London-listed Hipgnosis Songs Fund today said it had acquired 50 per cent of Wu-Tang Clan producer and rapper RZA’s back catalogue.
Robert Diggs, known as RZA, founded Staten Island, New York, rap collective the Wu-Tang Clan in 1992.
The kung fu-obsessed hardcore rap crew scored a smash hit with their 1993 breakthrough album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
Members of the group such as Raekwon, Method Man, Gza and Ol’ Dirty Bastard also scored solo hits with RZA-produced albums such as Only Built for Cuban Linx, Tical, Liquid Swords and Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version.
RZA has released four solo studio albums, his first being gold certified ‘Bobby Digital in Stereo’ in 1998.
He has also soundtracked films including Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill volumes one and two.
RZA’s works combined have more than 3bn streams worldwide.
Hipgnosis acquires catalogues of songwriters and tries to slot them into films, TV shows, games and Spotify playlists. The firm, and its investors, then reap the rewards of the royalties.
Merck Mercuriadis, founder of Hipgnosis Songs, said: “RZA and the Wu Tang Clan did not invent hip hop but they took it from being fun to something that represented a true reflection of what the streets, and being black in America was really like. They were and are the most authentic band and brand in hip hop and it all starts with RZA’s vision, his songs and his struggle, manifested in music, that could show the entire world what was really going on.”
RZA said: “I wear various hats in my artistic expressions but the one that has been so deeply reflective of my life’s journey is my songwriting. I’m honoured to partner up with Merck and the Hipgnosis team to usher my songs into an exciting future.”