“I’m the baddest man alive,” raps RZA, “I don’t plan to die.” Braggadocio from a rapper is nothing new, but it is absolutely true that the artistic life of RZA, the legendary hip-hop producer and Wu-Tang Clan maestro, is showing no signs of demise.
He makes his directorial debut with The Man with the Iron Fists, a new choppy-chop kung fu feature he co-wrote with Eli Roth. (RZA also stars in the film, along with Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe.) The soundtrack is a rich one, with Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Wiz Khalifa and each of the surviving Wu-Tang gang participating.
RZA’s boasts of immortality and excellent badness come from a new song by the Black Keys, the fuzz-blues duo who filmed a video with the swaggy rapper. The Baddest Man Alive is a scuzzy soul-rock vamp, with RZA making perilous and, frankly, inappropriate claims: “I spit in crocodile’s face; have a ménage à trois with two female apes.” Its video is set in a Chinese restaurant, with the three fighting over a fortune cookie. Fists (iron and otherwise) fly, as do fish, chopsticks and heads of iceberg lettuce. Health code violations are numerous, as one might imagine. You’ll have to watch the video to see if RZA wins the post lo-mein treat, but rest assured, the dude’s fortune is fine.