RZA – Birth of a Prince: #387 of best 1,000 albums ever!

RZA - Birth of a Prince

So why is RZA’s Birth of a Prince on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

I’m a massive fan of RZA as both rapper and producer, and Birth of a Prince is my favorite solo RZA record that he’s produced to date.

“A Day to God Is 1000 Years” is everything I’m looking for in a hip hop track. Let’s start with the production: it’s exquisite, and I could absolutely listen to that chill as [REDACTED] guitar and flute sample (pulled from Gladys Knight & The Pips’ “The Way We Were / Try to Remember)” on repeat all day long.

RZA’s rapping – top of game as ever – and hip hop backbeat give the track a rawness and energy and authenticity that makes it feel underground even while the execution is as worldclass as you’ll ever find.

And lyrically, just look at a song with the title of “A Day to God Is 1000 Years” alone. RZA has a deeply honed and unique worldview spanning religion and philosophy and wildly eclectic pop cultural interests) and street wisdom (all of which he poured into the creation of the Wu-Tang Clan) honed growing up on the streets of New York City*.

* If any of this interests you, I highly recommend reading The Tao of Wu.

Many of the same things can be said about “Chi Kung,” featuring Beretta 9 and Cilvaringz, except this one has much more of a pulsing, groovy-hypnotic vibe with a subtle sprinkle of grime, evoking late night machinations and philosophications, as we would say back in the day.

“We Pop, featuring ODB himself in addition to CCF Division, is something of a departure for RZA – as eclectic as his musical tastes are – sounding a bit like the best song that Jay-Z never produced.

“The Whistle,” as the song title indicates, features a repetitive high-pitched whistle that drives a gritty track that features Prodigal Sunn and Wu-Tang alum Masta Killa.

Some stats & info about RZA – Birth of a Prince

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rap, Hip Hop, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap, Underground Pop, Alternative Rap
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 3 out of 5 stars
  • When was Birth of a Prince released? 2003
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #387 out of 1,000

RZA’s Birth of a Prince on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from RZA’s Birth of a Prince that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

When you attack, I fall back in the wind like the lotus –  put the soul in the track like my name was Otis.

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.