Innovations – RZA the Sample Master

In those big moments in life, you always remember what you where doing when it happened. That’s what happened when I first heard C.R.E.A.M by the WuTang Clan.

I couldn’t believe my ears. That was one of the “tightest” tracks I ever heard. It was raw, it was hardcore, and it was different. The year was 1993, and I was living in a studio apartment on the East Side of Long Beach, Ca. When I bought the CD, I was amazed that almost all of the songs on the CD where good! I had no ideal RZA produced the track at the time, I just new that I could not get enough of it.


At the time when this song came out, Hip Hop sampling was fading out. The music had just come out of the noise music era, and G-Funk was just starting off on the west coast. But RZA changed and resurrected the East Coast Hip Hop in a big way. He took the same old simples people had used for years, and used them in a different way. He stretched them, minimized them, and gritted them up. He production was RAW in its purest form. His production used only the necessary elements to make a beat. This kept his production clean, and easy to understand. RZA had no concept of music theory; his songs did not follow any traditional format. They were just beats, breaks, rappers, and a hook placed whenever he felt like it.



The image and concept of RZA’s group “The Wu-Tang Clan,” was based upon a style of Shaolin Kung Fu. This was a mastery lovely Kung Fu, only known by the monks from the temple. That is how his music was. It was far from common. His music was masterful and unique. It affected the whole hip hop industry. Producers such as Kanye West, and Just Blaze adopted his style of sampling. RZA’s Wutang Clan become like a world wide hip hop cult. The symbol of the wu-tang could be found everywhere, and all of the new rappers where trying to imitate their style.


RZA won the respect of the world as a Hip Hop producer. He is a multi-platinum millionaire, with nothing left to prove to anyone about his musical talents. Yet he still made this statement “So even though I paid my dues to hip-hop, I hadn’t paid my dues to music, and so I went and started studying theory” – (Markman, 2011.) That statement made the biggest impact on my life as a music producer. Even though RZA has the accolades, he still saw the need to master his craft. So now he uses less samples, and tries to incorporate more live playing into his music. He explained that another musician could not cover his earlier songs, because they couldn’t be transcribed. RZA also stated that he had no idea what a “C” was. He was humble enough to admit it, and wise enough to do something about it. That is the model I want to follow. RZA gave me a new reason to embrace music theory.


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  1. Jshirl43

    I remember that song way back when…LOL that is one rapp song that I would listen too.  Thank you for sharing this one.

  2. Melas Gune

    WOW….that wz deep I felt that same way about the Logos……


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