NEW YORK — One thing about doing an interview with [artist id="1025"]Wu-Tang Clan's[/artist] [artist id="1122"]RZA[/artist], you have to be on your toes. He has a wide variety of projects to promote. You could be speaking to him about music, films or the literary world. On Thursday, RZA's second book, "The Tao of Wu," came out. The renaissance man was at a Barnes & Noble in Union Square signing autographs and describing his inspiration for the book.
"The word 'Tao' means 'way,' " RZA explained. "We all travel a way or path in life. What I did in this book, we broke it down to seven pillars of wisdom of different things that happened in my life that brought me to the fruition of the man I am. I think all of us are striving to be better men, and sometimes we don't have a map. Going to the 'hood, we just know the 'hood talk and the 'hood mentality or the American video game mentality."
RZA said the book's pearls of wisdom will resonate with a broad spectrum of folks.
"People of all ages, definitely young people, [will] have a little map and maybe dodge a few blows," he said. "As the great, late Mr. Magic — rest in peace, Mr. Magic — would say, when his show would go off, he would say, 'A fool can learn from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.' That's what this book is. The things I been through and the errors I been through, you can learn from that. You don't have to touch the stove. I already touched the stove — it's hot."
RZA discusses fear in the book and, of course, hip-hop.
"One of he first pillars is 'The Call,' " he said. "My call was the call to hip-hop. It happened to me when I was 7 or 8 years old. Hearing [the Beastie Boys lyrics] 'Dip, dip, dive/ So socialize/ Clean out your ears and open your eyes.' Back then, it was just a rhyme, but listen to those words: 'Socialize' with people, 'clean out your ears and open your eyes.' See things for what they are. It's a message right there. At the time, it was just a message and a vibe. But it called me into this world of hip-hop. Through hip-hop, my whole family was saved. Many families were saved. Look at the Wu-Tang Clan, and all our families were saved."