top of page

Hip-Hop Life Lessons Ch.1 | The Tao of Wu | Wu-Tang Clan

I know what you must be thinking: "this must be an incredible read if this chick took her time to write a post about it." You're right. I've been a Wu-tang fan and enjoy listening to their music on my AirPods and pretend like it's background music in my life.

My life has required a tough girl front, and the Wu-Tang gave me the edge and spiritual gangster attitude that has helped me to overcome some of the hardest "battles".

A wise man named The RZA once said:

 “Knowledge is a strong thing, but wisdom overpowers it every time.”

Wisdom > Knowledge

(Fan art, not my own works, GZA I love you if you read this)

The wisdom their music gave me also made me believe in my artistic creative abilities.

I used The Wu-tang for many of my previous French Tost fashion business marketing.

"As an artist, you have to believe in yourself and what you’re doing. That’s the only way to keep pushing forward.” - RZA

The Tao of Wu

I read the Tao of Wu last year and it changed my perspective on life in a few ways I will share with you.

The Tao of Wu is "a unique book of wisdom and experience that reaches from the most violent slums of New York City to the highest planes of spiritual thought by the RZA, founder of the Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop's most exalted wise man."

The new book is a series of seven lessons that RZA learned along his journey in life. He talks about his childhood in a two-bedroom apartment, sometimes shared with as many as 19 people. He says he had a tough life as a kid in the projects, but that he learned valuable lessons in the process.

"Well, beyond, 'Make sure you eat first...' " RZA says with a laugh. "No, I learned a lot from hardship. I guess the hardship and taking the goodness out of it".

Lesson 1: know yourself

“Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing yourself is Enlightenment. - Lao-Tzu”

Yes, wisdom, enlightenment, force, and strength are the four key words used by Lao Tzu. The meaning of these words:

Wisdom here can mean the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement.

Enlightenment in the simplest definition is the understanding or awareness that brings change to oneself.

Force is about coercion or compulsion

Strength means to be courageous and tenacious

“Knowing the self is enlightenment” means understanding your own self can bring a deeper awareness or self-realization. By having a keen self-awareness, then we can empowered to make the necessary changes to our life.

Lesson 2: let your ego go, bro!

“So love, like wisdom, dissolves you and then resolves you. It breaks down your ego and puts you back together again properly.”

My last relationship taught me this too.

Be vulnerable even when you're afraid to have deeper feelings for the other person and fear getting hurt again. Maybe you will, maybe you won't. In my case, it didn't work out but I was glad I let my ego go. I took great lessons from the relationship and I'll carry them over to the next. But your ego has gotta go.

Lesson 3: be the example if you can't help them

I am referring to anyone you know in your life that is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse/addiction. It's easy for us to say "They're a grown ass person they know how to make their own decisions" yes - but no. Sometimes when someone is experiencing this in their life they can't see reasoning. They may not ask for help and maybe you have tried over and over and over and over again to help them get better. RZA refers to ODB and his last days before he passed away.

He says: “When we neglect others out of superficial wisdom, fake respect, phony knowledge—we tell ourselves it’s their life; we say it’s not our responsibility; we don’t want to get involved. Fuck that. Get involved. Or we’ll all feel the pain.”

Get involved and if nothing changes, be the example for them. I recently (literally last week) finally decided to confront and scold my dad who continues to abuse drugs after 40 years. I usually saved my breath on bothering to try but something told me to. It also gives you your peace in this situation. </3

Lesson 4: you create your happiness

Happiness-- which is total and complete satisfaction with yourself. This means you realize that nothing and nobody else can make you happy. Happiness is something you get from yourself. If you're completely satisfied with yourself, nobody can take it away from you.”

These are facts. No one but you can make YOU happy.

Others can and will bring you joy. But true happiness is a choice we make daily. When your mind is joyful, the world is too. And when your mind is filed with negative thought, the world appears negative too.

"The Tao means, basically, the "Way." It refers to the flow of life, the way nature expresses itself. Taoism teaches you to unite your actions with the flow of the universe. You want to be spontaneous and free from outside influences like social institutions.

Confucianism, on the other hand, is more life a concept of government, conduct, and social order. So they seem like opposites, but in Chinese society, they along with Buddhism combine to form a general approach to the world.

Confucianism is about relationships. Buddhism is about release. Taoism is about balance. If your life is in turmoil and conflict, you're not living in the Tao."

- RZA "The Wu Tang Manual"


bottom of page