RZA has been called a genius music creator, but he is also known for his business acumen. The legendary Wu-Tang Clan producer and hip-hop artist has sold 50% of his Wu-Tang and solo catalogs to intellectual property investment and song management company Hipgnosis Songs, according to Variety.
The deal included 814 works and is also part of the Hipgnosis Songs Fund’s ongoing efforts to strengthen ownership of its hip-hop catalog.
Hipgnosis Songs bought the catalogs of mega-producer Timbaland, Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, Jack Antonoff and Jeff Bhasker. Between March 2019 and March 2020, the British company spent nearly $ 700 million to acquire 42 catalogs, Hip-hop DX reported.
Hipgnosis Songs is a British Guernsey-registered company founded in 2018 by Canadian-American music industry executive and entrepreneur Merck Mercuriadis, and legendary African-American musician Nile Rodgers.
Neither the RZA nor Hipgnosis have disclosed the value of the deal.
Throughout his career, RZA has demonstrated his skills for do smart business and investments. Even before the Wu’s released their debut album, RZA started a company called Wu-Tang Productions and drew up a 20-year plan, NPR reported.
“RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan didn’t invent hip-hop, but they took it from fun to something that was a true reflection of what the streets really were, and being black in America, “Mercuriadis said in a statement. “They were and are the most authentic band and brand in hip-hop and it all started with RZA’s vision, their songs and their struggle, manifested in the music, that could show the world what was really going on.”
RZA is now globally recognized as a true man of the hip-hop renaissance and most would say he is the GOAT, Mercuriadis added.
The agreement includes RZA’s worldwide copyrights, including publishing and writing shares.
“I wear many hats in my artistic expressions, but the one that reflects my life’s journey so deeply is my songwriting,” said RZA. “I am honored to partner with Merck and the Hipgnosis team to bring my songs into an exciting future.”
Mercuriadis said his company sells proven hit songs that “produce reliable, predictable, uncorrelated cash flows that are highly investable.”
Among the music included in the RZA chord is Wu’s first classic LP “Enter The Wu (36 Chambers)” from 1993, considered one of the greatest records in hip-hop history. Then there’s the Wu-Tang Clan’s second album, “Wu-Tang Forever”, nominated for a Grammy. Released in 1997, it debuted at No.1 in the US and UK. He went platinum four times.
The other Wu-Tang albums included in the deal are “The W”, “Iron Flag”, “8 Diagrams”, “A Better Tomorrow”, “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin” and “The Saga Continues” (2017) .
RZA has also co-wrote and produced successful solo albums for Wu-Tang members, including Method Man’s “Tical,” which includes the Grammy-winning single “All I Need” with Mary J. Blige.
He produced the late Ol ‘Dirty Bastard album, “Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version”, released in 1995, as well as Raekwon’s debut album “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.…, “ which featured Nas; GZA’s debut album “Liquid Swords”; and Ghostface Killah’s “Ironman” in 1996. He co-produced Raekwon’s solo album “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II. ”
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Outside of the Wu-Tang Clan, RZA worked with Kanye West as one of the producers of his fifth studio album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, released in 2010 (RZA co-wrote and co-produced on opening track “Dark Fantasy”, and performed on, co-wrote and co-produced “So Appalled”). He also worked on West and Jay-Z’s collaborative studio album, “Watch the Throne”, for which he co-wrote / co-produced “New Day”.
RZA alone has released four solo studio albums, their first being “Bobby Digital in Stereo” certified gold in 1998.