GZA’s Liquid Swords Stays Sharp After 20 Years & This Rare 1995 TV Appearance Is Genius. (Video)
Tomorrow (November 7), GZA’s sophomore album, Liquid Swords, turns 20 years old. The now-platinum-plus Geffen Records release is a benchmark in the Hip-Hop landscape, as well as in the career of the Brooklyn, New York lyricist, and RZA.
While plenty has been written in books and online surrounding the Wu-Tang Clan hallmark LP, this weekend will bring deserving attention to center on the often media-shy MC (and we’ll get to that in a second). In preparation of the anniversary, DJ Booth was one of the sites that shed light on just what makes Liquid Swords so refreshing.
“Whether he’s telling a story or just building an atmosphere, the effortless way GZA strings ideas along from one line to the next, seemingly without end—all to the ominous tones provided by RZA—is really what makes Liquid Swords special,” writes Spencer Schmider, in a piece that contends the LP’s place in the “classic” category.
At the time of L.S.‘ release, GZA—the Wu-Tang artist with the most fully-formed career in music before Enter The Wu-Tang, was far from a household name. For an album that ignored Pop sensibilities, even by Rap standards, how could The Genius promote his work? There was media, albeit off the beaten path. One program was “Squirt TV,” the short-lived mid-1990s public access show-turned-MTV program.
Joined by Killah Priest and DJ Allah Mathematics, the swordsman sat down with Jake Fogelnest in his studio pad—to receive some truly quirky, teenage-minded questions about the title, ninjas, and more. Watch how the GZA’s genius takes some weirdness and makes it “witty unpredictable,” with “natural game.” Even if the line of questioning is silly, Gary Grice was very serious, and used the moment effectively. He also performs the LP’s title track, rather effortlessly:
Heads might not have thought it at the time, but there’s some true jewels in this interview to enjoy 20 years later.
Speaking of GZA’s effortless way, DJ Booth’s editorial hones in on the quality regarding the LP’s posse-promoting single, which features of the aforementioned Sunz Of Man member. “‘4th Chamber’ is a posse cut that is essential Wu-Tang listening. Ghostface Killah, Killah Priest, and RZA grace the track and go off on topics ranging from Genghis Khan to ‘camouflage chameleon ninjas scaling your building.’ But it’s GZA who anchors the track, closing his verse with the threat of a violent, destructive explosion. Even as the words tumble out with his typical calm, calculated delivery, that utter calm makes you wonder just what wisdom and what danger lies under the surface if he ever did explode. I guess we should just chalk it up to a friendly warning that Wu-Tang Clan, and GZA in particular, ain’t nuthing ta fuck wit.”
True wisdom, indeed.
Do you think Liquid Swords earns the “classic” badge?