Wu-Tang Clansmen GZA has always been characterized by the intellect he injects into his lyrics, and last week Wednesday he shared some of that intellect with a room full of students (who happen to be pretty bright themselves) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Harvard Crimson reports that the MC participated in a lecture and discussion at the school entitled “GZA @ MIT: Hip-Hop as Civic Media,” during which he spoke about his artistic growth and the concurrent development of Hip-Hop as a cultural unifier.
“When I was trekking across Brooklyn, looking for emcee battles—and believe me, there were plenty of those—I would never have dreamed I would be standing at this podium,” GZA told the crowd. “I must say, it feels very intimidating.”
Intimidation notwithstanding, GZA, also known as The Genius, spoke on topics ranging from the origins of his supreme respect for lyricism (“I remember going to the park and seeing these young poets, and I was blown away.”) to the Wu-Tang Clan’s formation and subsequent worldwide cultural impact (“[P]eople have visited certain countries in every corner of the continents, and seen people wearing Wu-Tang t-shirts all over.“). When asked about the current state of lyricism in Hip-Hop and why it hasn’t “moved away from misogynistic and homophobic content,” the Crimson reports, GZA replied, simply, “I really can’t answer that. It just hasn’t.”
This is the GZA’s second recent visit to MIT. This past December he visited the school and Harvard University while in Massachusetts to lecture at the Harvard Black Men’s Forum. He spent his on time on campus — which lasted a total of three days — touring the grounds and visiting with scientists from each of the prestigious institutions, with whom he discussed common topics like the ideal alkalinity for drinking water and how DNA makes proteins. You know, the type of everyday stuff rappers like to talk about.
GZA said he planned to use some of what he learned during that December visit on his next album, Dark Matter, which he says is influenced by his love of quantam physics and astronomy. “I will take a quantum leap and discuss the universe while taking us on a journey through deep space,” he recently said about the album.
A release date for Dark Matter has not been announced, so you’ve got time to get your thinking caps ready.