The “W” in Wu-Tang: A Conversation with RZA

As the architect of sorts behind arguably the world’s most influential rap group, RZA has particular need to introduce his resumé. His thorough knowledge of vintage records is a dizzying addendum of fragments from soul, R&B, blues, jazz and other genres – reshaped into an immersive sonic landscape, the beat that has laid the background to the sound of today. Coinciding with the hotly-anticipated release of Wu-Tang’s first full-length studio album in seven years – dubbed A Better Tomorrow – RZA also lent his ear to tune the legendary hip hop group’s collaborative speaker with electronics brand Boombotix. While the choice certainly represents a polarizing direction for the iconic creative, surely we know better than to question the man who made 36 Chambers. HYPETRAK had the opportunity to speak with RZA at a private screening of one of his favorite Kung Fu films. The intimate event, thrown by Boombotix and Zumiez, celebrated the release of the Wu-Tang speaker that comes pre-loaded with select tracks off A Better Tomorrow. The interview that took place would mark one of the more thorough and candid conversations with the artist to date. Enjoy a tidbit of the extensive conversation below and head to HYPETRAK’s site for the full piece.
We’re approaching the release of the new Wu-Tang Clan album, A Better Tomorrow. An album that marks over 20 years of relevance in the music industry. It sounds like the group faced a lot of adversity to get this album released. That being said, what does this project mean to you?
This new album means a lot to me to be honest with you. Think about the internal adversity between me and my band just to get it done. Personally, I feel accomplished because against the odds I’ve achieved something that’s self-satisfying. On a business scale or on a music scale, I feel like this album is timely. Hip-hop is not saying nothin’ to the people right now. We tellin’ you to get drunk, let your girl shake her ass, you gonn’ fuck the bitch, and go go go… Now this is an album that gives you some insight. The W in that Wu-Tang for wisdom is utilized again.
What does the album title A Better Tommorow mean to you?
It’s something that I wish for. It’s something that I strive for. I strive to thrive. If today is good, I’m happy but I’m going to make tomorrow even better. And today has been good, it’s been a good day today (laughs). But tomorrow can be even better.

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A “Sneak Peek” Inside adidas Global Director Jon Wexler’s Office

Season 6 of Sneak Peek is officially underway, and we’re kicking things off with the most informative episode yet. Jon Wexler, the adidas Global Director of Entertainment & Influencer Marketing, recently invited our Editor-In-Chief George Kiel III to his office on the adidas North America campus in Portland, Oregon to check out his stash of […]

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Concepts x New Balance CM496 “Regatta” Another Look

Following the release of its “Rose” collaborative release, Concepts and New Balance team up yet again for their upcoming CM496 “Regatta” joint venture. Done up with premium suede, in hues of red and blue, white detailing adds contrast about the leather inner lining, branding, and midsole. Complete with two-tone laces and a classic gum outsole, […]

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No I.D. Shares Rare Stories on Common, Kanye West, Def Jam & More

Legendary mentor and producer of the greats, Ernest Wilson — better known in the hip-hop world as No I.D. — lets us in on yet another valuable lesson of the art form. In this hour-long podcast with Juan Epstein radio personality Peter Rosenberg and guest co-host Daryl "Quartermain" Francis, the super-producer and founder of ARTiumContinue Reading

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Benny Gold 2014 Holiday Lookbook

Since the label’s inception, San Francisco-based Benny Gold has been built on a foundation of graphic tees. However, the brand has been growing and developing its cut & sew program for years now, which figures heavily into its newly introduced Holiday 2014 collection. While t-shirts are once again the hallmark of the drop, the new releases include the likes of chambray button-downs, fishtail parkas, canvas shirt jackets, down vests, and more — all of which are punctuated with signature Gold touches like embroidered branding and bold patterns throughout. Benny Gold’s Holiday 2014 collection is now available online in its entirety.

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vendor 2014 Fall/Winter “vendor Things” Video by HUMPLAND

Japan’s vendor highlights its latest Fall/Winter 2014 releases with a brand new video from HUMPLAND. Aptly entitled "vendor Things," the stylish piece is set to music by Hotel New Tokyo and sees the retailer highlighting it’s latest in-house designs for the season at hand. A perfect range of workwear-inspired basics, the new "vendor Things" collection includes everything from denim jackets, chambray tops, and plaid button-downs to boat neck tees, corduroy trousers, chinos, beanies, and more.
You can find a selection of vendor’s pieces now at ZOZOTOWN while additional designs — including its own takes on classics like the MA-1 and Chesterfield coat — are set to drop this Saturday, November 22.

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adidas Originals by NIGO NYC Event Recap

Last night, November 19th, adidas Originals celebrated their new collaborative capsule collection with Nigo with a special event at the adidas Originals SoHo store with guest performances by DJ Eric Duncan and Ratking. View photos recapping the event, along with a lookbook featuring Ratking in the new adidas Originals by NIGO apparel and footwear, and […]

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Eminem featuring Slaughterhouse & Yelawolf – Psychopath Killer

On the heels of releasing the original demo version of his Academy Award-winning and Grammy-nominated "Lose Yourself," Eminem shares another cut off his Shady XV compilation project. This one is entitled "Psychopath Killer," and finds Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf joining in on the fast-rap foray. Featuring Just Blaze, Boi-1da, and The Maven Boys behind the boards, theContinue Reading

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Beats Solo2 Wireless Review: Bluetooth Adds Considerably To The Solo Appeal

IMG_0057 Beats is taking its Solo line wireless, with a new set of Bluetooth cans that match the wired Solo2 almost exactly in terms of external design. Surprisingly, they also match their wired counterpart in terms of sound, both when used with the included aux cable with inline remote, and when they’re used with the Bluetooth wireless connection. And after Beats took its sound engineering back… Read More

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ALIFE 2014 Holiday Lookbook

Streetwear label ALIFE has released this 2014 holiday lookbook to give us a glimpse at its latest offerings. Taking heavy inspiration from themes of patriotism mixed with tongue-in-cheek jabs at influential figures, we are presented with something that takes us back to the roots of streetwear. Highlights from the collection include the stars and stripes sweater as well as the welcomed return of the ALIFE box logo found on a number of garments from tees to sweaters. Enjoy the images and head over to the ALIFE flagship location in New York as well as its online store to purchase the pieces.

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Topman 2015 Spring/Summer Lookbook

Known for its quirky touches to the stereotypical English aesthetics, British label Topman has revealed its offerings for the warmer months of next year via this 2015 spring/summer lookbook. The collection takes a nod towards the ’70s, where influences from Britpop, psychedelics and androgyny are mixed together to create intriguing yet refined looks. An abundance of printed garments are found throughout the lineup, which are then paired with pieces of formal wear with a twist, either by the choice of cut or the palettes of color utilized. Have a look through the images above and keep an eye out for the collection at Topman locations in the coming months.

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Nike Air Foamposite One “Knicks”

Those sensitive to the minutia of New York’s footwear scene might quickly identify the Foamposite as a kind of signature shoe of the city’s youth. As such, it’s only logical that Nike might release a city-themed version of the Air Foamposite One – seen here in this forthcoming "Knicks" colorway. It’s worth noting that the colorway was originally designed for Knicks superfan Spike Lee, and as such features a fittingly outspoken orange and blue upper. These features rest atop a clean translucent blue outsole, which reveals a subtle white under layer. A surefire pickup for loyalists after a drumroll of curiousness, cop this release from retailers such at Sneaker Politics beginning November 26.

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Rihanna Reportedly Set to Design a Line for PUMA

Not content with letting adidas and Kanye have all the fun, Puma is reportedly in the final stages of signing Rihanna as an exclusive designer and ambassador for the brand. In a deal worth over $1 million USD, Rihanna will lead her own team in developing a new line of lifestyle shoes and apparel that evoke the singer’s notoriously daring sense of style. Building on her experiences working with brands like Armani, UK-based River Island, and MAC Cosmetics, Rihanna has stated a strong desire to instill her own attitude and aesthetic throughout the new line. That’s good news for Puma, who have proven they’re willing to give artists a platform to express their own vision, hiring Solange Knowles as an art director, and collaborating on projects with visionary architect Philippe Starck. Puma’s newest deal with Rihanna could be the start of something big. And with creative ambition flowing on both sides, the collaboration should be impossible to ignore as well.

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adidas Originals by NIGO 2014 Fall/Winter Lookbook featuring Ratking

As underground New York art-rap group Ratking has done with hip-hop itself, leave it to the group to bring a fresh perspective to a relatively seen topic. The group is the subject of the latest lookbook from adidas Originals, highlighting the brand’s collaborative range with iconic Japanese designer NIGO. Hot on the heels of a secret live performance in their hometown, here we find the trio front and center for photographer Ari Marcopoulos – who of course brought his own outsider aesthetic to the photo set. Enjoy the pictures here and pick up the adidas Originals by NIGO collection at select retailers worldwide now.

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The Secret To Creating A Huge Company, According To Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel Screenshot

One of the main philosophies in Peter Thiel’s book, and something he discussed a lot during a speech at the Demo conference, is the notion that successful businesses solve a specific problem, and go on to become a monopoly in their newly defined field. That should be an entrepreneur’s main goal, he believes. 

Someone in the audience asked him what’re the top 3 unsolved problems that have the potential to become a successful and monopolistic startup in their field. 

He mentioned a couple, such as the challenge of finding cheap and clean energy, as well as several diseases that still need cures, like Alzheimer’s’. 

But there’s something else people need to keep in mind when starting a business. 

"It’s always which problems are you really passionate about that are important that you can work on," he said.

"I think for anyone founding a company, the three questions you’d answer are what are some important questions that, number two, you can contribute on solving, and number three, that for some strange reason other people are not really focused on, and they have some psychological block where they haven’t seen this as a problem that’s important and solvable."

In other words, look for the problems that you’re passionate about solving, but that other people think are either impossible to solve, or too small to bother with. That’s where to start.

Watch the entire video on Demo’s site. (The part where he starts talking about problems is around the 43-minute mark.)

SEE ALSO: Peter Thiel Says People Are Scared Of The Future And Silicon Valley Doesn’t Get It

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