Wild Style Wednesday Review: GZA, Liquid Swords
Wu-Tang Clan is one of the most influential groups in the history of Hip-Hop music. GZA (in my opinion) is the best emcee (although they are all incredible) in the group, so it would make sense to say that he is one of the most influential emcees of all-time. The album Liquid Swords is nothing short of a lauded lyrical masterpiece, and every single track on this album is sonically sound. Not only is this one of the greatest Wu-Tang related albums ever released, it is one of the greatest albums in Hip-Hop history. RZA’s production on this album is ridiculous, not to mention the samples on this album fit the tracks tighter than a hipster’s t-shirt, and GZA’s rhymes are legendary in every aspect of the word.
The album starts off with the title track “Liquid Swords”, and it opens with dialogue from the movie Shogun Assassin. What comes next is an uplifting beat full of strings courtesy of RZA, and some bomb ass verses from the Genius himself, “…I swing swords and cut clowns/shit is too swift to bite, you record and write it down/I flow like the blood on a murder scene/like a syringe on some loud howl shit to insert a fiend”. The track “Duel of the Iron Mic” might be one of my favorite tracks on the album, and GZA, Masta Killa & Inspectah Deck takeover RZA’s beautiful beat in typical Wu fashion. I feel, though, that GZA tears apart the most as he spits, “Picture blood baths and elevator shafts/like the murderous rhymes tight from genuine craft…”, and “…I ain’t particular/I bang like vehicular homicides on July 4th in Bed-Stuy/where money don’t grow on trees/and there’s thievin’ emcees who cut throats to rake leaves”.
GZA brings along Ghostface, Killah Priest & RZA to beat up RZA’s bugged out beat (which may be one of my favorite Bobby Digital beats ever) on “4th Chamber”, and the results are so gruesome that it could be a scene in a horror movie. On the track “Shadowboxin”, Tical joins the madness and spits some wicked shit along side the Genius over RZA’s insanely hard beat. I will forever love the track “B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)” because it was the first time that I ever had the pleasure of hearing Killah Priest. KP is probably one of my top 10 emcees of all-time, and to be quite honest I think he’s highly underrated. On “B.I.B.L.E.” Priest spits some of the most deeply profound lyrics that you will ever hear, and it’s a great testament as to why I speak so highly of him as a lyricist.
My favorite track on the album is “Living in the World Today”. GZA’s rhymes on this track are momentously monumental, and you may never hear anything quite like it. RZA lays down yet another laid back beat that GZA puts up for sacrifice, “My rhyme gross weight vehicle combination/was too heavy for the Chevy’s is chased out the station/double-edged was the guillotine that beheaded it/gassed up, fuckin with some regular unleaded shit”, as well as “I’m just swingin swords strictly based on keyboards/unbalanced like elephants and ants on see-saws/I throw raps that attack like the Japs on Pearl Harbor/MC’s be out like bank robbers…”.
Liquid Swords is an album that will forever stand the test of time. The overall quality of this album is something that every artist should strive for (not to re-create, but to look to for inspiration) because there aren’t many albums that are as influential as Liquid Swords. This album will always sit comfortably amongst my favorite albums of all-time, and part of the reason is because this album was (and still is) so far ahead of its time. If there is one thing this album proves, it’s that GZA definitely is a Genius.
10 Iron Mics out of 10