Enter the Wu-Tang. Return to the 36 Chambers. People listening to these albums by the Wu-Tang Clan and its members likely never knew about Sophia Chang: a Korean-Canadian woman who worked with members like RZA, ODB and Method Man. Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest called Sophia Chang “an integral part of the golden era of hip-hop”.
The Baddest Bitch in the Room charts Sophia Chang’s life, from her childhood in Vancouver, through time in New York’s hip-hop scene and travels between the United States and China managing martial arts, through to the present day.
Sophia Chang is the music business matriarchitect who managed Ol’ Dirty Bastard, RZA, GZA, D’Angelo, Raphael Saadiq, Q Tip, and A Tribe Called Quest as well as working with Paul Simon. She did marketing at Atlantic, A&R at Jive, A&R Admin at Universal, as well as serving as General Manager of RZA’s Razor Sharp Records, Cinematic Music Group, and Joey Bada$$’s Pro Era Records. Sophia is currently a screenwriter and author developing numerous TV properties, including a scripted series at FX based on her memoir “The Baddest Bitch in the Room”. She trained with and managed a Shaolin Monk, who became her partner and father of her children. She produced runway shows for Vivienne Tam and “Project Runway All Stars,” and recently created Unlock Her Potential, a program that provides mentorship for women of color.
In this interview, Sophia and podcast host Nicholas Gordon talk about her life: her time in the music business, her relationship with hip-hop, and her transition to martial arts and other cultural activities. They talk about what spurred her to tell her own story, and what it was like to be an Asian woman working in these spaces.
Nicholas Gordon has an MPhil from Oxford in International Relations and a BA from Harvard. He is a writer, editor and occasional radio host based in Hong Kong.