When: Sat., Aug. 11, 8:30 p.m. 2012
RZA is a jack of all trades and shockingly successful at a whole lot of them. He's written books on philosophy; he kicked off the whole trend of rappers starting clothing lines, and displayed a genius level of business acumen by getting a song touting Wu Wear on the High School High soundtrack, in effect being paid to run an advertisement for his own stuff; he gave a film-stealing performance alongside his cousin GZA in Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes; and he cowrote, directed, and starred in the upcoming martial-arts epic The Man With the Iron Fists. He also plays a mean game of chess. But all those accomplishments pale in comparison to his work as the principal architect of the Wu-Tang Clan and as a solo artist. He's a fearlessly inventive producer who raised the boom-bap of NYC street rap to the level of high art, and "New Day," his contribution to Jay-Z and Kanye's 2011 album Watch the Throne, proves that he's still on top of his game. And he's a far better rapper than he's commonly given credit for—cue up the aforementioned "Wu Wear: The Garment Renaissance" to hear him run down a list of polysyllabic chemical names before launching into a convincing sales pitch. —Miles Raymer Fess Grandiose, Free Ajents, Aerias, and Anti Crew open.