Wu-Tang founder GZA discusses music and education for Distinguished Lecture Series

Wu-Tang founder GZA discusses music and education for Distinguished Lecture Series

March 02
19:09 2016

Erica Wieting | Features Editor

@ericawieting

Kyle Martin | Staff Writer

@Kyle_Martin35

Relaxing in a plastic chair inside a small room in the University Union, Gary Grice raps about making sense of the world through lyrics and art.

“My universe runs like clockworks forever / Words pull it together, sudden change in the weather,” he rapped. “The nature and the scale of events don’t make sense / A storm with no warning and you’re drawn in by immense / Gravity.”

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GZA addresses a sold out crowd during his speech as a part of UNT’s Distinguished Lecture Series. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

It was just minutes before the rapper, songwriter and Wu-Tang Clan founder, better known as GZA and The Genius, would speak in front of a sold-out audience at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Union Ballroom.

He talked about the Science Genius Program he co-founded and his interest in hip-hop education, which his upcoming album “Dark Matter” will be based on. He also reminisced about his childhood and talked about his days with the Wu-Tang Clan.

“I never wanted to accept the title ‘Genius’ because the expectations were always too high,” he said.

When he entered the hip-hop industry, the genre was brand-new, spreading like wildfire from house to house. He said the innovation within the industry allowed him to find an outlet for his musical and scientific interests.

“If you said you were an M.C., either you were looking for someone, or someone was looking for you,” he said.

Before taking the stage, GZA talked about his musical and scientific inspirations. Mentioning a documentary series called “Unsung” about various artists, the musician said he both learns from and is motivated by the series.

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GZA poses in his green room before his speech as a part of UNT’s Distinguished Lecture Series. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

His fascination with science and discovery also motivates many of his lyrics. Leaning forward, he talked about how a single teaspoon of spider silk can make 50 bulletproof vests. 

“I’m using [science] as information to tell a compelling story,” GZA said. “I’m not explaining what atoms are and how they break down. I’m a science enthusiast.”

Onstage, GZA related sound and music to universal ideas, drawing on science to explain how sound is part of the larger art of music. Music has always been an integral part of his past, as his mother sang lullabies to him before he could even understand the words.

He talked about embracing challenges and pushing limits regarding education, philosophy, the arts and expansion of the mind.

“I’ve been inspired by many different things and stories and many different people, whether it was family, friends, whether it was some worldly person that was respected a great deal,” GZA said. “I get inspired by life itself.”

Featured Image: GZA freestyles about science to a sold out crowd during his speech as a part of UNT’s Distinguished Lecture Series. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

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