Words By Jesse H. | @JHagen34
Back in my formative years as a writer for TSS, we used to have a lot of hypothetical group discussions. Obviously, as aspiring writers, one of the topics that got tossed around frequently was who would be the second-half of each writer’s dream interview. For me, RZA has always been at the top of the list. Understandably, the opinions of my coworkers were the least of my concerns when I received a message from Gotty™ informing me of an interview opportunity with the Abbot himself, and I let out what was perhaps the most-girlish squeal of delight that I am capable of making.
But of course, rarely anything turns out as magical as you imagine it will, and my excitement was dampened when our initial request for a 1-on-1 was turned down, and I was informed that I would instead be part of a throng of journalists tossing questions at RZA press conference-style, to ask questions regarding his new film The Man With the Iron Fists (which he wrote, directed and starred in). Still cool, but not quite the dream interview I had pictured.
Fast-forward to the day of the press conference: I get a call at 1:30pm asking me (short of breath) if I can make it a Manhattan office location for one-on-one at 2:45, at which point I let out what was certifiably the most-girlish squeal of delight made by any human, ever. Despite an onslaught of rain, I made hasty arrangements to get a sound recorder rushed downtown in time, told my boss I was taking off for the afternoon, and skipped 10 blocks south to make the appointment.
Absolutely soaked and trudging a trail of water into the room, I shook hands with Bobby Digital himself, clad in a black leather jacket with a red stripe down the arm, and a black newsboy hat, “man, you got soaked out there huh?” he said to me. In reply, I paraphrased an Eastern adage from the RZA-scored Ghost Dog that states that only a foolish man runs in the rain; the wise man walks calmly, knowing his getting wet is inevitable. RZA smiled, pointed at me and said, “this is a smart man right here.”
Sometimes, in special circumstances, reality does turn out as magical as you imagined it would (though it’s a good thing he didn’t see me skipping through the rain, as my recitation of the adage would have seemed rather silly in that case.) Listen and enjoy, this TSS writer’s dream interview (and source of profound girlish shrieking), “Smoking Sessions with RZA.”