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What RZA Can’t Live Without

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked RZA of Wu-Tang Clan about his Tom Ford glasses, perfectly sized guitar, and King James Bible.

I’ve got these on right now. I probably have ten pairs of black Timbs and have been wearing those boots since the ’90s. You know, the other colors will come and go with the fads, but with the black ones, you never lose. I don’t care if I’m wearing jeans or dressing up with some nice black pants. Or maybe with a skinny-jean vibe. You can’t lose.

I’m always carrying my laptop and a beat machine on me, which usually means I am packing a lot of bags, but my wife got me this new Louis bag last year that fits my computer and beat machine and Roli Seaboard all at the same time. I basically walk around with a studio in my Louis bag, along with any documents that need signing. The best part is that the strap fits right onto your roller, so I stick it right on my Samsonite, and it’s like the two are made for each other. I can’t tell you how many businessmen ask me about my bag when I fly first class.

I keep all my work and files and kung-fu movies on my laptop because sometimes you travel and the internet is slow. I will sit and watch 36th Chamber or Shaolin vs. Wu Tang if I can’t stream anything. It’s a 1 TB walking cache of film. Of course, it’s all backed up, too.

So it’s about the size of a keyboard, and you can use it for creating instrumental sounds, especially the sound of drum pads. It’s Bluetooth, too, and on a plane, if you have the Noise app, and this block, and some headphones, you can be anywhere and create something useful. It’s so easy, my 12-year-old son even has one, too.

For some reason, I got the face shape that fits Tom Fords. You either catch me with the shades on or in the nerds. We call them the Malcolm X glasses in the hood. I actually have eyes that irritate easily, so I wear the glasses to keep stuff out of my eyes. If you see me in shades indoors, you might be like, “RZA is wearing shades inside, what the hell is going on?” I’m protecting my eyes, and I’m looking cool. I have probably a dozen pairs.

There’s a company called Godin out of Canada that makes these guitars, and for some reason, because of the way the strings are spaced and the width of the fretboard, their guitars are a perfect fit for my hands. I’ve tried and collected many different guitars, but this is the one I bring with me when I travel. I actually have two of them in case one gets damaged. It’s been one of the best things for keeping me out of trouble for the last 12 years. Sometimes I can be in the city and get caught up in the limelight of partying and getting into the vibe, but I’ll come back to my room at night and instead of getting involved in something foolish, I’ll pick up my guitar and get a good vibe in my heart.


Wisdom is important in every man’s life. Whether you take the Bible literally or figuratively, it contains information that helps as we go through our lives. I will keep a Bible or Koran on me at all times — the Bible I can actually carry on my phone, and any hotel you go to has a Bible, but the Koran is harder. I keep a physical Koran in my guitar case and put it on the table in hotel rooms so after a day’s work, I can read a few verses.

Photo: Brandy Cusick/2014.Brandy Cusick.All rights reserved.

In New York, you gotta have your hoodie underneath your jacket. It’s part of your costume. The classic Wu Tang Shaolin hoodie keeps me up-to-date and gets me nostalgic about being a youth running around in hoodies when they were first popping on the streets. This one is new, but I’ve had Wu hoodies in my house that date back to 1995 — my son keeps taking those, though, so I’m glad this year we’ve got fresh new ones for everybody. Because I’m an older brother, when I get inside, I take my jacket and my hoodie off. I don’t want to look too thuggish. But this one I keep on cause it has a swag.

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What RZA Can’t Live Without