The Tao of Wu
Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., Dec. 4, 2009
The Tao of Wuby The RZA
Riverhead Books, 208 pp., $24.95
Instilling The Tao of Wu into the mental framework of each Wu-Tang Clansman only worked until they all went platinum on their own, but it remains the driving force for their abbot. From street dreams growing up in the Staten Island projects to "staying in the Presidential Suite of the Chateau Marmont ... pounds of weed, bottles of sherm," RZA's autobiographical memoir defines one of hip-hop's great minds. Spliced like a Wu-Tang album complete with interludes, kung fu, and "7 Pillars of Wisdom," this Tao isn't the money-centric post-Clan output we've come to expect from RZA. Rather, it's honest insight into how devoted the producer/rapper is to his craft, making his crew famous, and "carrying our wisdom from Shaolin to the world." As with all RZA writings, this one's better if you read it with his voice in your head, but that's not to discredit him or co-writer Chris Norris. Together they've compiled the foremost documentation of Wu-Tang philosophy, one that every student of Shaolin should read.