Wu-Tang’s RZA: ‘I used to do rap battles on the spot where Eric Garner was killed’

Rapper discusses racial injustice in wake of US police brutality

Wu-Tang Clan‘s RZA has spoken out about racial injustice in America and revealed that the spot where Eric Garner was killed is “on his doorstep”.

Speaking in the new issue of NME, which is on newsstands now and available digitally, the rapper discussed the New York grand jury’s decision not to indict the Staten Island police officer caught on film fatally choking Garner, an unarmed black father-of-six who was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes.

“I’m not a political person, I’m a spiritual person. But this shit happened on my doorstep outside a place where as a kid I used to get turkey sandwiches,” RZA said. “Me and my friends would do rap battles on the sidewalk right next to where it happened. Today is a sad day.”

The rapper added that although Barack Obama’s inauguration was a declaration to the world that America was committed to racial change, not much is different now to when he was growing up. “It happened in our childhood and it’s happening now. The way I see it, your tax dollars are an investment in your city, your community, people that protect our freedoms. Things like the Garner case make you question that process, though. Like, I’m paying taxes for what? To go to see Interstellar at the movies, eat a big box of popcorn with my daughter, then get choked out by some policeman for being in the wrong place at the wrong time on the way out? Nah.”

He added: “There’s a nigga in the video for [1993’s] ‘CREAM’ stood behind Raekwon. See him? Just a guy from the block. Nice kid. He’s dead now. Choked out by the police. He didn’t do nothing. But that’s America. Always has been.”

RZA said that injustices like this, as well as the case in Ferguson, where a court ruled that a white policeman who shot dead unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown wouldn’t face court for his inactions, are “the entire reason why [the new Wu-Tang] album exists. A better tomorrow is what we all need to be working to make happen.”

Wu-Tang Clan released their new album ‘A Better Tomorrow’ earlier this month. The band also announced details of two UK gigs for June 2015 – at London’s O2 Academy Brixton and Glasgow’s O2 Academy.

The group’s video for their album’s title-track featured footage from the recent protests in Ferguson and New York.