On March 4th, 2022, RZA and DJ Scratch will release their full-length album, Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater. The CD is a love letter to the kung fu movies that ran on local television channels every Saturday when there were only five options. For a generation of young people, the films were a source of fantasy and creativity, as well as wonderfully brutal lessons in good vs. evil.
RZA was able to focus on his first love, MCing, because DJ Scratch produced the album solely, which is a novel concept considering RZA’s major production presence on most of the projects he’s worked on. Despite never having collaborated in an official capacity, RZA and Scratch are both New York rap pioneers who have long respected each other’s work; in fact, Scratch released an instrumental album called “If The Wu Was Here” that was inspired by RZA’s production
RZA spars with Bobby Digital, his more aggressive alter-ego, over vintage ’90s boom-bap music laced with kung fu movie samples, trading verbal blows. The album was formed during RZA’s early quarantine months, and the ultimate result is a dramatic sonic voyage in which he fluctuates between identities and emotions, expressing the human mind’s bipolar tendencies.
Danny Hastings and The RZA produced the vividly nostalgic video for the title track, “Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater,” which chronicles a young boy’s immersion into the afternoon movie, featuring RZA vs. Bobby Digital, with DJ Scratch adding musical drama.
“Lyrically the hip-hop part of me had a chance to re-emerge during quarantine,” said RZA. “Giving Scratch the reins as a producer and me taking the reins as an MC, that’s what frees me up creatively and lets me play more with lyrical gags and lyrical flows because I don’t have to be focused on everything. He [Scratch] delivered tracks that resonated and brought me back to a sound that I felt was missing. For me, it was really natural for me to flow and write to these songs.”
DJ Scratch added, “It was an honor to produce & executive produce an entire album for a legendary MC, who happens to be one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time. This album is like a movie. The first track gives you the synopsis of the movie. The beats & the videos we shot will take you back to when you couldn’t wait to turn to channel 5 every Saturday at 3 pm to watch Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater. I’m proud of this project & I can’t wait to perform these songs live.”
The album will arrive on March 4.