On June 25, Rapper/producer RZA released a brand new single called “Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater” featuring DJ Scratch. This single comes ahead of RZA’s upcoming album called RZA vs Bobby Digital, which is also produced by DJ Scratch and is set to be released later this summer.
The song and lyric video pay homage to classic Kung-fu movies, which RZA was apparently watching all throughout quarantine when the pandemic first took hold of the world. Infused with an old school flow, if heard closely enough, one can pick up on the sampling of instrumentation that sounds as if it would’ve been used in a kung-fu movie from the 70s or 80s.
In the single, RZA continues to call out Bobby Digital, an alter ego he created to contrast with his own personality. While RZA himself is said to be more peaceful and content, the character of Bobby Digital was created as a sinister, womanizing aggressor that sits completely on the opposite side of RZA’s true identity.
RZA and DJ Scratch began working on the album at the beginning of quarantine. Having that time off from his already busy schedule gave RZA time to experiment with other talents while making the album. For instance, the rapper took this time to try MCing on the new album. In a press release, RZA said that working on the album while in quarantine gave him a chance to re-emerge the hip hop side of himself.
“Giving scratch the reins as a producer and me taking the reins as an MC, that’s what frees me up creatively and lets me play more with lyrical gags and lyrical flows because I don’t have to be focused on everything,” RZA said. “[Scratch] delivered tracks that resonated and brought me back to a sound that I felt was missing. For me it was really natural to flow and to write these songs.”
“Saturday Afternoon Kung-Fu Theater” was teased during a screening of the 1978 Kung-fu film, Five Deadly Venoms earlier this month on 36 Cinema, a digital streaming platform RZA launched during the pandemic that is full of live commentary on classic movies. RZA also used the streaming platform to promote his new song, “Pugilist,” back in April.
While RZA Vs Bobby Digital has been rumored to drop on August 6, there has still been no official release date for the album.
Photo Credit: Owen Ela