Classics Revisited: Genius/Gza – Liquid Swords

Written by Aaron. Posted in Reviews

Published on April 03, 2012 with 8 Comments">8 Comments

These days, the word “classic” is thrown around as loosely as a Nerf ball at a picnic. However, we at TRU consider classics to be something which stand the test of time and have a resounding influence on their respective fields. But how do albums considered classics sound to the ears of TRU’s young blood? Aaron J. McKrell was born in 1990 and we’ve convinced him to turn his scope on a classic from the rich history of hip-hop to view it through a contemporary lens in a weekly series we call…

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1994 brought this series six certified awesome albums. However, now we’re live with 1995. First order of business is GZA’s Liquid Swords.

The album picks up where 36 Chambers left off. The album is a grimy elixir of street narratives, Samurai skits and gritty braggadocio. This peculiar mix gives Liquid Swords the same hardcore, cinematic feel that permeated the Wu’s debut.

GZA packs a lyrical punch on every song he’s on, and each member of the Wu shows up at least once. All nine clansmen ensure that the album is lyrically strong from start to finish. Unfortunately, the colorful cast of characters is not present throughout. As a result, GZA’s methodical flow is exposed sometimes boring on the solo. The opener/title track is a prime example of this.

When the clansmen are present, they often overshadow GZA on his own album. In fact, the best song on the album isn’t by GZA; Killah Priest’s documentation of his journey of faith and religion is showcased on the awesome track, “B.I.B.L.E.” The fact that The Genius is often upstaged on his own album steals from some of the album’s identity.

RZA produces 12 of the album’s 13 tracks, and brings the Wu-sound on each one. The music is tailor-made for GZA’s systematic delivery. Sometimes it enhances the album’s dark lyrics, such as on “4th Chamber.” The eerie production is the perfect backdrop for the wicked rhymes of GZA, RZA, Ghostface Killah and Killah Priest. However, on others, it highlights GZA’s aforementioned at times boring flow. This holds true on “Duel of the Iron Mic.”

Liquid Swords is a lyrical marathon. The production is more on than off, and the album is pretty strong overall. It’s not all that original, but I imagine it was a favorite of Wu-heads. It’s not on par with the six albums I reviewed in ’94, and it’s no 36 Chambers. Still, it’s a solid effort from a lyrical wizard.

Previously:
Classics Revisited: Nas – Illmatic
Classics Revisited: The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die
Classics Revisited: Common – Resurrection
Classics Revisited: Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
Classics Revisited: Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (’36 Chambers’)
Classics Revisited: A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
Classics Revisited: Gang Starr – Daily Operation
Classics Revisited: Main Source – Breaking Atoms
Classics Revisited: A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
Classics Revisited: Geto Boys – We Can’t Be Stopped
Classics Revisited: Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth – Funky Technician
Classics Revisited: Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted
Classics Revisited: De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
Classics Revisited: Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
Classics Revisited: Slick Rick – The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick
Classics Revisited: Big Daddy Kane – Long Live The Kane
Classics Revisited: Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Classics Revisited: NWA – Straight Outta Compton
Classics Revisited: Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full

Aaron

Aaron is a journalism major at Edinboro University with a deep passion for hip-hop culture and music. He hails from Erie, Pa., and loves all things Pittsburgh and the Sixers. He has been down with hip-hop since "Lose Yourself" and has been all in since "What You Know." As a Christian, Aaron enjoys both secular and spiritual hip-hop. Besides his standard 6-11 servings of hip-hop per day, Aaron enjoys helping people out and hanging out with his crew, Platoon Squad.

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  • Crack

    You are retarded

    • Aaron Mckrell

      Thank you for that obviously well thought out, intelligent piece of criticism.

    • Coolefolife2

      no, like really. whoever wrote this review is stupid. im sorry, i never usually post anything on this site, just read the articles, but to say that this album isn’t one of the greatest, and that The GZA is overshadowed on his songs is a lie. GZA is known as one of the best, if not thee best MC in Wu-Tang, and Liquid Swords showcases his lyrical talent. everone is entitled to their own opinion, but this is pushing it.

      • Aaron Mckrell

        “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this is pushing it.” So then, everyone is not entitled to their own opinion. You’re opinion is fine, and so is mine. If you disagree, that’s cool. Doesn’t mean I’m “pushing it.”

  • Crack

    You lost me when you claimed that B.I.B.L.E. was the best track on the album…Masta Killah can’t hold a lyrical candle to GZA. The song feels completely out of place on an otherwise perfectly consistent album. It was obviously only there to showcase GZA’s protege. And lets not even get into the whole pro-life message in the song. “And Women with wicked minds who build picket signs to legalize abortion…” gtfoh

    • Jaap

      I don’t agree with Aaron’s opinion on both Killah Priest’s BIBLE (I’ll assume Masta Killah was a typo) and the album in general either. Liquid Swords is one of the top Wu records and all-time favorite of mine, but name-calling doesn’t serve much of a purpose and is only detrimental to your point.

    • Aaron Mckrell

      See, if you would have just said thati n the first place, I wouldn’t have cared. I’m glad you checked back, though. Most people troll and move on.

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  • Miha Tomsic

    I agree with a review. 
    And fuck all that hating shit…everyone has his own set of ears. He said it is a great album, he just didn’t like it THAAAT much. Thats it. He didn’t say it is wack or anything. I also think that B.I.B.L.E. is the best song on the album and I know a couple of people who also think so.
    Great album IMO, just not as good as some others reviewed in this column.
    Peace

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