RZA Reveals What Wu-Tang Clan’s Logo Was Before The Iconic W (Video)
Earlier today, Wu-Tang released a single featuring Inspectah Deck and Redman. Produced by Mathematics, “Lesson Learn’d” belongs to next month’s Wu-Tang: The Saga Continues… album (October 13). With confirmed involvement from RZA, Raekwon, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Rebel I.N.S., Masta Killa, and Cappadonna (as well as O.D.B. vocals), the effort marks a new chapter in the Wu-Tang chronicles that began more than 25 years ago.
RZA and Mathematics recently appeared together on The Cruz Show for Power 106. There, the Wu-Tang’s longtime DJ and onetime production protege of The Abbott spoke about some of those early days. Referring to RZA, Math says he received one-day notice to design a logo ahead of an early Wu-Tang single pressing. “It wasn’t a quickie, it took some time,” RZA interjects.
Then, the Wu spokesman drops some jewels surrounding Wu-Tang iconography. “Our first [logo] idea was the head cut off. Wu-Tang, our first idea…I said, ‘I want our logo to be like a guy holding a head full of dreads. The head is cut off and the blood is dripping: protect ya neck.’ And he drew it. [Laughs] I looked at it and said, ‘Well…maybe not the head cut off…,’ but when we finally decided on the W…[Mathematics] has a certain [style]; he’s a graffiti artist. He’s a drawer; he drew every member of the Clan in his art. He’s a very talented man. When you see how it evolved to [simply] the W, the evolution of that…that epiphany, I think it came when I said, ‘Put the W on a book: The Bible.’ The idea was you could either take the book, which is the wisdom, or you could face the sword [underneath the book]. You can make your choice.”
He continues, “Once [Allah Mathematics] designed that logo, we went on to utilize his services for The GZA’s G [and the Liquid Swords characters], as you see. You can see the W in it. You see it in Method Man’s M.” The script and rugged design of the DJ stayed within the original nine members.
In a second clip in the video playlist, RZA breaks down the creation and arrangement on 1997 smash single “Triumph.” He says each Wu album must contain a song in the spirit of Clan debut “Protect Ya Neck.”
Speaking about Wu-Tang’s best known single, its producer says, “The cool thing about ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ is that we got the chance to go back and re-record it as a single…it extended from the the [original] album cut. [Originally], it started off with 60 Second Assassin [of Sunz Of Man] doing the [intro melody effect]. You’ll notice that the original drums are harder than the album cut.”
While the popular version toned down, the song very well could have ended up in the hands of at least two Wu factions. “What a lot of people don’t know about ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ is that the song must’ve been recorded four or five times by Wu-Tang Clan. The first time we recorded it was during a court case that I had, and I felt that I should not have been arrested. [That version] was called ‘On Some Sh*t,’ and it was just me and Ghostface [Killah]. Later, it got recorded with just Raekwon and Inspectah Deck; it was called ‘Lifestyles Of The Mega-Rich.’ [Laughs] When, when we got to the studio to record the 36 Chambers album—it went through some more transitions—I decided that this track has to be on the Wu-Tang album. So I reminded Rae’ and Deck of their verses, but their verses was long.” DJ Mathematics recalls at least four verses.
RZA picks back up, “They truncated the verses down, and Method Man—the master of hooks at that time, he came in with this hook right here: ‘Cash rules everything around me, cream, get the money…’ He sat there and wrote that, that day. Once he added that element, I knew that it was a complete song, but also knew that it’d be a smash.” The producer later recalls his conversation with sample co-composer Isaac Hayes about using The Charmells’ 1966 lesser-known 45 “Now That I’ve Got You.” The Abbott adds that his rendition contains several additional samples that he “mashed.” He refuses to reveal them, with a laugh.
#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads premiered the “Now You See Me” version of Masta Killa’s latest single “OGs Told Me”: