME placed him on their list of the 50 Greatest Producers Ever.
In 2007, he did the score of the Japanese anime Afro Samurai starring Samuel L. Jackson. He recently and quietly released an instrumental album entitled, The RZA-Instrumental Experience, and worked with Raekwon on his highly anticipated Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II.
RZA also worked with Kanye West on the latter’s fifth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, as well as Watch The Throne by Kanye and Jay-Z. Also RZA revealed that he recently decided to clean out his beat machines of instrumentals he made for the Wu-Tang Clan that were never used; as a result, he has so far given away ten beats each to Nas, Busta Rhymes and Talib Kweli, as well as 20 beats for Kanye West, including the two that were used on the artist’s most recent two albums.
RZA also contributed vocals to three songs on John Frusciante’s 2012 EP Letur-Lefr and in 2013 he contributed vocals to one song on Kid Cudi’s 2013 album Indicud. In August 2012 RZA founded a new record label Soul Temple Records with a distribution deal from RED Distribution. On September 28, 2012 he hosted a show “Equals Three” replacing Ray William Johnson. He appeared on Earl Sweatshirt’s album Doris, contributing a verse on the track “Molasses”. Despite artistic disagreements with Raekwon, RZA and The Wu-Tang Clan released their sixth album A Better Tomorrow in 2014.
In 2016, RZA and Paul Banks teamed up as Banks and Steelz for a joint album Anything But Words. Guest appearances include Kool Keith, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, and Masta Killa. They have two singles “Love + War” and “Giant “.