The rapper RZA called “the father of drug rap”
(Credit: David Shankbone)

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The rapper RZA called "the father of drug rap"

Founder and primary producer of the Wu-Tang Clan, RZA, has been a prominent figure in hip-hop for over three decades. The musician (real name Robert Diggs) helped assemble the crew in the late 1980s alongside GZA and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB).

RZA was the collective’s beatmaker and founder. The musician and actor was known for his lof-fi and gritty production style that became the signature sound of the Staten Island group, and he has since grown to become a versatile icon. The crew first broke into the mainstream in 1992 with their hit single ‘Protect Ya Neck’ and, as representatives of Staten Island, went on to have an unfathomable amount of hits, including ‘C.R.E.A.M’ and ‘Da Mystery of Chessboxin’. 

As a rapper, producer, director and movie producer, Diggs has evolved into a highly prolific creative and has directed several films, including The Man with the Iron Fists and Cut Throat City. However, he’s still an emcee at heart and in an interview, he once unveiled who he believes is the “father of drug rap.”

Concerning drug rap, many would believe that the father of it would be from the South, considering that one element of Southern hip-hop culture that has run rampant and caused some problems recently is the ‘Lean & Pills’ lifestyle.

However, although in contemporary rap music, artists speak about consuming drugs, RZA, as a 1990s veteran, wasn’t referencing those who rap about taking narcotics but instead, musicians who preach about selling them.

Revealing who he believes started the trend of drug rap, RZA professed that Kool G Rap began the movement, stating, “G Rap is the father of drug Rap yo. Off course, you know, I think Raekwon and Ghostface brought it to our generation and took it to a hands-on thing cause that’s where we came from.”

He continued, “But G Rap’s’ Road to the Riches, Wanted Dead or Alive, when he had that lyric, ‘Crack head searching a dead man’s pocket,’ they put you right on the block with that one. Or take his lyrics off ‘The Symphony’, which, at that time, Kane was the hottest rapper, but G Rap stole that song.”