Robert Diggs, better known by his stage name RZA (Ruler Zig-zag-zig Allah) or his alter-ego Bobby Digital, is an American Grammy winning music producer, author, rapper, and occasional actor, director, and screenwriter. A prominent figure in hip hop music, he is the de facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan. He has produced almost all of Wu-Tang Clan’s albums as well as many Wu-Tang solo and affiliate projects since 1991. He subsequently gained attention for his work scoring and acting in films.
He has also released solo albums under the alter-ego Bobby Digital. In addition to the Wu-Tang Clan and his solo releases, RZA was also a founding member of the rap group Gravediggaz where he used the name The Rzarector.
In 1999 the RZA moved into composing film scores. His first work, Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), earned praise; he also had brief cameo in the film itself, as a fellow samurai wearing camouflage. The experience was positive and, as he noted during an interview on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, the work with traditional musicians gave him the desire to learn how to read and write music.
The critical success of the Ghost Dog soundtrack led to further work. The RZA created and produced the original music for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series, as well as Blade: Trinity, and Soul Plane. The RZA was nominated for four different awards for the work he did on the Kill Bill vol. 1 and 2 soundtracks, winning one.
In 2009 he released The Tao of Wu, a book detailing the philosophy of the Wu Tang and his worldview. He is currently working on a kung-fu movie, entitled Man with the Iron Fist, the second in which he is writing, directing, as well as starring in. He has made cameos in several movies including Coffee and Cigarettes, American Gangster, Gospel Hill, Life Is Hot in Cracktown, and Funny People.
RZA has also conceptualized and created a release of highly limited fine art pieces titled Victory Or Death. Details about Victory Or Death remain mum as does the conceptual behind the 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. When discussing the upcoming release, The RZA states, “It didn’t begin 20 years ago…more like 200 years ago. 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.”