Why RZA compared Nas to Bobby Fischer
(Credit: David Shankbone)

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Why RZA compared Nas to Bobby Fischer

RZA and Nas are two New York legends who burst into the early 1990s. As a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, the producer (real name Robert Diggs) was initially competing with Nas to be the best. However, he has since admitted that even back then, he knew Nas’ artistry and technical ability were next level.

Many in hip-hop, from Daddy-O to Lance ‘Un’ Rivera, have recalled how, even at the age of 14, Nas was a child prodigy, and RZA told a similar story during a recent appearance on the Lex Fridman podcast.

Using the analogy of a chessboard as the hip-hop scene, Diggs explained, “We got a chessboard in front of us, and one of the greatest chess players was Bobby Fischer. One of the greatest American chess players. He was a master at, what, 14? See, I met Nas when he was 15, and he was already a master lyricist!”

RZA continued to sing the praises of Nas (real name Nasir Jones), declaring, “I’m four or five years older than Nas, so I was always feeling my confidence, but I was like, ‘This kid is only 15!’ Then, when he was 19, we got Illmatic. One of the greatest to do it.”

Nas and RZA have collaborated over the years on tracks such as Wu-Tang’s’ Verbal Intercourse,’ ‘Let My Niggas Live,’ ‘Tanasia’ and ‘Highly Favoured’ from 2019’s The Lost Tapes 2. However, as RZA transitioned into Hollywood, Nas remained in hip-hop and despite having a minor lull in his career, upon collaborating with Hit-Boy, Nas began to have a comeback.

With projects such as King’s Disease II, Magic, King’s Disease III, Magic 2, and Magic 3, the Queensbridge emcee even ended up receiving a Grammy award for ‘Best Rap Album’ in 2020.

With legendary projects such as the Illmatic and It Was Written under his belt, all recorded before he was even 24 years old, it is no surprise that RZA considers Nas the Bobby Fischer of hip-hop.