RZA has offered up a new song in honor of Nelson Mandela, the South African leader who passed away last week, recording and releasing “Gift of Hope” with singer Will Wells. You can listen to the entire track below, which features a simple piano part and a wonderful, lilting vocal performance from Wells.
In a note accompanying the song, RZA said “Gift of Hope” was not just inspired by Mandela, but also his recent work on the TV show Gang Related. It’s an odd combination, but the Wu-Tang Clan honcho connected the two disparate ends, writing about the camaraderie and teamwork necessary for a TV show to succeed and how a strong group dynamic, more so than any one person, is the key to creating a unique, singular work.
“This micro work force can be liken to a macro society where – until the members of that society realizes that working peacefully and diligently together will end in a greater reward for future of the whole, that said society will continue to fail and eventually implode and erase itself from the map due to its own internal discord,” RZA continued. “In this vein greater men have put down their individual strife in the interest of building the collective. Thus great men are known by the mark they left on their country masses.”
RZA and Wells actually teamed up earlier this month for a similar tribute ballad, “Destiny Bends,” this one for Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker, who died in a car accident at the end of November. RZA has met the actor on the set of Brick Mansions, which has a planned 2014 release.
RZA’s tribute joins countless other outpourings of love and dedication for the former South African president: Jay Z closed out his recent concert in Los Angeles with “Young Forever,” which he dedicated to Mandela, while R. Kelly honored him with a performance of “Soldier’s Heart” on Arsenio.