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136 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best of the pre- Wu-tang Forever set...
This is a classic. My desert island Wu-Tang pick, simply because everyone else would be packing '...36 Chambers.' And maybe they'd be right...
Liquid Swords- It's one of those albums that bring people into hip-hop, one of those albums that I buy used whenever I see a copy for under 5 bucks, simply so I can give it as a present to a friend who 'doesn't get hip hop.'...
Published on January 23, 2004 by Campbell Roark

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I LIKE THE ALBLUMS (ONE ALBUM WITH LYRICS AND ONE JUST ...
I LIKE THE ALBLUMS (ONE ALBUM WITH LYRICS AND ONE JUST INSTRUMENTAL) BUT I THOUGHT THIS WAS A FULL SIZE CHESS BOARD BOARD.... MY MISTAKE FOR NOT READING DETAILS MORE CAREFULLY. SMALL CHEAP CARDBOARD CHESSBOARD GOOD FOR TRAVEL I GUESS. i GIVE THE ALBUMS 5 STARS, AFTERALL IT IS WU TANG!
Published 4 months ago by DJ


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136 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best of the pre- Wu-tang Forever set..., January 23, 2004
By 
Campbell Roark "tri-zeta" (from under the floorboards and through the woods...) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Liquid Swords (Audio CD)
This is a classic. My desert island Wu-Tang pick, simply because everyone else would be packing '...36 Chambers.' And maybe they'd be right...
Liquid Swords- It's one of those albums that bring people into hip-hop, one of those albums that I buy used whenever I see a copy for under 5 bucks, simply so I can give it as a present to a friend who 'doesn't get hip hop.' It's also one of the few hip hop albums that I have on dual formats (CD and vinyl) and tracked down the instrumentals too. It's just that good. It's dark, macabre, over the top and surreal. The RZA's production is top notch, The samples and beats are spare, gritty, rambling, odd- this is ANTI-P.Diddy music. The myriad kung-fu interludes for once don't work against the overall thematic drive, in fact, they heighten the album's doomed theatrics. The whole thing works perfectly. My brother and I have played many games of chess to this masterpiece. Good also for jogging, lifting, washing dishes, playing cards, driving long distancxes with friends chanting the lyrics...
which reminds me- Lyrically, this is just on a different plane. NO ONE sounds like the GZA- he's one of those inimitable individuals who can't help but rock his own way. His flow and verbosity are seldom matched in the arenas of today. I'd say he's up there with KRS-ONE, Guru, Black Thought, Kool G Rap, early Ice Cube, and other originators of all vocal variety.
The GZA ties out with Ghostface as my fave Wu-Tang MC, but Liquid Swords is a far better, denser, tighter, diamond hard album than Ironman (even despite the Al Green samples). Now then- Supreme Clientelle... hmmmm...
In short- all of the best elements of early Wu-Tang, perfectly entwined. If you only have a handful of 'rap' Cds make this one of them!!!!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liquid Swords is A Genius' Work, March 4, 2004
By 
DeBear (Boston, MA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Liquid Swords (Audio CD)
Gza is the most lyrically sound emcee in the entire wu tang clan, and im not picking favorites, he is not even my favorite member of the clan. There is almost no doubting his remarkebly easy flow and creavtive metaphors, which can either make you just want to hear more, or rewind it to hear what he just said. While listening to this album, and earing some of his unbelieveably creative rhymes, I wondered how does he come up with these, "Lyrics are weak, like clock radio speakers", is just an example of his creatvity. He has the ability to hit you in all types of places which has been a rare quality in an emcee since the beginning of hip-hop and is completely exstinct in today's rap. Aside from the lyrics, Rza, brings in some of his sickest and his most eerie for this album. Using experimentally spooky and out there sounds to create his unbelieveable beats which are always put together perfectly to allow Gza to flow right over them. Some of the best Wu tang beats of all time are on this album, perhaps many are. Gza also often credits Rza for his insane production, "my sword still remain imperial, Before I blast the mic, RZA scratch off the serial" showing he knows he is not the only reason this album is monumental.
As an emcee, Gza seems to make other rappers on his tracks better lyrically. Notably Inspectah Deck and Method Man. On the albums best song "Cold World", The inspectah virtually outshines Gza which is a complete shock considering how sick Gza's verse is. The inspectah seems to just be a bit hungrier,"No time to freeze undercovers roll up in grand prix and seize packages and pocket the currency, clicks control strips full clips are sprayed, Yellow tape barricades sidewalks where bodies lay". Aside from whose better on the track, the two make the best tag team wu record of all time. However, its not just the lyrics that make this the best song on the album, the beat is also the best on the album, with spooky violins and drums which just flow so sickly. Another great tag team callobo is "Shadowboxin" featuring Method man. Gza does not get outshined on this one, though Meth throws in a sick verse. When Gza kicks the second verse though, he's hungry and he actually shows it a bit more then usual, he usually just seems so confident he doesn't have to be aggressive but his slight aggressiveness on this track is outstanding, "I slayed MC's back in the rec room era, My style broke mother_______ backs like Ken Patera, Most rap ______ came loud but unheard Once I pulled out, round em off to the nearest third". The beat on this one is also top of line, not as scary, more quietly aggressive, simple but not light. The "Oh man" every few seconds that chimes in is a nice touch.
One of the most creative rap songs ever written, and Im not exaggerating, is "Labels". Gza is able to tell a story while using the name of music labels, and he is not crediting them, more like he's dissing them. Never have I heard an emcee even attempt to create something like this, truly proof that he his the genius. "Investigative Reports" is another great track. It opens up with a sick verse from Raekwon. With U-god telling different reports during the chorus with a newscast going on in the backround. The beat is one of those that hit home, they go to your head and you don't hear the different instruments, just the beat as a whole, and it is a great one. "Swordsman" has a great beat that is mostly drums with strange sounds in the backround. Lyrically Gza seems to be trying to say something but he adds "I'm not caught up in politics I'm no black activist", so I guess it's more about self then political indevers. The final track is not Gza but it furthur prooves that success around "Liquid Swords" is contagious, Killah Priests raps the vastly different from the rest of the album "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth". It has more of a funky beat and it's a biblical song, initials are B.I.B.L.E. Priest tells a great story of his childhood and gives out instructions before leaving earth.
Every time I listen to this album, it gets better. Everytime I notice something different whether lyrically, or musically. It is easily the best Wu Tang solo album and perhaps riviles "Enter the Wu Tang" as best Wu production period, well not quite. Every track on this album is bangin' with some of them just completely off the chains. Could be lyrically the best album I have heard, and it shows how much of an amazing lyracist Gza is. He never changes his tone which is affective because he smooth easy flow is so good he does not need to compromise it at all. Not only Gza made this album the phenomenom it is, much of its success is due to the producer, Rza. "Liquid Swords has it's place amongst the greatest of all time and easily is one of my personal favorites.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I feel bad for 50 if he really wants beef with the GZA..., January 3, 2008
By 
rap is real (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Liquid Swords (Audio CD)
I'm gonna do a track-by-track analysis of Liquid Swords. That's the only way I could to this album justice. This is easily stacks up in the top 3 albums I own, and that' s saying A LOT as I own tons of albums... the only track I didn't like on this was hell's windstaff, which is ironically enough the only skit on this album...

Liquid Swords - 4.75/5

This is an outstanding track and does justice to the "title track" title. I'd have given it a 5/5 were it not for the obnoxiously long 1:33 minute intro. It's an interesting intro to the album, but couldn't that have been a completely separate intro track to begin with? Aside from that though, it's a flawless track. Great hook, great beat, poetic lyrics as deep as the ocean... everything.

Duel of the Iron Mic - 4.5/5

Were it not for Mastah Killah's merely okay verse, this would be my favorite track off the album. Why did he get a verse over Raekwon, Method Man or ODB? Hell, GZA could've done a lot more with the extra space... still, though, there was one big, big reason why this was still a great guest track: Inspectah Deck killed it with a mere 7 bars. So good, in fact, that I need to post them.

"Adults kill for drugs plus the young bucks bust
Duckin handcuffs, throats get cut when dough rush
Out of town foes look shook but still pose
We move lioke real pros through the streets we stroll
Bullet holes lace the windows in one-six oh
So control the avenues that's the dream that's sold
Bulding lobbies are graveyards for small-timers
Bitches caught in airports, keys in they *******
No peace, yo the police mad corrupt
You get bagged up, dependin if you're passin the cut
Plus shorty's not a shorty no more, he's livin heartless
Regardless of the charges, claims to be the hardest
individual, critical thoughts, criminal minded
Blinded by illusion, findin it confusin"

The best guest appearance and some of the best lyrics on the album next to Method Man's appearance on Shadowboxin & Ghostface and RZA on 4th Chamber. Not surprising, though; this is Rebel "C.R.E.A.M." INS we're talking about.

Besides that, though, the beat was one of the best on the album; bangin. GZA's lucky he was in the same boat as RZA. Another interesting fact is that ODB did the hook.

Livin In the World Today - 4.25/5

It's a good song, but a good song is an average on on LS. Probably my least favorite song on the album. The lyrics are fire as usual, but the beat & hook were average in contrast to the rest of the album.

Swordsmen - 4.75/5

Dope song. Hook's good, beat's a banger and the lyrics are fresh from hell. I don't know if its just me, but GZA's delivery seemed to be especially on-point on this song.

Cold World - 5/5

Yeah, yeah, this is the joint "everyone likes". Who gives a damn? There's a reason why everyone likes it... it's one of GZA's best tracks, period. It really showcases his storytelling ability; it's almost like he decided to make a track to try to beat Kool G Rap at their own game like Nas did with NY State of Mind. In fact, that's the best track I can think of comparing this one to; detailed to the goddamned brim yet completely understandable; no comprehension is lost through the mix.

The beat is the best on the album (bar B.I.B.L.E, but that's not actually a track on this album). It's beautiful, harrowing, and really does succeed at conveying a "cold world". RZA really shows his merits as a producer on this one.

Labels - 5/5

Did GZA really just make a song about... record labels?! He sure did, and the whole joint is crazy. He namedrops almost every single record company under the sun, including Cold Chillin, the label that pretty much shafted GZA & RZA when they first started. Thus the line "Cause I smother you COLD CHILLIN' mother*******". The beat is dope too. All in all, it's the best track on the album, perhaps only equaled and/or surpassed by Cold World, 4th Chamber & Liquid Swords.

4th Chamber - 5/5

This is my favorite track off the album besides Cold World, LS & Labels. It's another collab track, but this time not a single one of the spots is wasted. Ghostface & RZA especially rip the track to shreds. To quote two of their bars (one from each):

"Yo, Wu whole platoon is filled with rac-coons
Corner sittin wine n***** sippin Apple Boone, this ain't no white cartoon"

-Ghostface

"Rollin with the Lands, the tribe's a hundred and forty four thousand chosen
Protons Electrons Always Cause Explosions"

-RZA

For those of you who didn't catch that last line from RZA, he basically said PEACE.

GZA's verse was great too. Killah Priest was the weakest one on the track, but he was still dope; THAT should tell you the pedigree of the verses on this one. This is the best verse on the album second only to Cold World.

Shadowboxin' - 4.75/5

2nd best collab track on the album (4th Chamber takes that) and another outstanding track on the album. Method Man really brought that hot **** to this track... beat's yet another banger. GZA impresses as usual.

Hell's Windstaff/Killah Hills 10304 - 3.5/5

The only track off this album I didn't think was good. The lyrics themselves are good, but I hate the beat & the whole intro. I can't explain why, but I just did... useless track in my opinion. Filler.

Investigative Reports - 4.5/5

Dope track. Good hook, great lyrics, great beat. Not my favorite, but an excellent track nonetheless.

Gold - 5/5

This is easily one of my favorites off the album. While it isn't on the same tier as Cold World, LS, Labels or 4th Chamber, the beat is... out of this world, to say the least. The lyrics are golden as usual, and... I dunno. I just can't stop listening to this song, but I always make sure I learn to the aforemented 3 before I turn this up. Still a spottieottiedopaliscious (OK, sue me ;) ) track; also one of the more slept-on on this album.

I Gotcha Back - 4.5/5

Another great track and a good ending for the album. Beat's dope, hook's straight & the lyrics are good, but the delivery is what elevates them to great.

Now, there *is* another track on this album... technically. The track itself though (B.I.B.L.E.) is actually a Killah Priest track off his album "Heavy Mental" another classic. Still, it fits in with the album very well and it's also a 5/5 track, beatwise, hookwise and lyric wise.

Overall:

60.5/65 or about 93%; A- to A

I'm going to round that to an A, though; I'm doing that because were it not for that stupid skit, this would be an A to A+ album. And let me tell you, you're doing good if there's only one song that's not that good and 12 that are audio bliss. Simply put, this is a masterpiece hampered by the extra baggage. An extraordinary accomplishment for any emcee, and it just adds to the rep of the Wu Tang. Wu Tang Ain't Nuthin To F*** Wit' indeed.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Necessity, January 5, 2000
By 
This review is from: Liquid Swords (Audio CD)
"When I was litte, my father was famous. He was the greatest Samurai in the empire, and he was the Shogun's decapitator. He cut off the heads of a 131 lords. It was a bad time for the empire..."
With this intro, spoken by a small child over husky, scratched strings, Genius/GZA explodes onto what is possibly one of the finest albums in Wu-Tang's (and therefore hip-hop's) collection. The keyboard loop on the title track builds tension without releasing it, creating an (intentional) musical headache that GZA's voice cures like a double dose of aspirin. The album only goes on from there, with GZA and a few guests riding the dark horse of RZA's production into the sunset. Possibly the peak of Wu-Tang, 'Liquid Swords' still stands as one of the crown jewels of 90's hip-hop, still somewhat undiscovered as it doesn't have the flashy attraction of the other cubic zirconia on record store shelves.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars um... hell yea, February 9, 2006
This review is from: Liquid Swords (Audio CD)
I don't even know if kids nowadays know about this cd or even this rapper. Basically, this is the best east coast rap cd ever released. Non-commerical, so not many know about it. Listen to the samples on here. Lyrically, it crushes. The entire album is atmopsheric. It's a story. The Gza slashed up buttholes like Mexican food.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liquid Swords, January 15, 2001
By 
This review is from: Liquid Swords (Audio CD)
GZA's 1995 masterpiece certainly earns a top spot in any "Best Of The Wu" list, if not any "Best Of Hip-Hop" list. Gary Grice's fortay is battle rapping, so most of the lyrics are "about" rhyming. However, GZA uses so many intellectual metaphors and similies that his emcee boasting becomes something higher than that of other rappers, and actually takes on a conceptual meaning. Not only are the lyrics dramatically complex ghetto-infused words of wonder, but the delievery of the Genius's thick New York accent is unriveled. The production by Robert Diggs is experimental, dirty, and solid. The no-nonsense beats fit GZA's lyrical fist like a glove. Features kung-fu movie clips and guest spots from all the other Wu-Tang members as well as Killa Priest (who has a solo track on the album, the last track "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth", produced by 4th Disciple, GZA & Priest are good friends) and little-known Wu-Affiliate Dreddy Kruger.
Without a single weak song, Liquid Swords will be tough for GZA to top. Beneath The Surface, although it has a few good tracks and earns points for being so different, dosen't even come close.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Genius, February 28, 2005
This review is from: Liquid Swords (Audio CD)
GZA's classic Wu-Banga, Liquid Swords, is arguably the best Wu-solo ever released. GZA is known as the lyrical genius of the crew, and he proves that he is one of the best writers in the rap game. RZA's beats on this one may take a while to warm to, but they truly work for GZA's monotone, raw sound and sharp lyrics. The odd thing about Liquid Swords is that, as an album, it is a definite 5 stars. In terms of GZA's solo performance though, a 4 star rating seems appropriate. There is no doubt that GZA is awesome, but the guest appearances are incredible - which brings the Genius down just a tad.

The track kicks off with energy on 'Liquid Swords', which, as usual, boasts samples from Kung-Fu flicks. Example number one of guests stealing the mic from GZA is 'Duel Of The Iron Mic' which features Masta Killa and Inspectah Deck. GZA begins with an average verse, then comes Masta Killa who flows beautifully over the obsure beat. Masta Killa's lyrics are on point and he sounds as wise as ever. Inspectah Deck kicks it hardcore next, and out does GZA as well. 'Living In The World Today' has good lyrics and good flow from GZA, but the beat is inappropriate for the context of the song. The beat is loaded with goofy trumpets and instrument samples, while GZA spits some dark rhymes.

'Gold' is a great GZA solo with a fantastic beat and 'Cold World' with Inspectah Deck is one of the few Wu tracks with a R&B hook. They form a solid base to kick off the middle of the album. 'Labels' is another cool track lyrically, where GZA shows off using the names of myriad record labels in his rhymes. '4th Chamber' is example number two of guests rocking it better than GZA. Ghostface Killah drops one of his best verses I've heard, followed by another great verse by Killah Priest (who in my opinion is a better lyricist than GZA). RZA comes with his drunken-master flow, and GZA concludes the track. GZA's verse was great, but couldn't compare to Ghostface or Priest. "Shadowboxing' is the second-best example, where Method Man (who I am not a huge fan of) drops an absolutely jaw-dropping couple of verses. I don't know if it's Method Man's lazy snotnose tical style, or dark dreary beat, but Meth just owns this track.

My favorite GZA solo track is 'Killah Hills 10304' - "life of a drug dealer." The track drops an accurate interpretation of city life and crime. 'Investigative Reports' features Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and U-God (who is rambling about city realities on what could be called a chorus). GZA and Raekwon are very good on this track, especially GZA, who breaks out of his monotone shell a bit. 'Swordsman' and 'I Gotcha Back' have bad beats, and are not too friendly on the ears. Plus on 'I Gotcha Back', GZA is once again talking about city life and 'n****s who front' which is getting old on the album.

Now - the best example of guests stealing the show. 'B.I.B.L.E [Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth].' Not only does RZA get outdone by 4th Disciple who produced this track, but Killah Priest owns the best song on the album (this one). And when I say "owns" I meant it. It is a Killah Priest solo! This blew my mind! GZA, the lyrical genius of the Clan, let someone else conclude the album! I am glad GZA did this though, because this could quite possibly be the best Wu dart of all time. And it is without RZA's production or any true member of the clan. Killah Priest's cold, hollow and relaxing sound, accompanied by a spacy, ambiguous beat, and godlike lyrics make this my favorite dart on the entire album. Despite the fact that this album is "made" by the great guest rhhymes, it is a must own. Liquid Swords is a rap classic, and should be in the collection of every true hip-hop fan.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, August 2, 2006
This review is from: Liquid Swords (Audio CD)
By 1995, the RZA's five-year plan for the Wu-Tang Clan to take over hip-hop was surely well in motion. While their albums were hardly the blockbusters they deserved to be, their quality was unimpeachable. From the group effort "Enter the 36 Chambers" to Ghostface's "Ironman", was three years of unparalleled excellence from all involved parties, but especially producer mastermind RZA. Teaming up with his cousin Genius/GZA, they created "Liquid Swords", one of the eeriest, most cohesive and just plain ridiculously amazing rap albums ever made. Simply put, this belongs in the top five of the best hip-hop albums.

The first listen will probably be the hardest, as it is so anti-thetical to any sound rap has produced - excepting the Wu, and even then it's a stretch. Lasting only about 55 minutes, it is simply without any filler: the extensive kung-fu samples from "Shaolin Assassin" add to the thematic unity of the album and increase the doom. The real stars of this album are the RZA and the GZA, two artists firing on all cylinders: the RZA's production has never been dense and expressive, while the GZA is the real "razor sharp" rapper here. Listening to El-P's production on his own and Cannibal Ox's albums, you can completely hear RZA's production work from this album being paid homage to. This is the highpoint of the Wu-Tang's golden reign from 93-96. A RAP CLASSIC, JUST GET IT NOW!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sword Swingin' Masterpiece., July 30, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Liquid Swords (Audio CD)
For some intangible reason, This is my Favorite Wu-tang Album ever released. Maybe its the melancholly Shaolin imagery on its skits, or the Gza's clever wordplay, or just that its the best production job Rza's ever did on an album. The genius establishes himself as one the best lyricists out today. with vivid depictions of street life like " those who try to flee they hit the vertabre, increase the murder rate" clever metapors "snakes get smoked on the set like Brandon Lee, blown out the frame like Pan Am flight 103, and genuine crafted lyrics " and they remain in Shaolin an endagered island where shorties lose blood by the gallon'. Another delight is that one of the best rap verses ever said takes place on the track where Method Man gives the verse that is probably the only competition for Nas's verse on verbal Intercourse as the best of all time. Another highlight is the track 4th chamber which is arguably the best song Rza ever produced with acute keyboarding, Heavy guitar rifts and pounding bass, its also the song where ghostface killa asks "why is the sky blue, why is water wet, whydid Judas rat to Romans while Jesus slept. As far as hip hop this is a pinnacle, as good as it gets.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC -- pure Genius, December 10, 2004
By 
This review is from: Liquid Swords (Audio CD)
The GZA/Genius drops as the 4th Wu-member to drop a solo (I'm not considering his 1988 "Words From The Genius" which sold around 12,000 copies). As with all the early solo Wu projects RZA handles all the production, and it is his best solo to date (even though his next 2 are still very good albums). A lot of the Wu is on here as well as some Wu-affiliates. There are 1 or 2 average tracks, and 2 classics on it, the rest are very good (as well as an average Killah Priest solo), it is a must have album for any rap fan.

#1 - 8.5 (Long intro before the song)

#2 - 8.5 (f/ Ol' Dirty {R.I.P.} & Inspectah Deck)

#3 - 8

#4 - 9 (great beat)

#5 - 8 (f/ inspectah deck & street life)

#6 - 7

#7 - 10 (classic -- f/ ghostface killah, rza, killah priest -- great beat)

#8 - 10 (Method Man has 2 verses & GZA has 1 -- GREAT BEAT -- one of the best songs ever)

#9 - 9.5 (good beat & story but a LONG intro)

#10 - 8 (f/ Raekwon, ghostface killah & U-God)

#11 - 8 (f/ Killah priest)

#12 - 6.5

#13 - 7 (Killah Priest solo)

Gary Grice -- b. 8/22/66 -- Staten Island, NY

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Liquid Swords by Genius (Audio CD - 1995)
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