One cannot separate suffering from existence... that's the lesson Buddha Monk learned growing up in the streets of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. But as he continues his inward exploration, Buddha Monk elevates above the snare of the streets, taking his people with him. That is bliss.
“Knowledge of the Buddha consists of analyzing different thoughts,” he says, “and making them work toward a better nation a higher level so we can help those who can’t help themselves.”
The late Russel Jones a.k.a. Ol' Dirty Bastard of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan gave Buddha Monk his name. They've known each other since childhood, growing up in the same neighborhood and bumping into each other at parties at The White House on Franklin Avenue. “I would be DJ'ing and Dirty would show up and start rhyming. Then he’d take the turntables and I’d get the mic. Since we were kids, we knew we were gonna always remain family”.
One day when Dirty was in the studio, Buddha Monk was giving suggestions on the production. “And it was working out,” he says. RZA then said, “Yo, we gonna let you work on Dirty’s album.” It was through this brotherhood that Monk collaborated with Wu-Tang, singing background vocals on C.R.E.A.M., appearing in several videos including Da Mystery of Chessboxin’, and Brooklyn Zoo.
In 1998, after the proverbial years of struggling in the streets and hopeful records deals gone sour, it was Lord Buddha Monk’s time to shine. The Prophecy was finally revealed to the masses and received both fans and critical acclaim. The album was dubbed hard-hitting without being too self-conscious.
On the first single, “Gots Like Come On Thru” featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard, Buddha applies the lessons that Dirty taught him: “not to clutter my music, to take my time and breathe, to harmonize and slurf my words” combined with Buddha's own ideas: “to make it swerve and have that extra funk that everybody can enjoy.” On tracks like “Warrior Chiefs” and “Eastside Story”, Buddha collaborates with other Brooklyn talents, such as Da Manchuz, who he's developing as his protégés.
Years later, we would hear a lot more of Buddha’s Brooklyn Zu family with the release of the Zu-Chronicles series on Chambermusik Special Products. But between those times, the tragic passing of Ol’ Dirty Bastard in 2004 almost put an end to Buddha Monk’s career. Devastated by the loss of one of his closest friend and music compadre, the Crown Heights native thought about quitting the rap game altogether. After taking a hiatus, General Monk Monk returned through the underground circuit with one goal in mind: ensure that ODB’s legacy lives on.
Throughout is illustrious career, Buddha Monk has toured the world, worked with people from all over the planet, including more than 250 artists in the Brooklyn area alone and produced over 10,000 tracks. He is proud to include singing, rapping, producing, writing & recording to his repertoire. With the release of Unreleased Chambers (a compilation of the best songs from the Zu-Chronicles series) he’s closing down a chapter of his life and ready to begin a new era: The G Monk Monk Era.