Revered producer and the mastermind behind the influential hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan, RZA (Robert Diggs) will be presented with the TEC Innovation Award at The NAMM Show’s 2024 TEC Awards on Saturday, January 27 in Anaheim, California. The award honors individuals that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of recording technology.
“RZA’s formidable body of work and talent is unquestionable,” said John Mlynczak, NAMM president and CEO. “His legacy of accomplishments and lasting power on music inspires many music makers beyond hip-hop and he deserves this high recognition.”
Diggs is a trailblazer in culture and in hip-hop, having created the group’s widely imitated core sound consisting of stark, booming beats, and chilling samples heavily drawing from vintage soul records as well as kung fu movies, which set the backdrop for the crew’s gritty narratives.
The Staten Island group entered the music scene in 1993 with “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers),” an album Rolling Stone dubbed one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (#27). The debut album included C.R.E.A.M.,” a track the magazine also feted in the #1 slot in its list of The 100 Best East Coast Hip-Hop Songs of All Time. Since then, the collective has sold more than 40 million albums globally.
Diggs’ renaissance career has also reached beyond recording with ventures into the world of television and films, earning him acting, directing, scoring, and producing credits on several notable projects. Diggs scored Jim Jarmusch’s “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” and soundtracks for “Kill Bill Volume 1” and “Kill Bill: Volume 2.” He stars in the comedy film “Problemista,” which premiered at SXSW. He is also an Executive Producer for, and directed several episodes of, the original Hulu series honoring his group called “Wu-Tang: An American Saga.”
Now in its 39th year and presented by NAMM, the TEC Awards recognizes the best in professional audio and sound production and take place as a part of The NAMM Show, the largest music trade show in the world. Finalists compete in Outstanding Technical Achievement across twenty-three categories. All finalists will be celebrated at a special communal reception designed to gather the crossroads of the industry being held on the campus of the Anaheim Convention Center on the evening of Saturday, January 27.
This honor continues NAMM’s celebration of all genres of music that resonate across culture and society and follows The NAMM Show’s 2023 Hip-Hop 50 events that honored Chuck D and GrandMixer DXT. The NAMM Show will include many opportunities for live music and panels, including a performance by emerging female hip-hop artist Blimes, and sessions such as Innovate and Elevate: Exploring DJ Technology with DJ Hapa, as well as signature events such as the Parnelli Awards, She Rocks Awards, and many other industry gatherings.