Hip Hop is the universe’s unsung lyric. Art creates miracles and if it cannot produce the phenomena it needs to directly, then it will inspire technology for the benefit of its aims. In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King predicted that America would have its first black president within 40 years. In order for King’s prophecy to come true, however, his words needed an vehicle that would act as a conduit for the prophecy in thought. Hip Hop was born. An anonymous spirit that took root in the hearts of urban youth, its energy possessing an entire generation, who spewed outrage in forms of b-boying, DJing, graffiti, and MCing, What caused this sudden outburst of simultaneous rage?
The Tao of Wu is a delightful journey into the life and mind of one of Hip Hop’s greatest generals, the RZA. I must say that this is one of the best books that I have ever read. If you are an artist, musician, martial artist, occultist, or philosopher, you will find this narrative to be an exceptional life story of a man whose spiritual path guided him from the slums of Staten Island to the shores of wealth.
The legacy of the Wu Tang Clan and its artistic genius as Hip Hop’s royal family is undisputed. Yet, we live in a generation today that has forgotten the spiritual foundation of Hip Hop. Trying to separate Hip Hop from the knowledge expounded upon in the 120 Lessons of the Nation of Gods and Earths is like trying to separate Reggae from Rastafari. This is why a once thriving music formed is now reduced to the land of the lost. RZA cultivated life’s lessons to prepare himself for a task that would eventually blossom into the leading role for the Wu Tang Clan. One of my favorite quotes in the book reads as follows:
“The ancient Chinese philosopher Meng-tzu wrote, “Truth out of season bears no fruit.” To me, that means two things. One: There’s a time and place for every kind of knowledge to flourish. Two: The personal characteristics of great messengers are usually irrelevant. For instance, they say that Martin Luther King Jr. was a fornicator. Does it matter? Do you believe in the messenger or his message? I believe in the message.”
RZA shares his experiences and the jewels he discovered while playing a game of chess, the street hustle, but mainly Islam and Taoism. In another section of the text he writes:
“Man made the world what it is, and only man can change it. So don’t be deceived when they tell that you can’t change things, because you can.”
Oddly enough, reading The Tao of Wu brought me to the epiphany that if we just visualize ourselves on earth in space, orbiting around the sun, at least once a day, the meaning of our lives will change for the better. Thanks Rza!
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