Faulkner & RZA, 'NY Anthem': Exclusive Song Premiere

Faulkner

RZA tells Billboard that the new collaboration came from a "great energy" in the studio.

While putting the finishing touches on its debut album "Street Axioms," California alt-rock Faulkner recruited a musical legend to place a bow on its first musical package. Check out "NY Anthem," a new collaboration between the still-unsigned quartet and Wu-Tang Clan mastermind RZA, premiering exclusively on Billboard.com:

After singer/guitarist Lucas Asher met Los Angeles producer Eric Scullin and formed Faulkner along with bassist Dimitri Farougias and drummer Christian Hogan in February 2013, the Venice-based group sent a demo of a track that would eventually become "NY Anthem" to RZA online. The Wu-Tang rapper/producer was an idol to Asher growing up, but the frontman never expected RZA to respond to his request for a collaboration, out of the hundreds he receives each week.

"I got a phone call from a blocked number," says Asher, "and he was like, 'It's RZA. I heard your track. Let's work on it.' It was a shock to us."

RZA adds, "They gave me a demo of the song, and it sounded very interesting. So I said, 'Okay, let me come on in and see what kind of energy we have.' And it turned out to be a great energy."

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RZA co-wrote and produced "NY Anthem" alongside Faulkner at Rick Rubin's Shangri La Studios in Malibu last month, adding a verse that honors the rapper's native city, something he's been doing for two decade. "It's never hard to find something new to say about New York," says RZA.

"NY Anthem" is just the start for Faulkner, as "Street Axioms" is finished and due out later this year ("most likely before summer," says Asher) and the group will head back to New York for a string of shows next month. Asher describes the group's first full-length as "street poetry, and very raw-sounding alternative rock," and promises that more material will be trickling out before the album release.

The band also worked with Mark Needham and JP Bowersock on the album, and while "NY Anthem" is the only collaboration with RZA on "Street Axioms," the veteran MC would certainly be up for another go-round. "I like these guys a lot," RZA says. "If they ever want to bring me back in the studio to do some more work, it would be my pleasure. They put together a good mix of unique guys… They come from different walks, yet they all bring something to the table."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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