To Wu-Tang fans, RZA and the talented crew of rappers he produced will always stand for groundbreaking hip-hop. But for television fans these days, his starring role as a cop on the new Fox series Gang Related might be what he gains the most mainstream recognition from. As for the upcoming Wu “art project” he didn’t offer much, but you can read about that here.)
Listen above to hear RZA talk about working with Cher, and how hip-hop dreamers have influenced others to dream big and succeed.
On the show, RZA plays Cassius Green, a DEA agent recruited by LAPD to help bring down gangs. Lost’s Terry O’Quinn plays the unit’s leader, LAPD captain Sam Chapel. Gang Related is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a show that deals with gang violence and it doesn’t hold back on the kill count – the number of bodies that gets dropped each show.
It kind of takes a look at the gang violence that really happens in the streets of Los Angeles, the streets of Chicago, the streets of Cleveland and around the country. Sometimes it’s the Brown against the black – the Mexicans against the brothers and it kind of takes a look at that.” As ironic as it is that RZA plays a DEA agent, he says it’s just a natural progression.
He’s already amassed several movie and TV credits, including writing (with Eli Roth) and directing a martial arts film, 2012’s The Man With The Iron Fists.
“It’s kind of funny, you’d never expect a guy like me to come and be on this side of the law. I’ve come a long way since my crazy Wu-Tang days,” RZA says. The violence in Gang Related, gratuitous or not, is part of an effort by networks to compete with cable with is allowed much more leeway with sex, violence and language than they are, though the gap is closing.
“I think that’s something special about the Fox Network on this particular show. They usually would end up on cable but they are changing their game plan and their production status. I felt like when I first read the script it felt like a movie. Thursday night is not the night you want to go to the movies because you got to work Friday. On Thursday nights at 9 p.m., you can watch Gang Related and get that movie feel right in your living room.”
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Rappers With a College Degree
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Honorary: Diddy spent some time at Howard University but never finished. This year he received an honorary Doctorate.
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2. Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) Glover graduated with a degree in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Art.
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3. Honorary: Lil Wayne went to the University of Houston before transferring to the University of Phoenix to take classes online.
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4. Mos Def graduated from NYU
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5. Honorary: Common attended Florida A&M for two years with an academic scholarship
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6. Camron graduated from junior college in Texas
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7. 2 Chainz graduated from Alabama State University
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8. Lil Jon graduated high school, finished college at Ohio State University in '93 and straight into the music biz. (AP)
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9. Producer, Singer Ryan Leslie has a Degree in Government & Economics from Harvard University. (PR Photos)
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10. J. Cole has a Bachelor's Degree in Communications with a minor in Business from St. John's University. (AP)
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11. Joe Torry has a Degree in Mass Communications from Lincoln University. (PR Photos)
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12. David Banner has a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Southern University. (PR Photos)
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13. Young MC has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Southern California. (PR Photos)
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14. Ludacris has a Bachelor's Degree in Music Management from Georgia State University. (AP)
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15. Public Enemy's Chuck D. has a Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design from Adelphi University (New York) (PR Photos)
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16. M.I.A. She completed a program in fine art, film and video at London's Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. AP
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17. Ice Cube earned a degree in Architecture from Phoenix Institue of Technology in 1988. (PR Photos)
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18. Stat Quo has a Bachelor's in International Business & Economics from the University of Florida. (TheUrbanDaily)
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19. Rapper Sage Francis earned a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island in 1999. (Twitter)
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20. Talib Kweli has a New York University Theatre and Arts Degree. (Photo: AP)
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21. Flava Flav earned degrees in Radio Communications & Business from Adelphi University. (Photo: AP)
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22. MC Solaar earned degrees in Languages and Philosophy from the Jussieu Campus of the University of Paris. (Tumblr)
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23. Musta Ace earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Rhode Island. (Tumblr)
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24. Rumor has it that Plies graduated from a four year college in Miami with a Degree in Nursing. (Photo: EURweb)
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25. The late great GURU (Keith Elam) earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Morehouse College
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