RZA, aka Bobby Diggs, is one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan. The 50-year-old New York native has since gone on to become a successful rapper, producer, actor, and businessman.
RZA was born Robert Fitzgerald Diggs on July 5, 1969, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York, according to IMDb. He was reportedly named after JFK and Robert Kennedy, who his mother admired. RZA is now a husband and father of seven children.
With Alex Tse, RZA created “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” which will premiere on Hulu on September 4, 2019. The miniseries is set in 1990s New York City during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic and portrays a fictionalized account of the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. RZA Co-Founded Wu-Tang Clan With His Cousins
According to his biography on the Wu-Tang website, RZA was a member of the rap group All In Together Now from Staten Island, New York, during the early 1990s when he started to make a name for himself in the rap game.
RZA’s success with the group, which was made up of fellow Wu-Tang members such as GZA and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, led him to sign with the famous rap label Tommy Boy under the name Prince Rakeem, where he issued his first EP “Ooh We Love You Rakeem” in 1991.
After his deal with Tommy Boy, RZA formed the Wu-Tang Clan with his fellow members, according to the website. He is listed as the Wu-Tang Clan’s chief producer. The Wu-Tang Clan released their debut single “Protect Ya Neck,” after which RZA was reportedly able to sign the group to Steve Rifkind’s Loud Records.
RZA later became the Rzarector, forming the group Gravediggaz with Prince Paul, Frukwan and the late Poetic, according to his bio. In addition, RZA has released two albums out under another alter ego Bobby Digital.
The Wu-Tang Clan is currently on their 36 Chambers 25th Anniversary Celebration Tour, playing venues from Toronto, Ontario to Tuscan, Arizona until November 2019.
RZA has been quoted saying, “the wu is the way, the tang is the slang.”
2. Chess is Important to RZA’s Creative Process
According to the New York Times, RZA and GZA competed in the 2007 Hip-Hop Chess Federation Kings Invitational Tournament. The two cousins reportedly played the game when they were young, RZA saying chess is an important part of his creative process.
RZA told the outlet that they keep a chessboard in the studio, adding that it helps him focus his mind on one thing at a time. In addition, they believe that chess can have a positive impact on young people because it is a game of stimulation.
In the official trailer for “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” there are several scenes hinting that the game of chess played a role in the success of the Wu-Tang Clan.
“A pawn behaves like a pawn because it believes it’s a pawn,” an old man says in the trailer.
3. RZA is an Actor and Director
According to IMDb, RZA has racked up 57 acting credits and 10 producer credits during his career. The 50-year-old rapper is best known for his roles in the films “American Gangster,” “Repo Men,” and “The Man With The Iron Fists.”
Fans have most recently seen RZA play the role of Dean in the 2019 film “The Dead Don’t Die” with Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Chloë Sevigny. Next, he will star as Ron in the upcoming film “Life in a Year” with Cara Delevingne, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Jaden Smith.
Not only has RZA worked in front of the camera as an actor, but he has also worked as a producer. He is an executive producer for “Wu-Tang: An American Saga.”
4. RZA is Married to Talani Rabb
According to Live Ramp Up, RZA was initially married to Eboni Mills. The to wed in 2000 and went on to have four children, Shaquasia, Melchizedek, Understanding and Eternity Diggs. In addition, RZA had two more children outside of his marriage, Raindia Diggs and Pranda Diggs.
Pranda Diggs told Slate that her mother, Tekitha Wisdom, was friends with RZA before she was born. She said that by the time she arrived, they were already back to being friends again and it has made them better co-parents.
Mills and RZA divorced in 2006. He went on to marry Talani Rabb in 2009, with whom he shares a son.
“And now both of my parents are married, so I have four parents,” Pranda told Slate. “I love my stepmom. She’s awesome. I’ve known her since I was like 4. They are so perfect together.”
Rabb is a former model, having signed with Ford Model Agency at the age of 16, according to IMDb. Now, according to her Twitter bio, she is married to The RZA of Wu-Tang Clan. She says she works with her husband and is the mother of their son and step-children.
5. RZA is a Vegan & Advocates for PETA
According to RZA, it doesn’t make sense to put “dead flesh” into a “live body.” He says there isn’t an animal on this planet that does not want to live, and he does not want the flesh from a dead animal in his live body.
In a video, RZA says he thinks that hip-hop artists are becoming more conscious about their diets. According to PETA, Masta Killa and other Wu-Tang members have also adopted vegan lifestyles. RZA reportedly sees being vegan as a “better tomorrow.”
“A better tomorrow, to sum it up, means if you’re doing good today, you’re still going to do better tomorrow. But if you’re doing bad today, you need a better tomorrow.”