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Liquid Swords: the Chess Box
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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!!!!
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So cool red cassette tape with lenticular cover art and it just captures liquid sword s album as a holePublished 21 days ago by Pipeline music
I forgot how great this record is.. And colored vinyl.. Well that just adds to my listening pleasure..Published 1 month ago by Mario romero
So... This is some dude's remake of the beats. THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL WU-TANG INSTRUMENTAL CD!
The beats are "close but no cigar" ... Read more