RZA: Wu-Tang Clan, Kung Fu, Chess, God, Life, and Death | Lex Fridman Podcast #228 | Summary and Q&A

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October 5, 2021
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Lex Fridman Podcast
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RZA: Wu-Tang Clan, Kung Fu, Chess, God, Life, and Death | Lex Fridman Podcast #228

TL;DR

RZA reflects on the impact of his mother's passing, his understanding of life and god, and the lessons he has learned from figures like Quincy Jones, Quentin Tarantino, and Bruce Lee.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the passing of RZA's mother shape his understanding of life and death?

Losing his mother was a profound experience for RZA, as it made him realize the physical and mental impact of death. He learned that a part of him died that day, leading him to reflect on the nature of mortality and the immortality of the soul.

Q: How has RZA's perception of God evolved over time?

RZA used to view God as a being with the power to control life and death, but his mother's passing challenged this belief. He now sees God as wisdom, strength, and beauty, and acknowledges that humans can embody these qualities. He believes that God is not a definitive definition, but rather a translation of these attributes.

Q: How does RZA cope with the loss of his mother?

RZA keeps his mother in his daily prayers and prays for her name to be honored and remembered by his family. While he doesn't know if the world will remember her, he named a school in his movie after her to honor her memory.

Q: How has the realization of his own mortality impacted RZA?

The realization of his mortality brought RZA a new sense of joy. He understood the difference between the illusion of immortality and the reality of physical mortality. This realization freed him from certain illusions and allowed him to appreciate life in a different way.

Summary

In this interview, Rizza, the rapper, record producer, filmmaker, actor, writer, philosopher, and kung fu scholar, talks about various aspects of his life and career. From discussing the impact of losing his mother to reflecting on his own mortality, Rizza shares his thoughts on life, death, and the meaning behind his lyrics. He also talks about the influence of figures like Quincy Jones, Quentin Tarantino, and Bruce Lee on his art and philosophy. Rizza dives into the wisdom he draws from kung fu movies and the importance of being humble in the face of the immensity of the universe. He also reflects on the legacy of Wu-Tang Clan and his hopes for how they will be remembered in the future.

Questions & Answers

Q: What did Rizza learn about life from his mother?

Rizza learned the greatest lesson of life from his mother - the sacrifice she made for her children. Watching her selflessness and seeing how she gave everything for her family taught him the value of life.

Q: How did the realization of his own mortality affect Rizza?

The realization of his mortality brought him joy and a different perspective on life. It made him more aware of the brevity of his physical existence and helped him appreciate the immortality of the soul.

Q: Is Rizza afraid of death?

Rizza is not afraid of death, but he has no desire to seek it out either. He cherishes life and is not in a rush to experience death. However, he acknowledges that death is a part of life and accepts it as a natural process.

Q: What did Rizza learn from Quincy Jones about music, business, and life?

Rizza considers Quincy Jones a great mind and a treasure in the music industry. He learned a lot from him through their conversations and spending time together. Quincy Jones was generous in sharing his knowledge and experiences, which had a significant impact on Rizza's own understanding of music, business, and life.

Q: What did Rizza learn from Quentin Tarantino about filmmaking and life?

Rizza describes Quentin Tarantino as an encyclopedia and a master of cinematic art. He learned about filmmaking, art, and life through their close friendship. Tarantino's kindness and generosity left a lasting impression on Rizza and influenced his own approach to his craft.

Q: Who does Rizza consider some of the greatest rappers and why?

Rizza mentions several influential rappers like Rakim, Kool G Rap, and Grandmaster Caz. He also includes Nas and himself in this list. These artists are known for their lyrical skills, their impact on hip-hop history, and their ability to convey powerful messages through their music.

Q: What are some of Rizza's most memorable lyrics?

Rizza mentions the lyrics from his song "Sunshower" and highlights the depth and wisdom within those lyrics. He believes they can address and answer a significant portion of life's problems.

Q: Who is Bruce Lee to Rizza and to the world?

Rizza sees Bruce Lee as a minor prophet who brought about a shift in the dynamic of thinking through martial arts. Bruce Lee's physicality, philosophy, and strive for self-improvement had a profound impact, both on Rizza personally and on the world.

Q: Does Rizza prefer the real or surreal in martial arts and movies?

Rizza enjoys the dance between the real and surreal in martial arts and movies. He appreciates the entertainment value of heightened reality and the imaginative aspects that inspire real-world creations.

Q: What does Rizza hope people remember about Wu-Tang Clan in the future?

Rizza hopes that people will be inspired by Wu-Tang Clan's artistry, philosophy, and wisdom. He envisions a legacy where their influence continues to thrive and impact future generations, highlighting the importance of wisdom, strength, and beauty.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • RZA reflects on the loss of his mother and how it taught him the greatest lesson of life.

  • He delves into his evolving understanding of God and the importance of honoring his mother's name.

  • RZA also discusses his admiration for Quincy Jones, his mentorship with Quentin Tarantino, and the wisdom he has gained from Bruce Lee and kung fu movies.

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