RZA – Afro Samurai: The Album: #454 of best 1,000 albums ever!

RZA - Afro Samurai - The Album

So why is RZA’s Afro Samurai: The Album on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

One of the first words that comes to mind when I think about RZA’s music and production style is “cinematic,” so it makes all kinds of sense that when he produced a movie soundtrack, the result would be both unique and fantastic*.

* Honestly, another word that comes to mind for RZA is “genius,” but I’m trying not to gush too much, and also The Genius is of course a moniker that fellow Wu-Tang alum GZA goes by!

And there could not be a more appropriate movie for RZA to score than Afro Samurai: based on a manga series by Takashi Okazaki, it’s an animated story that takes place in a “feudal yet futuristic” Japan, involving headbands that grant god-like powers, assassins, revenge, and entities such as the Empty Seven Clan. Perfect in other words for the mastermind who conjured the Wu-Tang Clan into existence.

It’s a surprisingly rangy soundtrack, spanning the gamut from “Bazooka Fight II,” which is the kind of soundtrack-y song you might expect to find in a good blockbuster action flick, to strikingly original hip hop tracks. My favorite of the latter category is “Just A Lil Dude ‘Who Dat Ovah There,” which features Free Murder and the one and only Q-Tip.

In a way only RZA can pull off, the sound is somehow widescreen Western, Asian martial arts movie, and spectacularly original hip hop all at the same time.

I’m all in on the title of the song, “Take Sword Part 1,” alone for some reason. Well, the real reason I’m in on this one is because this might be the best slowest paced hip hop song I’ve ever heard. As a result, it drips with swag and features some of RZA’s best rapping, be it with the Wu-Tang Clan, solo, or otherwise.

And then “Cameo Afro,” featuring old school hip hop legend Big Daddy Kane, GZA, and Suga Bang Bang, is head bobbing cinematic hip hop.

Straight RZA, in other words.

Some stats & info about RZA – Afro Samurai: The Album

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Movie Soundtracks, Hip Hop, Rap, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap, Alternative Rap
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Afro Samurai released? 2007
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #454 out of 1,000

RZA’s Afro Samurai: The Album on YouTube

A lyrical snippet from RZA’s Afro Samurai: The Album that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

When they see me, they say, “Who dat ovah there?” Just a lil dude with a head full of hair.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.