Victory or Death, available at When Art Imitates Life
If the crossing can be summed up in one moment, what is your intention in that moment?
RZA: The changing of the world. America became the most powerful country in the world, starting from that date. And for me, I always remember when Wu-Tang came out, Hammer was a year or two ahead of us and he had sold ten million records, and people were like “you think you can sell ten million records like MC Hammer?” and I always said “even though MC Hammer sold ten million records, that’s still ten million people that remain asleep. If Wu-Tang sells one million records we still did much better than Hammer because that’s one million people that’s being woken up.
Have you crossed the river yet?
RZA: Yeah, I think I’ve crossed the river. Crossing the river is very metaphoric to Christian, Buddhist and Hindu philosophy. When you go to nirvana you cross to the other side to find spiritual enlightenment and freedom. And I feel like I’ve crossed it because I’m way far from the man that was on the other side of the river. It’s a different guy that was over there, even though it’s the same guy in the vessel. When you go somewhere that you’ve never been before and you fall in love with it and it changes you, it’s the same person, but something new is now inside that vessel. A new spirit is in that vessel.
“Victory or Death” was the pass phrase for Washington’s men to identify themselves. What’s yours?
RZA: “Wu-Tang Forever.” Meaning, the decision I made to be this, and what it represents and what it means. Wu-Tang means “man who deserves God.” And we should always be in that position. So “Wu-Tang Forever” is my phrase.