RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan has sold a 50 percent stake in his catalog to the music company Hipgnosis Songs.
According to Billboard, the deal was announced on August 24, and includes a stake in copyright and writers share.Through the acquisition, Hipgnosis will have worldwide copyright to over 800 songs that RZA has either produced or written. This includes the entire Wu-Tang Clan discography, as well as songs by Kanye West, the Notorious BIG, Earl Sweatshirt and more.
Per Variety, among the albums acquired were Wu-Tang’s critically acclaimed 1993 debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), as well as RZA’s solo records, such as 2003’s Birth of a Prince and 2008’s Digi Snacks.
Merck Mercuriadis, the founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited and The Family (Music) Limited, called RZA “a true renaissance man of hip hop.”
“RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan did not invent hip hop, but they took it from being fun to something that represented a true reflection of what the streets, and being Black in America was really like,” Mercuriadis added. “They were and are the most authentic band and brand in hip hop, and it all starts with RZA’s vision, his songs and his struggle, manifested in music, that could show the entire world what was really going on.”
In a statement about the partnership, RZA said: “I wear various hats in my artistic expressions but the one that has been so deeply reflective of my life’s journey is my songwriting. I’m honored to partner up with Merck and the Hipgnosis team to usher my songs into an exciting future.”
Earlier in June, RZA paid tribute to Bruce Lee with a brand-new song. Titled “Be Like Water,” the track was featured in ESPN’s 30 For 30 series, which included a documentary on the late martial artist. Prior to that, the rapper released Guided Explorations, an EP of meditation tracks.