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A Guide to RZA’s Soundtrack Work

This week marks the debut of The Man With the Iron Fists, a film so enamored of its own ludicrousness that it could only have come from minds such as those possessed by Wu-Tang super-producer RZA and pop-culture singularity Quentin Tarantino.

 


While the movie guarantees a near-lethal helping of the Wu-Tang Clan’s pet eccentricities–Kung-fu, violence, chess (I hope)–it’s far from the RZA’s first foray into the world of cinema.

Throughout the past decade, Bobby Digital has built a second career providing stylish, hip-hop-inflected soundtracks to upwards of 30 movies, video games and TV shows.

If, after listening to the following tracks, you say to yourself, “You know, that was all right, but it really should have gone on for ninety minutes straight,” then you are part of the target market for The Man With the Iron Fists.

 

“Fast Shadow,” from Ghost Dog (1999)

You could call Ghost Dog a trial run for The Man With the Iron Fists. Both movies involve African American practitioners of Asian martial arts locked in improbably violent struggles. Only one, however, can claim the secret weapon that is Jim Jarmusch.

 

“Fatal,” from Blade Trinity (2004)

I love that at some point the producers of the Blade series—in which Wesley Snipes rocks ridiculous hair so as to better fight vampires/ taxes—there came a point of collective agreement in which everyone decided to go ahead and abandon the series to its own Escalade-sized ridiculousness. And hey, no one does straight-faced grandiosity quite like the members of the Wu-Tang Clan.

 

 

“Fury in My Eyes,” from Afro Samurai (2007)

Can we add the 2007 miniseries Afro Samurai to the “General Index of Underappreciated Things”? The stylish cartoon included a brash visual style and a soundtrack from none other than the RZA, who contributed this beat with its positively delectable hook.

 

“Crane/White Lightening,” from Kill Bill vol. 1

In his most soundtrack-ish soundtrack work to date, RZA provided the musical constituent to the first half of Quentin Tarantino’s samurai pulp masterpiece, Kill Bill. Immediately after tracking this clip, the two skipped off to partake in a carefree afternoon of scrapbooking, braiding each others’ hair and gossiping about which Kurosawa films were the coolest.


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Shane Danaher's affection for pop music has peppered his adult life with a variety of aesthetically rewarding and financially disastrous decisions. After moving to Portland, Oregon for college (because that's where he heard Modest Mouse was from) Shane has wound up participating in the music world in roles ranging from 'drummer' to 'promoter' to 'bathroom floor scrubber.' He has toured without money, written about almost every band ever to have come out of the Pacific Northwest, and one time traveled all the way to Los Angeles just to see a catch hip-hop show. He currently resides in Portland, where he writes about hip-hop, pop and rock music for a variety of publications. He still plays drums. He wants to meet Kanye West.

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Posted in: Featured, Hip Hop Music


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