The RZA Reflects on “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” Coming to an End

The final season of the hit Hulu series begins on February 15

February 14, 2023 9:11 am
RZA helped assemble the Wu-Tang Clan in Staten Island in 1992.
RZA helped assemble the Wu-Tang Clan in Staten Island in 1992.
Getty/Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Hulu

One of February’s top new releases, Wu-Tang: An American Saga will drop the first episode of its third season on Hulu on February 15 and air weekly until its finale on April 5.

RZA, who helped found the Clan that has been nothing to fuck with since 1992, is an executive producer of the series, which debuted in 2019 and chronicles the rise to fame of the groundbreaking Staten Island hip-hop crew and the way group members handled dealing with money, celebrity status and their egos.

Ahead of the show, which boasts a cast that includes Ashton Sanders, Shameik Moore, Siddiq Saunderson and Julian Elijah Martinez and is co-produced by Method Man, returning to Hulu, we caught up with RZA to find out how he’s handling closing another chapter in the Wu-Tang saga.

InsideHook: How does it feel to have the show wrapping up?

RZA: It was definitely five of the most challenging years of my life, but it was also as rewarding as it was during the five years that we reenacted. Wu-Tang started in 1992 in my crib and grew to be the number-one group in the world. That was the mission, that was the goal, that was the dream. To relive that dream and watch these young actors bring it back to life and reenact it in a way that it could be consumed and expounded upon…there’s a joy there. I felt great joy on the last day of filming when we wrapped. I directed the last episode, which is funny because I wasn’t planning on directing any of the series. But by the time we got to season three and the machine was well-oiled, it was like, “Okay, I could jump behind the camera and bring some of my Kung-Fu techniques to it.” It was such a joy to complete this project.

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IH: How did producing the series compare to some of the other film and TV work you’ve done?

RZA: It took more out of me because of the people who I have to please. I wrote and directed The Man with the Iron Fists and acted in it, but I didn’t have to worry about what Ghostface thought about it. Or what Raekwon or my sister or my aunt thought about it. You know what I mean? With this, I have to go back and face people at family gatherings. It’s funny because some people are like, “Yo, when do I show up.” It’s like, “Yo, it’s not about you, man. Just because you’re my cousin doesn’t mean you’re in the show.”

IH: So there’s a sense of accountability?

RZA: Definitely. Since this is based on reality, it has to do what Wu-Tang did, which is to keep it real and give you something to build on. It ain’t just entertainment, you know what I mean? I’m not the inventor of this word, but I’ve been using it a lot lately: edutainment. You’re being entertained, but you are also being educated because watching our lives, what we’ve gone through and our relationships should be inspiring and informative.

IH: Was one of the reasons you wanted your story to be told to inspire and educate people?

RZA: Yes, sir. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been continuing to make art. Once I made it to the top and made a lot of money, it was like, “What am I here for?” I’m here to inspire, I’m here to make sure that more young minds of America can see these different paths and then hopefully the world. Everybody’s gonna go through a moment. Wu-Tang is giving you nine guys going through that moment and showing how you can make it through it together, even with the conflicts of life. So yeah, I’m here to inspire.

IH: Are there any takeaways you’re hoping viewers of the show will walk away with?

RZA: So many takeaways. I think we could’ve given you one season of the show and you would’ve gathered the story. Instead, you have 30 hours of TV that you should be able to use to entertain, inform, inspire and even warn yourself because of the way we told it. We didn’t make it like a documentary series. No, we went into the minds of the characters. How does a hip-hop producer think when he’s making a track? We went into the mind of Old Dirty Bastard and there were artists in there like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Muddy Waters and old comedians that some young people may never ever think about like Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor. We put all this in front of you because all this was in front of us and made us into the men we became. Hopefully, these men can inform the next group of children and men and show them there’s other art, truth and information.

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