RZA broke his new Man With The Iron Fists soundtrack down to the very last compound in this track-by-track for Complex, spelling out the details of collaborations with Kanye West, Idle Warship, Kool G Rap, BadBadNotGood and a whole lot more. Clarifies a bit how the music fits into the movie–a lot of the beats were apparently written as score but then used as backing tracks for vocals, including the soulful sounds that became Kanye’s “White Dress.” Read on after the jump for some of the juiciest tidbits.
RZA on Kanye West -“White Dress” (prod. Kanye West and RZA):
“The Kanye track was actually written for the film. I invited Kanye into the editing room, and I showed him the scene [where Lucy Liu’s character comes around the corner wearing a gown], and it already had the music underneath the scene. And I wanted him to write a song for it. He came in to see the scene, and he loved it. And he was like, ‘Yo, I’m gonna bless it. Trust me.’
“So I took the track, which was more score [at first], and not as elaborate as what we ended up with, it was more just the soul Stax sound that we had. [I gave him the track], and I sent him away. We would communicate every few months, because it took about eight months to get all this music together.
“And about six months in, I was inside what’s called the sound stage. See, some of these songs are in the movie itself. Some are not. This is in the movie. But the only way to get it in the movie is to have it in by a certain day, because the movie closes [production]. And about one week before the movie closed, Kanye sent the song.
“We were happy, because we already had a version of the scene without it. But I emailed him one more time, because he had told me the verse maybe a month earlier, and said he didn’t finish it, but was like, ‘I’m goin’ in, I’m goin’ in.’ And then, when he finished it and sent it to me, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, he went in.’ I think he [rapped] great on that song.
“If my time allows me, I’m gonna try to slip down there to Hawaii to hook up with him.”
RZA on Idle Warship (Talib Kweli & Res) – “Get Your Way” (prod. Frank Dukes and BadBadNotGood):
“That song was inspired by the movie, by Lucy Liu’s character. As you notice, the song starts off with her, and she says, ‘Power is a fickle mistress.’ It’s basically [about] the power of sex. And we reached out to Talib maybe right after the movie was kind of finished. And we wanted to have more of a female voice, and something that addressed the sex. So we sent him the trailer, and the trailer inspired him, and he came back with this.”
RZA on Wu-Tang Clan f/ Kool G Rap – “Rivers of Blood” (prod. Frank Dukes and BadBadNotGood):
“U-God came in last on the hook. I was on the hook at first, and my hook was terrible. [Laughs.] I wasn’t really focused enough to do the hook [because I was in film mode]. So I needed a strong voice. And U-God recorded his verse on ‘Six Directions of Boxing’ first. So I said, ‘Let’s bring him back in for the hook on this one.’
“And once again, we combined some of the score with the music. BadBadNotGood laid down the music for it, that band is hot. And then Raekwon, Ghost, and G Rap went in and did their thing.
‘And Frank Dukes, [who worked on a bunch of songs on the soundtrack], is a soul producer, and a good musician. And to me, he is someone that understands the Wu sound. He just gets it. And the minute he brings live instruments to it, it’s saving me a lot of trouble with the samples. He gets the vibe of the music, and then flips it. Real smart kid.”
Read the full Q&A at CMPLX