book review: the tao of wu

The Tao of Wu is a weird book by the RZA. I mean, it’s about taosim and philosophy and the jewels of being and shit, but also about being Bobby Digital and partying the fuck out of the hip-hop life. He talks a lot about the Supreme Mathematics and being a Five Per Center and a lot of the Nation of Islam stuff I didn’t know anything about. But it’s also about comic books and Kung-Fu movies and finding your way to happiness.

The stuff I found most tedious was the numerology. You can pretty much do anything you want with numbers when you’re looking for significant dates and aren’t too picky about specifics. He goes on about how Barack Obama being the 44th president is significant numerologically and then goes on to say that since he’s the 43rd person to hold the office (because of Taft) those numbers are also significant. But they weren’t significant when Dubya was in. There’s a lot of that kind of intellectually not too rigorous kind of pontificating in the book.

But the stuff about him learning the Mathematics as a kid and being on and off of spiritual paths? Really good. His chess talk gets a little woo-woo spiritual but it’s an interesting perspective. Also, he had the best explanation of the difference between East Coast and West Coast rap and why it led to violence. He also talked about how the Wu-Tang Clan sound was created and having a dictatorial plan to make it work and about the death of ODB. I haven’t read a lot on these subjects so I liked it.

I wouldn’t recommend it as a reference book on Taoism or anything, but it’s an interesting perspective on taking a spiritual path that’s littered with shell casings.

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