Percy Carey (MF GRIFF) Interviews GZA

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[Each Wednesday, Complex columnist Percy Carey a.k.a. MF Grimm dives into the world of comic books with industry interviews, reviews and more.]

This interview is special to me because I had the rare opportunity to interview the GZA, who’s co-founder of the multi platinum group Wu-Tang Clan and a dear friend of mine for the past 25 years. GZA and I kicked it for a while and talked about us growing up in the ’80s, as well as our love for chess and mutual respect for Chess Grand Master Maurice Ashley (who’s also a friend of ours). But one other thing we have in common is our love for comics (GZA is currently working on his own book), so read on as two hip hop Grandmasters discuss comic books. M.I.C. & Wu-Tang is one family, one love. Enjoy…

Percy Carey: Some of the comics that I enjoyed growing up were Richie Rich and Archie; What about you or were you strictly into titles like DC Comics and Marvel?

GZA: Yeah, when I was younger, I remember reading Richie Rich and Archie, those were definitely some of my favorites growing up.

Percy Carey: Who was your favorite characters?

GZA: Favorite character was Archie, but I did like Jughead, because he was different. He wore a crown, and he reminded me a lot of Ralph Mouth from “Happy Days.” But gotta love the girls, Veronica and Betty.

Percy Carey: What else was it about reading comics you enjoyed outside of just the story itself?

GZA: Always used to love the ads that were run in comics. Seeing the skinny guy get buff, the sea monkeys you could send away for. Sometimes I’d read just for that stuff.

Percy Carey: What was it about about Richie Rich?

GZA: I love Richie Rich, because he was rich. You know, it was like watching the television show Diff’rent Strokes—I definitely wanted a room like that. You gotta love a kid with money, something to want, something to shoot for.

Percy Carey: Are fellow Wu-Tang Clan members like RZA and Method Man into comics as well?

GZA: Oh yeah. We used to sit around on tour buses discussing characters from Marvel, trying to remember how much people could lift, how far people could stretch their powers, and that was before they set up those power rating systems, put out those numbers. We were comparing what they wrote in the comics, and would get into arguments about what the real number was. Like how much weight Hulk could lift and stuff like that.

Percy Carey: If you could have one super power, what power would it be and why?

GZA: Telepath, to know what people were thinking. It would help me stay ten steps ahead, just like chess. Knowing what people are thinking and doing before they do it would help let me see what to do and where the world is gonna take me before it happens.

Percy Carey: I know you’re an avid chess player, because you and I discuss chess, but do you have any other passions?

GZA: Love science. Love getting into discussions about worm holes and time—that kind of stuff is fascinating to me. I’ve always loved science and math. Seeing the logic behind stuff, that’s one of the reasons I like chess so much. When I’m thinking about doing a new album, it kinda makes me think about the sciences, especially the science of breath. It’s amazing what the human body can do. You know, guys like David Blane who reset the world record for holding his breath, first he did for 7 minutes, and the record at the time was 8. That’s just crazy right there. He was living in water for like, two weeks. I mean, there’s parts of our body that don’t even get oxygen because we don’t breathe right. We can do exercises learning how to basically breathe correctly. When you sing, when you create, you have to know about breathing, because it helps with making the sounds, making the pitches. When you breathe right, you breathe into those dark places of your mind and your body, it opens up new pathways, and you feel like you can do anything.

Percy Carey: Any final thoughts about comics and the importance they hold?

GZA: Growing up, I read comics all the time. They’re great inspiration; they can show you the world is full of possibilities. Now, my son reads comics, and it’s something that we can share. It’s really a good feeling being able to share something like that with him, and now working on doing my own, it’s really cool to give back to that world.

Percy Carey: I know you recently came back from a tour in Europe. How many people were in attendance for your last show there?

GZA: Over 30,000 people who love the Wu showed up in support.

Percy Carey: Well it’s safe to say that you’ll have great sales when your comic book is in the stores, GZA, because you already have millions of fans worldwide and I’m sure John Mayo from would agree that your potential sales numbers as a comic book writer will compete with any of the biggest major comic book titles out right now. So that’s very impressive.

GZA: Thank you.

Percy Carey: How can the readers learn more about you and and also the Wu-Tang Clan?

GZA: If you want to reach me the quickest I strongly recommend you go to It’s accessible to everyone that’s why I like it, other than that I would say for the Wu as a collective.

Percy Carey: GZA, as always, is was great building with you thank you for you time.

Click here to see Percy’s favorite new comic-related releases of the week!
Native New Yorker Percy Carey is a hip hop recording artist (aka MF GRIMM), a journalist, and an award winning writer. His first comic book was a gritty and sensational story that retold his experiences growing up into a hard life, and turning it around. It was nominated for several Eisner awards, the highest achievement in the comic book/graphic novel world. That book, a graphic novel entitled Sentences: the Life of MF Grimm is published by Vertigo/DC Comics. Percy continues to write and produce music, always trying to push the envelope and break new boundaries in all his endeavors. (coming soon)

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