RZA: Wu-Tang Clan, Kung Fu, Chess, God, Life, and Death | Lex Fridman Podcast #228 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "RZA: Wu-Tang Clan, Kung Fu, Chess, God, Life, and Death | Lex Fridman Podcast #228".
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The following is a conversation with RZA, the rapper, record producer, filmmaker, actor, writer, philosopher, Kung Fu scholar, and the mastermind of the legendary hip hop group Wu Tang Clan. This is the Lex Friedman podcast. To support it, please check out our sponsors in the description. And now, here's my conversation with RZA.
Discussion On Personal Inspirations & Cultural Icons
Life and death (00:24)
In the Tao of Wu, you write, "When my mother left the physical world, I lost one of my main links to the universe. They say that you have an umbilical cord and an etheric cord, which is the invisible cord that attaches you to your soul, your mother's soul, and all other souls. When one passes away, you really lose something. It's physical and mental. It's real. Part of you dies." What have you learned about life from your mother? I'm not long life itself from my mother. You know, being one of 11 children and seeing the sacrifice that she gave to us, therefore given to life, is the really the greatest lesson of life. The thing that shook me as I wrote those words was coming up young with arrogance, confidence, knowledge of myself. They called me the scientists. We was taught due to Supreme Being. In order to be the Supreme Being, you got to be Supreme amongst other beings. I understand that more now than I did then because then it was so literal. The word "guard" derived basically from the Greek language, as they say, and it meant wisdom, strength, and beauty. Yeah, we could have that, but the power to control life and death is something that you would assume is a guard trait. So now, here you are saying that you're a God, right? And you're reading the Bible how Jesus brought back Lazarus. And, you know, now it's your turn to do something. And when my mother was laying there in the hospital bed, and air was no longer coming out of her lungs and going into her lungs, where's my power to bring her back to life? So you can't truly be God. You're powerless. Yeah, oh God, it's not the definition that we need to use to describe it because it's a translation of wisdom, strength, and beauty. So you could be that. And so I'm answering your question with you. My mother teach me about life. I learned that day on her physical passing. They'll care. You know what I mean? There's a physical me. Do you think about her? You miss her. Of course. I keep my mother and my prayer every day. And the thing I pray the most beyond giving thanks is I pray that her name, I pray that her name is honored and remembered by my family. I don't know if the world is going to remember it, right? Even though if you watch my movie, "Love Beach Roms," I named the school in that movie after my mother's just leaving somewhere else in physical space. Yeah, exactly. But yeah, painful. The pain of my mother's passing is indescribable. I get into what happens to a person they know and then they won't describe it either. Only the people that lost their mother, they could look at each other and they got this nod. You know what I mean? But one other thing happened to me was the joy of life hit me differently. And I think it was the realization of my own mortality versus my immortality. It's a big, big thing and I don't know if we'll get this expound on that. But there was a joy that overcame me because I was kind of free of a certain illusion about the immortality of my physical being versus the mortality of my physical being. And I was like, "Okay, wow, I understand." So that was the first or the hardest realization you've experienced at your mortal. Yeah. And I'll say mortal and what you're looking at here physically. I won't say my soul is mortal. I'll say it's immortal because at the end of the day, it's just like I could sit here and I could just hum, "Please, please, please," by James Brown. But James Brown is not going to come in here and do that. So in some sense, James Brown is still here in another sense. It's old as it. It's old as it. Well, it lives through you by you singing it. It lives through you by you listening to it, celebrating it. And the hope is that the human species continues to celebrate the great minds and the great creations of the past. I would add this to that equation. When I say it's immortal, I don't think it's not just only because somebody sings it, right? It's like, "Where's the fire right now?" It's in the air. You just got to sparkle. Yeah. So it's always there. Are you afraid of death? No, I'm not afraid of death. I'm not trying to see it. I'm not rushing that nowhere near me, right? That's all I know is life. My life is living. I read a lot of ancient texts that people probably know about me. I love one of the great teachers named Bodhi Dhamma. And there was a thing written in one of the books of his or one of the teachings of his and the questions. Somebody asked him similar question, "You're scared of death." Or, "What are you going to be after you die?" His answer was, "I don't know." He had answers to everything. But he was like, "I don't know." He doesn't know that. So yeah, because I haven't died yet. Well, the uncertainty to some people is terrifying. Not knowing what's on the other side of the door. Yeah. I mean, especially when you're young, you know, as a kid, fear terminated my life. You know what I mean? You know, I was actually watching horror movies and I believe in all type of supernatural things that could or can't happen. I thought I saw things as well. And you know, whether it was being projected from my own mind or whether it was visible to me, I don't know. But life is beautiful. And then we have it. And we should use it all the way to the last drop. As in the mortality, the gift your mother gave to you is realizing the immortal and so doing help you realize that life is beautiful. On this topic, Quincy Jones, I read, "Set to ODB in you when it rains, get wet."
Quincy Jones (07:43)
What do these words mean to you? Well, I think what Quincy was saying at that time was, you know, I think I was more conservative like as a person and like, you know, had money, women wanted me. Anything I kind of wanted, I probably could have had, you know what I mean? And he was just saying, "When it rains, get wet. Enjoy this, man. It's raining on you." You know what I mean? Don't put up the umbrella. Don't go back in the house. Get wet. Experience the moment. Yeah. And enjoy it. I didn't take total heed to him at that time. A couple of years later, I took some heed. But at that time, I didn't take heed. And when I took heed, I think that I may have misinterpreted by looking at his example of getting wet versus my example of getting wet. And I have to tell you right now, I'm getting wet right now in my way. Getting part thanks to your mother, but overall, you just learned how to appreciate the rain, just like the experience of every moment. Yeah, and I'll share this with you because this is going to be a very open conversation and I haven't had this conversation. So definitely important to my mother, then important to my wife. I meet my wife. It's my second wife. But I met her after my mother passed. And she was just a friend. You know, some girl, I met her because she was beautiful and actually built the friendship. But a few years later, when the relationship became like, you know, this is going to be my woman, it was actually doing the middle of my divorce. And I was like, you know, do I run wild and hey, you know, me and my wife already filed, we were separated and do I run wild and I didn't run wild a little bit, but not too wild. Right. And, you know, I'm a still a man. I said hip hop guys. I read you know how to party. Yeah, exactly. So the funny thing is that my wife now, I name is Talani. My uncle said she reminds me of your mother. He knew my mother when before I knew my mother. And he saw that and we ended up dating, got engaged and then her mother passes. And so now there's a total understanding of everything. And we actually helped build each other back up. So, of course, I have to thank my mother for the awareness. Then I thank my wife for bringing that awareness to actualization, like to actually feel it. I don't think I'd be talking to you right now and talking as much as I do these days. If it wasn't for the security and peace and harmony that I was able to gain at home, you know. And like you said, you now share that look of having to both lost here. Yeah. Your mom. What have you learned from Quincy about music, about business, about life? Quincy Jones is a great mind, a great artist, you know, a treasure in all reality. He's seen it from when it was, he couldn't walk in this. He couldn't eat in the same places he played his music at to own in places bigger than those. He's the type of guy you spend one hour with him. You got a lifetime of information. And I was blessed to spend multiple hours with him in days with him. And, you know, just a certain period of time where we came across each other and he was always there to share the knowledge. That's another thing about him, I think, especially. But hopefully I picked that up is that he's always willing to share, share with his experience, his knowledge. I mean, I think he'll even share his home to the right person if he feels that that's what they need to get back on that fee. He's a very beautiful man. So just the kindness, the goodness of the man is like the thing that really rubbed off on you. Yeah. I mean, minimal. I mean, Quincy Jones also in his fifties as a producer, produced one of the greatest albums of all time and one of the greatest selling albums of all time. I just great critically, economically great. And I mean, I think he's, he did it at the age I am right now. So I might have a great year coming up. Time and well. Yeah. So now you got to taste the greatness is you get to see what greatness is. So you know what. It's happy. Let's do it yourself. Yeah.
Quentin Tarantino (13:06)
You've have a few people you've worked with who are fascinating, like yourself. Quentin Tarantino, you worked with him. When somebody asked you to describe him with one word, you said encyclopedia. What have you learned from the guy about filmmaking and about life again? A very generous man with his knowledge. And for me, he shared it, I think in a way that was unique in the sense of no at a point in time, you know, we just was super duper tight. Like, you know, I don't go into his crib and watch movies and just having long conversations about art and about life. You know, man. So I learned the lie. I could sit at him, you know, especially when it comes to anything cinematic in my life. I could sit at him, the grandfather, that for me. I think, you know, I humbly asked him to mentor me, which is a very humbling thing to do, coming from my neighborhood, coming from who I am, coming from, I was already a multi-platinum artist, you know, I mean, it was the year, it was past the year 2000 already. So like 2001, 2002 that I asked him to mentor me. So I was the... It was already me, you know what I mean? But I humbled myself because I saw him a craft of brainpower that to me resonated with me, but I was just a Patamon that I was a novice at it because I was trying to make movies and my music, you know, trying to make videos and here was a man who was a master of it and an encyclopedia of it as well. You know, like film history, film history from whether it's the actor, the director, the cinematographer, maybe even the costume designer. He made no 50s, 60s, he made no to 50 greatest costume designers in his memory. I mean, it's God's brain. Both of you have pretty good memory. I'd love to be a fly in the wall of that conversation and Kung Fu movies, mostly you guys most of you guys most of you. But I think we started our relationship trying to outdo each other. Knowledge wise or what? Yeah, movie knowledge wise. Actually Kung Fu movie knowledge wise. And I think that category, it wasn't another category. I wouldn't have had a chance, but at least in that category, I was pretty holding my weight. For one. You know what? I'll be honest and say that I may have said a few he didn't see, but Quinn is older than me. So he could go back further. Yeah, he could go back to 72 without any C1 yet. You know what I mean? Yeah. Yeah. Well, he said master the flying guetine that I got a chance to, that you commentate over today and I got a chance to see the screening of, he said that's one of his favorites. For you, the 36 chamber of Shaolin, the master killer is your favorite best ever. Would you say that's the greatest Kung Fu movie ever? It's hard to say the greatest ever, right? Because somebody may make another one and it depends on your own phase of life. But I will put that first. If I want to introduce somebody to Kung Fu movies, that's a beautiful entry.
Kung Fu (16:32)
You talk about knowledge. You talk about wisdom. What kind of wisdom do you draw from Kung Fu movies? You know what? The martial art itself and the movies. It's endless wisdom to be drawn and I draw it. You know, I draw it in a way that I could decipher it in my own life. So for instance, in the movie, master killer, he basically, when he does Kung Fu, he does a really, a style called the hung-ga technique. The director of the movie is actually a hung-ga expert who has a lineage that traces all the way back to Shaolin Temple. And this director always wanted to keep his movies per and the brain hung-ga to the world. It's like he wanted to show the world this lineage. In fact, you just said master of the flying guillotine is Quentin's favorite movie and we mentioned it. 36 chambers is my favorite movie. But the action director of master of flying guillotine is the director of 36 chambers at Shaolin. Yeah. And some of the things that's happening in master of the flying guillotine is really the infant stage of what this action director is going to learn and then use later on in his movies. So that's the beauty of it. It's almost like, you know, Quentin is seeing him in his generation. So Quinn might have been the same age I was watching that movie and then when he becomes the director, I'm at Quentin's age and I'm seeing his work. So some symbionis relationship there. And I'll end this question by saying, hung-ga deals with the five animal technique, the tiger, the crane, like the leopard, the snake, and the dragon. Those are the five. That's the five pattern. Some people go seven, some go 12. But it's a stick to the five pattern in fist. How do a man emulate a tiger? And you see a tiger's fist. He curls before he spawns on you. How does a man emulate a snake? It doesn't have to be only in the colorful move. It's in the ideology of the snake. It's in the agility of the crane. At any moment, sometimes punching a person is not going to work as they would say a leopard fist or a tiger paw. So sometimes you may have to poke them in the eye with the crane's beak. So having your mind able to adapt the instinct of the animal when you are being attacked or when you are being the aggressor. That's something that you don't need a form for. That's the mentality. So come forward. Like I said, it informs me endlessly because at first I was trying to hold my... Like I can't really hit you with that and really hurt you unless I've been banging my hand a thousand times on some bricks and made it so callous or muscles are so strong. But the idea that if me and you were to get into a fight and I'm going to tie it up on you and take that instinct and prance when I'm a prance. So fly away like the stalk. You know what I mean? Like go. That's the mentality. It's much more than the technical moves. It's much deeper. Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting. I mean when I see the Kung Fu movies, I love martial arts, all martial arts and competitive ones too like the actual competitions and so on. It just seems like Kung Fu movies go much deeper than just like the techniques. Yeah. They still out. I mean if you see it, right? I watched the great M.A. fight recently. Just interesting because he was on top of the guy and the way he got from under him. It had to be his spirit got from under him. It's something like mixture of crane and whatever. Snake, ill, with a slippery ill technique. Yeah. I love that when people become artists in the cage or they, that's much bigger than just like winning, much bigger than particular techniques. It's just art, especially at the highest level competition where millions of people are watching. Which is pressure within itself. Yes. Yes. That's art under pressure is even more beautiful art. You know, you look at some of these fights and you wonder like why somebody wins the moves. Sometimes the less talented guy could win because he could deal with the pressure. With other guy, he could have beat them. There was somewhere else but not in this arena.
So you're a scholar of history, including hip hop history. I've listened to so many of your interviews. You've spoken brilliantly about some of the big figures in hip hop history, Tupac, Biggie, and many others. What made them special in the history of music? That's a good question. So I don't know if I'm the authority to answer it, but I'll just speak my piece on it and maybe I could just add on because I'm sure it's a lot of people that spend a lot of time with them that could speak on it. But just as a fellow artist, I think not only was B.I.G. adult lyricist, I think he had a voice that was really a magulist in the sense that some rappers get on top of music and you got to get used to them when you got to vibe with them. But he make a record sounds like a record immediately. If you go back and listen to his music, you could take his voice and put it on anything and for some reason, it sounds like a record. You mean just like the raw voice of the man? Yeah. You could just listen to it raw and it sounds like a record. Yeah. If you put a beat, take his voice to put it on any beat, he just has a voice. It's a magulist. So it's lyrical skills and all that was great. You got to think once again, he's doing all this, he's not even 25 years old.
Then you go to POC. Once again, immaculate voice, but what POC had I think was a way of touching us on all of our emotions and especially on, like POC had the power to infuse your emotional thought like Brenda has a baby, their mama, but then he had the power to arouse the rebel in you. You know? And those two things, actually, he was probably more dangerous than big, no choice B.I.G. Like no choice B.I.G. We could party with him to this day. We were still, but POC was probably going to a point, you know, he was more going into the Malcolm X of things and society fears that. Yeah, so he was really good at communicating love and at starting revolutions. Yeah. And that's dangerous. Now he does. And they communicated love, but he wasn't starting a revolution. Well, it's interesting to think about what the world would be like if they were still with us, but it's the way the world, Hendrix, a lot of those guys just go to S.I. It's a peculiar thing. You asked me earlier, am I scared of death? And I asked you, no, not scared of death. I'm not trying to see it though. You know what I mean? It's like that was the block of death. It's like, I'm not really going right there right now. I'm making a love for a right turn. You know what I mean? Unless it was mandatory for some greaterness, greater good. It's like, okay, I got to drive through that. You know what I mean? Everybody can still happen. That's the meditation on death part where you could die at the end of today. Yeah. You could die or die in death. I think it's two different things personally. The process, you mean, of death or just? Yeah. I mean, you could die like a secret die every day. You could die and not be yourself. You know what I mean? Which is crazy. But to get to a point of no return, you know, that's a whole nother chamber. I mean, there's some sense in which, um, the rest of the producer becomes somebody else completely when you're making a film, becomes somebody else completely when you're, um, I don't know, playing chess, becomes completely when something different when you do kung fu or watch kung fu or when you're a family man, all of those are little deaths when you transition from one place to another. So it's not like you're one being. You're many things. Yeah. I was describing, now I would describe that as our life. Yeah, it's fun.
Outside of you and, uh, anybody on Wu Tang, who is the greatest rapper from a lyrics, like a wort Smith perspective in hip-hop history or some of the greatest, maybe some candidates? His name a few. I mean, you're going to have to start with a rock cam, you know, you're going to have to pick who you are up in there. You know what I mean? So going back. You're going to have to pick up with those brothers first. You might have to, if you want a good technically, you might have to start with Grandmaster Cass, you know what I mean? Who you might not, you might not even heard of, you know what I mean? But you may have sung his lyrics every time you sang Sugar Hill, "Rapper's Delight." Because that's his. That was it. They copied his, they copied his and they made it his. But point being made, but I'll name a couple more. I got to put knives in that category. You know, we've got a chessboard in front of us and one of the greatest chess players, the youngest Grandmaster, you know, before, I think, Carlson was Bobby Fisher. Right? So it's just used Bobby Fisher as American. One of the greatest American chess players is of course, Susan Poga may have tied his record as the youngest Grandmaster and she's the youngest female Grandmaster, I think, to date. But he was a master at what, 14? Yeah, something like that. All right. So now, to me, I met Nas when he was 15. He was already a master lyricist. It takes about 10 years to become a master lyricist. So by the time the world heard Wu-Tang, most of us had 10 years of rapping in us already. So that's why you met us at a mastery level. The jusuit was already a master when Nas was a master, but jusuit was 21, Nas was 15. Nas is like the Mozart of rap. Yeah, Bobby Fisher. Because Bobby Fisher is born something in him or maybe those early years just because he's not just good at the lyrics. He goes deep with it, just like you. So he's like, there's depth, it's not just mastery of the words smithing. It's just the message you actually sent across. It's an information. Yeah. And to a small phrase, that's the whole thing of energy. How do we condense all that energy into this so that it could fuel that? Yeah, he's definitely one of those artists MCs that does that. And he was doing it at 15. Like I said, I'm thinking five years or four or five years older than Nas. So I was always feeling my confidence of what I was doing, but I was like, this kid is only 15. I got to step up my game. When you turn 19, then we got your magic. Yeah.
Favorite verse (29:15)
From you, what are the best and most memorable lyrics you've ever written? Well, that's a hard question for me. The stuff stand out, like stuff you're really proud of that was important in your career. Yeah. I mean, I did a song called Sun Shower. I don't know if we put it on the Wu-Tang forever, double CD, but only on the international version. But if anybody could go get those lyrics and write those lyrics down, you could just put that in your pocket and I'm sure that it'll answer at least about 25% of your life's problems. Well, that's a good one. Sun Shower, when you talk about religion and God, that's good. Tomorrow, I think it's on eight diagram. I'm not a record guy. Yeah. I'm a song guy. You might have been eight diagram. Do you have an allergic from it? Yeah. The answer to all questions. Yeah. You're talking about God. Yeah. I'm talking about the fact that God is a part of all suggestions of righteousness, the pathway to the road of perfection, who gives you all and never asks more of you. The faithful companion that fights every war with you. Before the mortal view of the prehistorical, historical, he's the all in all you searching for the oracle. That's a good idea. This is so good. A mission impossible. It's purely philosophical, but you can call on your deathbed when you're laying in the hospital. You will call on your deathbed. I had a big, I have a scientist friend. Well, my wife's best friend, Rebecca, she married a scientist. They both were scientists and she married Dr. Nill. I don't, I'm going to say their last names. But Nill and Rebecca, you know, they're just my wife's best friend. So they come over and me and Nill, we go through the longest debates of science and the legend. We just go. We could go break day with it. And you know, before he had a child, he was more adamant and you know, there's, you know, don't believe in God, you know what I mean? After a child, he still kept his name, but I just hit him with the question. If you was about to die, because now you got to tell a thing about, you're thinking about yourself. I said, if you was about to die, you don't think you're going to make that call. I'm like, I'll make that call. And it kind of inspired my lyric because it was like, yeah, who you going to? And I just want to say, for us, so you mentioned, look, that is one of my favorite lyrics, but that's part two to sun shower was the prequel to sunshine. Yeah. So if you ever get a chance to check out sun shower, it starts off with trouble follows a wicked mind, 2020 vision of the prism of life, but still blind because you lack the inner. So every center could end up in the everlasting winter of hell fire with thorns and splinters, prick your eye out, you cry out your words fly out, you be made unheard. Suffering internal and external along with the wicked fraternal of genomes and kernels, that end off thermal nuclear he's that burns you firmly and permanently upon the journey through the journal of the book of life. For those who took a life without justice will become just ice. It's been taught your worst enemy couldn't harm you as much as your own wicked thoughts. But people ought to be not and listen, what? So they find themselves persecuted inside their own universal court. So that it's a long one. It's like a free pager. Wow. So it is about life. That's like character integrity, how to be how to be in this world. And that ultimately connects to God. Yeah.
Who is God? (33:13)
Who's God to you? I'm glad you just asked that question because I actually I'm going to have to make a distinguishable separation here. All right. And it's funny because I heard recently, I heard a rabbi was debating with this historian, Dr. Ben, I can't pronounce Dr. Ben name, but it was the bait. And then the debate they started going back through the etymology. They went way back beyond antiquity because they was debating it. So there was, you know, some things that was going deep and they really went far, far back to kind of the first word of, of God. And it was when they pronounced it on this particular debate, it was Allah. And it's definitely they got Allahine. I've already agreed in my heart in my life that the father, this universe proper name is Allah. And of course, in Allah, I get all, you know, and I don't think that's what I'm saying. I think that God is the same as that. I think Allah gets birth to God. In fact, if you take the word Allah, A L L A H and you take it through numerology or numbers, the number A being letter A being one L being 12. And you add it all up to his lowest, to the, you know, the last denominator, you're going to get the number seven. And the number seven is going to bring you right back to that letter G. So Allah bonds God, but God don't born Allah. How does that guy, how does Allah connect to the Oracle, the, that you're, you're going to be calling for when you're laying in the hospital? Well, what I was saying in that particular verse was that we're looking for the Oracle. We're looking for somebody else or something to help us that nobody can really help you at the end of the day. You know, and we're speaking on, on, so now that we, I don't want to say we're speaking on religion, but we're speaking on a way of life and a way of thinking. And I've read many books, of course. And I could say there's no book that my, the book that is the most strongest book I've ever read is actually the Holy car. It's stronger to me than the Bible, which I've read. It's stronger than quantum physics, which I've read is stronger than a bag of agitos. It's just, and, and I read once a British scholar said it's the most stupidest book I've ever written. And it doesn't make sense. And so I said, oh, I see why he says that. I'm not going to understand exactly why he said that as well. Why is that? Because the structure of the words are just, it's peculiar, you know what I mean? But it's almost like how some people's songs, you don't really know exactly what they say until years later. Yeah. Yeah. You have, actually with Joe Rogan, I think you talked about how a joke of Dei Chappelle hit you like a long time after. So this is kind of like the Quran. I tend to believe that we, human beings cannot possibly understand anything as big as these ideas. So I don't know. Do you think that, like are you humble in the face of just the immensity of it? To be honest, Jess, I'm humble in the face of the, you could say the world is going to pronounce words funny. And the omnipotence, the omnipotence, the magnitude, I'm humbled in the face of a law. The problem that I may have had was that I wasn't humbled in the face of God because it's just a definable thing. And that's why I think a lot of us, and I'm saying that, you know, I know when we say God, we're trying to say a lot, like people are saying that, but you're actually not saying the same thing because you're actually putting something beside him. And that's the reason why you can have gold as many guards. You can find a whole bunch of them, but you're not going to find many. There's no body beside a law, a law is one. So I know it's the whole thing, but that's my heart is there. I'm humbled by it. I'm at peace with it. And it doesn't take nothing or demerit anything from myself. That's the beauty of it. It doesn't take nothing from me, from being hoofed. So if I say, if somebody woke up your peace guard, I could take that because they're telling me that, y'all, I'm a man of wisdom. I'm a man of strength. I'm a man of beauty or some attribute of that, you know what I mean? So Wu-Tang, they the guards are wrapped. That's wisdom there, that's strength there, that's beauty that we're take that.
Wu-Tang Clan (38:23)
So Wu-Tang is one of the greatest musical artistic philosophical groups ever. Let's look hundreds of years from now. When humans are robots or aliens or whatever that's left here, they look back. What do you hope they remember about Wu-Tang? What do you hope the legacy is? Well, even if it's thousands years, I hope we don't give it an humus. But you know, look, whatever happens going to happen, but I think that my philosophy on it is that we're going to continue to advance and continue to advance things around us. But I don't see us become an extinct. Well, I mean, the reason I bring up Wu-Tang in that context, and this is a special moment in human history. It's like 100 years and we've created all of this music. Just if you think of all the richness of music that's been created over 100 years, it's not obvious to me that that's not going to stop. There's a flourishing here. So it's funny because I could see where the book of human history is written. There's a chapter on this period of time. And one of the things we did well is all the technological innovation with rockets and with the internet. But then there's also the musical innovation and film innovation. Just so much art that's being created. And Wu-Tang is a huge part of that. So I just wonder if there's a few sentences written about Wu-Tang. It just makes me wonder how they remember. I would hold that people no matter how many years are inspired by us. But I will say if I could just use Wu-Tang as itself. So we first started off the witty, unpredictable talent and natural game. By natural gaming and natural word play. And then we went to the wisdom of the universe. The truth of a law for a nation of God. Wisdom, universal, truth, or law, nation God. It's just like, so this is go back to a nation of God. Let's just take the last two letters. A nation of wisdom, strength, and beauty. Right? You know, and I'm going to go to political here, but not going political. As Wu-Tang really great is country in the world. What makes us the greatest? That's to be a question we act. Is it our wisdom? Is it our strength? Is it our beauty? Now let's just say off the easiest answer, you know what's our strength? We got the nukes. We can really, you know, between them and Russia. They thought they said, that's the argument. Who could beat them? But where's the wisdom? Then they could argue while we got the technology. Right? But then where's the beauty? When there's so much suffering in the people. So the hope is that the wisdom is in the founding documents and the imperfect but wise founding documents that celebrate freedom, that celebrate all the ideas, sort of having a lot of nukes, having a lot of airplanes and tanks. That's not important. The hope is whatever we're doing here with this "greatest country on earth" that we preserve the ideas and help them flourish. That's what I mean. So if you go back to the Wu-Tang, that's what we're striving for. We're just striving for that, you know what I mean? But you started on "Predictable" and just like, yeah, but like God deep pretty quick.
Bruce Lee (42:16)
I gotta talk to you about Bruce Lee. Who's Bruce Lee to you? Who is he to the world? What ideas of his or interesting to you? Like what, you know, you talk about like Hendrix and music, Bruce Lee is that in martial arts. He just seems to have changed the game. You know, I went as, I don't know what the word bold is the right word to say, but I went as bold as to say that he was a minor prophet. And I got that concept from the Holy Quran where it says that we send prophets to every nation, every village. We don't let nobody not hear the word in some form because it won't be fair. And so if a law is merciful, even a man who's deaf has to somehow get a sign. I don't know if Moses saw a burning bush. It was nobody else to talk to. So he had to talk to the bush. I don't know. It could have been the bush. This man too. Right? But point being made, it says that they are minor prophets and I see Bruce Lee as one of them because what he brought to the world through martial art was a whole shift in the dynamic of thinking. You know, and that happens when certain entities are born, but he didn't do it only in the physical sense. He was also philosophizing in the same process. And he was also striving to be the best of himself. So you got three things going on. I study Bruce Lee multiple times. The first of course, when I saw my first Kung Fu movie, it wasn't really Bruce Lee. It was a few green hornet clips cut together. And then I saw a black samurai. Then my following Kung Fu movies was like fearless fighters, the ghostly face, the fist of double cable. But basically, if fearless fighters, the lady put the little kid on her back and flew across the ocean, across the lake. So Bruce wasn't doing that. And then I went on to five dirty venoms and spearmen and 36 shamers. These movies are beautiful and yet they're all heightened. Bruce, they're heightened beyond doable. You're not going to... It's like surreal. They play with the world that's not of this world. Yeah. Bruce played with this world. So when I first saw Bruce, I honestly didn't think he was as good as these guys. He can't fly. He's not flying in the movies, right? But then when I saw... Because the first one I saw was the big boss, which they re-titled, Fist of Fury. But then when I saw Chinese Connection, which is the real Fist of Fury, right, I saw something different there. And I got enamored. And then of course, enter the dragon, right? Just really complete. That's why my first album was Enter the Wu-Tang, 36 shamers of Shialen. So enter the dragon and 36 put together because those are the two epitomies. So what happened is that's young me. Then teenage me studies him again and I realized, wow, look at his physicality. Look out how he's moving for real. And then I studied him again while I look at what he's saying. Then I studied him again while I look at what he stands for. Which do you like in the realm of martial arts, the real or the surreal? What the dance between the two? Yeah, I think the dance between the two because a movie to me is to entertain you. And I'm cool with Obi-Wan Kenobi disappearing out of the cloak when Vader strikes him down. And then I'm like, yo, what happened? And he's like, one Luke one. I'm cool with that, right? Because that's the imagination. And the imagination gets stimulated to the point to where as things that we saw imagined by an artist, we strive to create in our real world. This star track to me is just a precursor to our cell phones. So for me, I like the mix the two. Yeah, it's funny how science fiction, pushing into the impossible actually makes it realize eventually. Yeah, we humans like once we see an idea on screen, no matter how wild it is, we... We're trying to make it. Yeah, we're trying to make it. There's something weird young kid that gets inspired when we watch that. I'd be like, I'm going to build that. Exactly. I don't know who's going to come back to the future time machine, but you have any classmates that you think is coming from the time machine. I thought you were going back to the future. What is it? The hoverboard? Or like... Yeah, we're there at least. Somebody... They got... You see the one in the water? No. No, you know what I'm supposed to know? No, the surf hover is dope. Nice. It's dope. It actually... If you were back to a future fan, you would feel like you made it to the... You made it there. Yeah. All right. Well, now we just got to work on the time trial. It was cool to hear you talk about the Master of the Flying Guillotine today that that inspired the lyric for the Wu-Tang Clan and nothing to F with. Yeah. How does that go again? But the coach word or the learn? Nothing. I am Russian. I am Russian. But the lyric... I said I'd be tossing and forcing. My style is awesome. I'm causing more family foods than Richard Dawson. And the survey said, "You're dead." The fatal flying guillotine chows off your head. Yeah. Yeah. And it was interesting to see the guillotine in the movie today. How... I don't know. That's surreal, right? But it's not. It's engineering. It's both surreal. Right. And it adds this chaos into this real world that... And then challenges everybody to think what you're going to do with that. Yeah. How you going to beat it? Yeah. How you going to beat it? Both when you have the good and the evil and the mix of the bad guys and the good guys and you're not sure who the bad guys are. The old question of good versus evil, right? Yeah. Like you said, then the question of who was good, who was evil? But they all had a similar problem in the guillotine.
But in terms of the real, you mentioned the Godfather, good and evil. That's your favorite movie. Yeah. What makes it great, do you think? The characters, the study of family, of justice, of power, what connects with you? Oh, I mean, every one of those themes connects in the real and it connects in the cinematic way as well. The difference I think with me and the Godfather was, I've seen it during the period of time when my father was absent. And therefore, family structure and family values was actually adopted in my family because of that. You know, me and my brother, Devine, we actually, you know, took so much heed to that movie in our family life and we kind of, you know, we kind of mimic that family in this structure of somebody has to be the leader of the family. Even it was the younger. Michael was younger than Sonny and Frasier. You know what I mean? But he was worthy and my brother, Devine, is older than me. My brother, King is older than me. And it's funny, you know, sometimes Devine calls King, Frasier, I know King wants to, because King goes asking, he asked, he could beat our ass and see my language. But you're Michael. Yeah. And not by choice, like just by definition of that's what I am, you know what I mean? And it's just a blessing for me to have my older sister, my older brothers and my younger brothers look to me as just as a good light in the family. And like I said, that movie helped us. My sister's still weak. You know, the cool thing about my family, I don't know if I shared this a lot. It's a big, we all watch these movies together. And so the eight-dye grandpa, fighter, master killer, father, even as my family knows these movies, it's not just I know them, right? And then you extended further, my friends know them, right? Two. So there's a language that we all can have that actually film has informed our communication. So the Godfather, you know, which also is still a fictional story of something. But since it was based in reality, based on something real, and it was human, it wasn't so heightened. I think the purvey of it resonates. And the purvey of it is something that resonates with me. You know, you got to be, you got to plan ahead. You know, he didn't want to deal with the drugs. But that time of business was upon him. It's like, it's almost like, this is a tough one. Like sometime when the Muslim brothers come from the Middle East to America and they open up delis, right? They would sell him and we would go in there and complain to them and make them like, they used to get mad at us when we came in. But you know, and that's as a kid, but as a man, I'm like, yo, he's here to sell. They still don't have to sell to him. Like like Fido Cote on didn't want to sell the drugs. Okay, he didn't have to do it. He didn't do it. And of course, I'm some bullets to eventually somebody in the family ended up doing it. Yeah, he said, I'm in it. What about this idea that it's family before everything else? So like you're, you know, there's, there's different laws you live according to in this world and family is first. Yeah. That's, that's, that's mathematically correct. I like that. You know what I mean? There's a, there's a certain sense of, you look at powerful people, you look at Putin. There's a certain sense in which the people who are in the inner circle. That's who you take care of. That's family. Yeah. Anyone else that crosses you that, you know, there's a different set of ethics under which you operate for those people. Well, Jesus said the same thing. You know, when he said love that neighbor and our brother, he was talking about that community. Yeah. When I other lady, it's American. Hey, hey, Jesus, I'm not feeling my brother, not feeling so well. And cause you hate to say give not that, which is holy unto the dogs. If you're going to tell a woman, I'm give not that which is holy unto the dogs. And she's a woman. He just called her a dog. If I translate that in the hip hop, she's female. He called her a dog. I know how that goes. But she tried, but she said to him, but even the dog is allowed to eat the crumbs that falls from the master's table. And he went helped. He helped. Now, let's go back to just said about pulling or if you don't call it on or myself or my family, of course, the family is first. But once the family is good, it has to then spread to the community, then to the state country, world. The problem we have sometimes is that, and this is the reason why a lot of powerful families was overthrown, like why do they be had their own king with the guillotine, right? Because that once the family was strong, they didn't let the wealth, the opportunity expand out. You know, you look at Wu Tang. Yes, I found he was made strong first, but then all the whole members able to form their own corporations and they had their own sub families. It has to grow out and they took over the world.
Interests & Philosophies
You've talked about being vegan. And I don't think I heard you explain this because it connects somehow about how you think about life. So you talk about when your family is good, you grow that like circle of empathy, you grow the community. Is that how you think about being vegan, that just the capacity of living beings on earth to suffer, that you just don't want to add suffering to them? Yeah, I mean, you said it clear. It's like nothing in all reality. I came to a realization that nothing really has to die for me to live. No animal, the plants themselves, right? So this is say, you know, you want to stake, which is probably the most, you know, you know, I don't know the most expensive piece of meat, but let's just say the steak is, you know, top of the line, nice steak. And you eat a mistake for the protein to help build your muscle. And I don't know if you got it from a cow or a bull, but whether it's a cow or the bull, they grow to about 1500 pounds and if it's a bull, it's all muscly muscle and it's only in grass. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, there's, yeah, it's possible to, both as an athlete and just as a human being to perform well without meeting meat. There's something, especially in the way we're treating animals to deliver that meat to the plate. I think about that a lot. So I do, I'm a robotics person, AI person. And I think a lot about, I don't know if you think about this kind of stuff, but building AI systems as they become more and more human-like, you start to ask the question of, are we okay? If we give the capacity for AI systems to suffer, first to feel, but then to suffer, to hate and to love, to feel emotion, how do we deal with that? It starts asking the same question as you ask of animals. Are we, are we okay adding that suffering to the world? Right. And I don't think we should add the suffering because it's not necessary. Like when, look, if it's necessary, right? Because we're, you know, survival or the first law of nature is self-preservation. If you are on a desert and there's nothing else to eat, but that lizard, yeah. Yeah. Okay. You got to do what you got to do. The lizard's got to go. Yeah, you got to go. You got to do what you got to do because at the end of the day, man is, when they say man has dominion over these things, his dominion is almost like a caretaker. Out, the way we do our dominion, we dominated, eat it, cook it. Yeah. Like who, who, who's the first guy that looked at the lobster? It was like, I'm going to eat this thing. It's like, it's, it's supposed to, it's hard to eat it. Yeah. You got to go through a process to get that, a crab. I remember we see crabs when we were kids and I didn't know why I was always getting itchy throats and all that. You know, you'd kill your nose, just eat. But at the end of the day, a crab didn't provide no more than a finger word for meat, maybe. And it's hell getting that steak getting it out. It's like it's not worth it. In all reality, you could have gave me a, you could have gave me a banana and did better for my body and my appetite and my being fulfilled as full. Like look, look at the blessings of, of, of life, right? If you take a seed or you get an apple and you eat it, in that apple is multiple seeds in it. If you plant that seed, it'll give you a whole tree with a whole bunch of apples with all multiple seeds. But if you kill a fish, it can't be produced. It's done. Yeah. If you kill a cat, it's done. It's not, it's not, it's not the coming back. But when you deal with the plants, even after you eat the apple and then you defecate, your defecation is what feeds the ground, the cause of apple to grow more. Yeah. It's a circle of life. And especially there's a guy named David Foster Wallace. He wrote a short story called Consider the Lobster. If you actually think philosophically about what, from a perspective of a lobster, that's like symbolic or something, because you're basically put in the water, like cold water, and then it heats up slowly until it's no more. Yeah, it must have been like, they started eating lobsters in the inquisition. Yeah. They just enjoy, they probably enjoy torturing animals and they realize they're also delicious after the torture is finished. That's probably how they discovered it. Let me ask you a question. I know you're asking me the questions, but I just want to talk a little bit about the AI, and you said something about trying to put the emotion in it. Yeah. Right. So do we, so are you thinking there's an algorithm for emotion? Yes. But I think emotion isn't something that there's an algorithm for, for a particular system. We create emotions together. So emotion is something like this conversation. It's like magic we create together. So I've worked with quite a few robots. I've a very simple version of that. I've had, you know, Roomba vacuum cleaners. I've had them make different sounds, and one of them is like screaming and pain, like lightly, and just having them do that when you kick them or when they run into stuff, immediately I start to feel something for them. Right. So the emotion, okay, so the emotion you're saying is imposed back on the human. Yeah. But I'm asking, do you think there's an algorithm for the emotion to be imposed from a machine to machine? Yeah. That's a really good way to ask it. It's difficult because I think ultimately I only know how to exist in the human world. So it's like, it's the question of if a tree falls in the forest, nobody's there to see it. Does it still fall? I still think that ultimately machines will have to show emotion to other humans, and that's when it becomes real. I've been thinking about this a lot too. And I just, okay. Now I'll come here to you because I've been thinking about this, and this is your feel there. Yeah. Well, do you think the emotion is wave? Like light is wave, and I think it's particle. So emotion is just a small, it's like a shadow of something bigger, and I think that bigger thing is consciousness. So emotion is just... I don't know if it's a wave or particle. I haven't thought about that. I have thought about it. Whether it's something like, whether consciousness or emotion is a law of physics, like if it's that fundamental to the universe. I had a lyric. I had a lyric that said this. It comes out, they did this documentary about the planet, and they gave it, what a song is called, "The World of Confusion." I'll try to paraphrase the lyric, but in the world of the confusion, where there's so much illusions, we suck the blood from the planet. Now it needs a transfusion in the redistribution of wealth, of health, and wealth of self, and a deeper understanding about mental health. The doctor prescribed the physical solution. The psychiatrist wants to build a bigger institution, but neither have the solution or the equation to make an instrument to measure the weight of the hate vibration. What is the weight of hate? Is it heavier than the weight of love? Is it heavier than the weight of lead and side of a slug? With just 10 milligrams. That's all it takes to kill a man. But anyway, do not go on from there. Damn, that's good. But the question, you see the question there. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It can be measured. Can not be measured. I think so. I think so. You just don't got the instrument yet. Yeah. We're in the dark ages of that, but I think it could be measured. I think there's something physical, something that connects us all this much. We tend to think we humans are distinct entities and we move about this world, but I think there's some deeper connection. But we're so... Listen, science is in the... We just had a few breakthroughs in the past 100 years from Einstein and the theoretical physics side. We don't know anything about human psychology. We barely know much about human biology. We're trying to figure it all out. Yeah, I had another theory because you think about quantum, right?
As long as you say that there's an uncertainty and you have me believe there's an uncertainty, then there's an uncertainty. But if there's not an uncertainty, what happens? So I'm only saying that. It's like I said, because you look at quantum computers, they're going to give you the all the one, the one, the all. They're going to take two things and make it eight things. And by the time you multiply four of those things together, it's like this chessboard, right? The moves goes into the millions. But the thing that's introduced is the uncertainty, right? You're going to make a move. You know this already, right? And this has been played a thousand times. But sooner or later, something uncertain is going to come in or make your next move. I like the weight of these. They add the certainty. I think just like Wu Tang, I'm predictable. There's something about us humans that really doesn't like everything to be fully predictable. I mean, chess too is perfectly solvable. There's nothing unpredictable about chess. Right. I could agree to that because Bobby Fisher said in one of his books, which I actually love what he said, he said every game of chess is a draw. Yeah. The only way somebody win is when one of us makes a mistake. I mean, does it get anybody to know? Yes, what is chess? Like how do you think about chess? What's the core of your interest in chess? Do you see Kung Fu music, film, all the life, all just living through chess? Yeah. See, it's the most stimulating passage of time for me. That's also it's like it's a pastime that stimulates my mind, my music, my thoughts about life at the same time. So while some past times it's like, say baseball is watching, it's a pastime. And baseball can stimulate you depending on how you look at it. But most likely, you're not going to get this much brain activation, this much calculation, and this much thinking about yourself. And they gave them a baseball. I mean, the player maybe, but not the viewer. Chess is something that I can engage in too. And even though it's a pastime, it's giving me all the stimulation of real time in my life. It's funny because it's also, it's a funny game because it's connected through centuries of play. Just some of the most interesting people in the history of the world have played this game and have struggled with whatever, have projected their struggles onto the chessboard and thought their, and their nations have fought over the chessboard. The Soviet Union versus the United States, Bobby Fisher represented the United States. It's the basket you represented, Soviet Union.
American Gangster (01:07:26)
I got a, before I lose track of it, when we were talked about the Godfather, you were in American gangster, great film. You said it's one of your favorites too. What you were in it with Denzel Washington, what makes that movie meaningful to you? What was the like making that movie? Because it was a great, great American film. That was a great American film. It was so many things in that film. Being a part of that film was probably a blessing or a treasure. Because even if I wasn't a part of it, it just puts such great filmmaking and to me, a really cool, great story. The thing that I love about it the most really is the process of it. Which part of the process? I wouldn't have known the process if I wasn't part of it. So as a film, Joy, there was great film. But even the process of making it was like high level education for me on multiple levels. I'm working with Ridley Scott. Which is, and this is a bold statement if I say this here because I got a lot of friends that's gonna probably, but he's probably the best living director. Because watching him allow me to understand a principle that I've coined to him, and I don't know if people use it yet, called multi-vision. He seems to have the capacity to see eight things at one time. I heard on Robin Hood he had 18 cameras. I wasn't there for that. And you think he keeps him all in his mind? I seen him do it when he went to the monitors with the video playback guy. I seen him bring everything back to a point, but nothing was the same on the frame. He was already there. And he knew if he had what he was or not. And he placed the cameras there. And he saw it in his own way, and I peeped it. And I peeped it. And I said, "Yeah." And I just humbly asked him. He was gracious enough to speak to me and talk to me and confirm what I thought I saw. He confirmed it. He confirmed it. And I was able to utilize it as I'm a filmmaker now. And I see three or four things. I can't see eight yet. I'll be there though. But I could definitely, even right now, I could go like this in the room. Okay. I got it now. I got like how to make this right here, which is just us all sitting. How do I make this? Boom. Come on on. This is a story there. It's a story there. And I might just go off his hanging watch or his hanging wristband. Yeah. You know, because there's something else there too. She's dead. We don't know. Exactly. So he has this. And even though this is the scene. Yeah. You keep in that in mind, all of this in mind. What about like, can you give an inkling of other parts of the process, like the editing? Like where does the message happen? Another thing. Pedro, I don't pronounce Pedro last name, right? He's a cool guy. I had a chance to play rugby with him. He was on, was he on my team? Yeah. Well, we went both teams. But Pedro, the editor who, you know, added many great films, once again, he has our call The Cypher in Power. A good editor is a decipher, almost like breaking the enigma because he's dealing with thousands or we call it a film with millions of feet of film, at least a million feet of film. That's a lot of film before a feature. He's dealing with that. But he's dealing with multiple cameras. So it is like it's like two cameras. He got an A, B and he could just go back. No. He may have six cameras and he has to go back and deal with that process. And you know what? He knows how to tell the story again. And he proved it on American gangster as me being a witness because it's so much information. It's even when the brothers all start getting their little business and he picked one of the Bronx and he just captured every neighborhood within one minute. And you knew what would happen. You knew it all. You saw the whole rise to fame. You watched the Palmer and Scarface, who does it in two minutes. But it's only one character. So you see him go to the bank, he drops the money off, you see him by the lion, you see him get his wife or the tiger, you see him get his wife, you see all that. Then it ends on the big side of him in the big house with all the TV screens. And you see him go through it, right? Oh, in the American gangster, you're going to tell that story of rising, but you also got to include these five brothers. Yeah. And that's all in the edit. Oh, man. But also all in the director, you know, in that as well. And you got to keep track. You got to keep thinking about them because that was a story right there. Yeah. Well, I was hearing it. I don't know if they were taking pictures of him or, yeah, I might just have a little party over there. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. They're playing chess and this is great.
You said that you were always an old soul and see the world as if you're 200 years old like this life because your creative vision allows you to see the final piece you've created or you're creating very quickly, quick in the others. I heard that as if you've almost like lived many lives. You have this experience that allows you to see the vision. So let me ask you on creativity. Where does this creativity behind where does it come from? This both musically and film wise. That I don't know if I have the answer to that one, right? No, for sure. What does it come from? Only thing I could say about that is that for some reason it seems endless. And that's peculiar when I think about it myself because I was taught a lot of things from the jussel. He introduced me to mathematics. He introduced me to hip hop itself, to break dancing. I got other cousins that introduced me to graffiti, cousins that introduced me to DJing. I realized I had a lot of introductions, but the jussel definitely, my older cousin gave me a lot of early inspirations and not saying that he's not creative as creative as he was down now. I just didn't like the wide span of creativity. I don't see him doing that, right? I don't see the cousins that told me how to DJ. I didn't see them move from DJing to making the beats. My cousin who actually got me into instruments, I didn't see him leave funk and rock. He didn't go like, "I'm an orchestra composer now." I just accept myself as an artist, as a creative artist. That's what I am. I have to accept that. Now where it comes from, I don't know if I was to try to say where it comes from. Give me some type of answer. I would say from life itself. But what does it feel like? Because you mentioned during this pandemic, for example, for some reason more came to you in terms of writing. Do you feel like you're just receiving signals from elsewhere? Do you feel like it's hard work or you're just waiting? Wow. It's not even waiting or it's hard work. It's almost like I sat in one of my other lyrics. This is for the MC part of it. I said MC in the me, "It's easy as breathing." So it's like breathing? Yeah, it's just like, in fact, there's actually with the scientific thing I read about that and now you may be saying that. You heard this? I know you've had to hear this. They say that. You know, the atoms in our atmosphere, which seem to be infinite in number, are not infinite in the space they occupy. How could they end our atmosphere? And so there's a chance that at least one million atoms that you breathe in your life is breathed by Galileo. You heard this before, right? Yeah. Okay. It's very accurate. Okay. How does your body digest it? Well, let's start with the fact that most of the atoms that we're made of is from stars, right? From stars versus so, like, we're all really connected fundamentally somehow and then we're going to get the atoms to make up our body, come and leave in the same with the cells that are in our body, they die and are reborn and we don't pay attention to any of that. That all just goes through us. I don't know. That makes me feel like I'm not an individual. I'm just a finger of something much bigger, some much bigger organism. Well, because you're drinking the coffee there, right? You're going to digest that. You're going to digest those atoms, whether you're going to put them through the bow or through the urination, it's coming out or maybe you'll sweat it out. You might sneeze it out, but they're going to make their way out. How do you digest the atoms if you just breathe in Galileo? Right? How do, and that's what I think an artist does. I think something in the artist, it's like some people eat things and they're going to gain weight. People ain't going to gain weight, they want to gain muscle. I'm just giving an analogy here. I'm thinking that the artist breathes in and translates it into the arc. First they got to hear it. I think muscles don't hear that. Like don't, we receive it, but it just doesn't have to. Right, it's not, yeah, we not have the frequency. I said this to a lot of artists and even, you know, New York will consider ourselves artists in a certain way. But let's just say there's only one million artists in the world. Good. If you divide that into the population, what part of the table would it be? Tiny part. It might be that, right? Yeah. And yeah, it's that that inspires that. Oh yeah. You know, so crazy about that though, there's also a chance, I'm just going numbers and I'm just hypothesizing with you, but there's also a chance that all of this is actually informing that. Yeah. The artist is just watching this, all of this, all of the chaos of this. Yeah. So it's hard to know where the beauty comes from. Is it the artist or the chaos from the? So I just, I don't have the answer, but if I was to be forced to say something and answer, you're not twist my arm, but I'll say, I can if you want. No, thank you. I'll see life. Yeah. Yeah. Life.
Advice for young people (01:19:51)
In the Tao of Wu, you write something about confusion, which I really like. Confusion is a gift from God. Those times when you feel most desperate for a solution, sit, wait, the information will become clear. The confusion is there to guide you. Seek detachment and become the producer of your life. So I've got to ask you advice. If a young person today in high school, college is looking for some advice, what advice could you give them to be a producer of a life that can be proud of? Read the Tao of Wu. Let's start with the Wu Tang manual first. Yeah. No, you go to that second. Second. Yeah. I think you could be the Tao of Wu first and then do the manual. Because the manual is actually not to put the two books against each other, but the manual is talking about things that is so deeply connected to the music and the people in the Tao of Wu goes beyond that. So I would actually start there, which is not normally what I always tell people to start and knowledge. They didn't go to wisdom. Yeah. But since the Tao of Wu, skip ahead to wisdom, I like it. Yeah. But for a young man in high school, go to the Tao of Wu and then go back. It's just like sometimes you have my son's generation, they have to watch the second round of Star Wars and then go back. I mean, this generation is watching the Force Awakens and then they go back. But what, because if you just look at your life as an example, that's one heck of a life. There's very few lives like it. You've created some of the most incredible things artistically in this world. If somebody, you talk about that like one million right at the corner of the table, if somebody once strives dreams to become one of those, how do they do it? Well, the beautiful thing is that there are footprints left by those who've done it. And the best way is to study that. To study those who've already done what you want to do. We live on the civilizations. We say this is the greatest country in the world, but our sales are pyramid with an eye on it. You know what I mean? Because they did it before and they may have failed for some reason or something happens, but it was just a strong enough example, right? The take us further. You know, Elon Musk is sitting here trying to do better than what the rocket builders did before. He's not the first one to build the rocket. He's not the first guy to think over the electric car. He's doing it better. He's advancing it to the point that whoever picks up after him, maybe they'll get to that flying car. So that's the beauty. There's a good verse. I love finding verses to say things to confirm because this way people could take it verbally physically and then maybe even spiritually. But Christmases said the verse. He said, the fastest way to heaven is by spending time or studying the wise people, meaning the wise people who was living and those who lived before you. Study the masters.
Reflections On Life
Meaning of life (01:23:14)
Yeah. Let me ask you a big, perhaps ridiculous question, but give it a shot. What is the meaning of this whole thing? What's the meaning of life? Mm. The big question. I'm not going to rush into the answer. I'm going to give you somebody else answer first and I'll give you my answer. I remember acting this in, you know, I was 15, 16 years old. One of the brothers, you know, we studied in mathematics and the letter I itself was means I Islam. I mean the individual, right? Being a total accord with Islam. And I mean, let's finish this. Then they took the word Islam and they defined it. That Islam is an Arabic word for peace. Then they said peace is the absence of confusion. Okay? So then they took, this is something that really hit me when I never forgot it and I'm going to decipher it. But then they took the word Islam and they broke it down by the letter into an acronym like cash with everything around me. And they broke it down to I stimulate light and matter. Because we're hitting you that if you're not here, then light and matter don't exist to you. So you're stimulating it or it ain't here for you. So anyway, taking all that. So then I said, you know, so what's the meaning of life? And the brothers just said, love Islam forever. Right? I ain't saying the religious point of it. I'm just saying all those other elements I just spoke about in front of it. I stimulate light and matter. I love that. That's powerful. And let me give you my definition of life. I think life is the simple lead for each and every one of us to add on to. Build like you said, the masters build on top. Life gave you life, give life back. I don't think there's a better way to end it than talking about the meaning of life. Riza, I'm a huge fan and such a huge honor that you spend your valuable time with me. Thank you so much. Peace. Thanks for listening to this conversation with Riza. To support this podcast, please check out our sponsors in the description. And now let me leave you some words from Plato. Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.