Stapleton Projects in Staten Island is arguably the most infamous housing project of New York City’s “forgotten borough,” known best at the time for being Earth’s largest landfill. A young Robert Diggs is hunched over a drum machine, working on his debut release, the Ooh We Love You Rakeem EP. The weather is a brutal kind of cold. The year is 1990.
Twenty years later, Robert is the RZA, a musical visionary and mastermind behind one of the most revolutionary movements in the history of popular culture — and the world is a very different place. The Wu-Tang Clan rewrote the rules in every arena it entered, blazing trails in the record business and single-handedly giving hip-hop it’s “renaissance period,” during which it took the genre to artistic heights that remain unmatched.
“Kill Bill” made RZA a composer. The Wu-Tang Manual made him an author. “American Gangster” made him an actor. And on January 1, 2010, WAIL (When Art Imitates Life) commemorates twenty years of the RZA with the unveiling of “Victory Or Death,” a highly limited fine art release worthy of a living legend.
Details about Victory or Death remain mum, as does the conceptual behind The RZA’s release. What has been promised is a “reworking” of history onto massive canvas that focuses on the concept of “hearing the call” and revolution in an inspiring and provocative way.
In total, 360 prints will be available to the public on the January 1, 2010 release date.
“It didn’t begin 20 years ago … more like 200 years ago,” says Rza of the upcoming release. “And when you see the piece we’re making right here, you’re going to know what I’m talking about. We’re about to rewrite and change history.”
The origins of Victory Or Death began earlier this year, as RZA started conceptualizing with When Art Imitates Life, a company focused on creating fine art with musical visionaries at the helm of the creative. When Art Imitates Life (WAIL) is owned by legendary hip-hop statesmen, Sway and King Tech (The Wake Up Show), along with notorious Los Angeles creativity house SceneFour.
Victory or Death is the first release under the WAIL art label.
If you’d like to find out more about the upcoming release, visit WhenArtImitatesLife.com.