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GZA – Liquid Swords (1995)

July 23, 2019

Untitled presentation (27)

July Series: Why I’m (still) a “total man of the ’90s”

1. I miss what I never had
2. Efficiency + Effectiveness
3. I’m hooked early & often

4. Female Vocals + Nice/Slow Groove
5. Bands beget Bands
6. Perfectly executed business plans

[Album 652/1001]

There’s a great scene in The Avengers (2012) that I find all too relatable.

Though I suppose I haven’t technically been frozen in suspended animation for decades (like Captain America), I often find myself somewhat out of my element when going through the 1001 list.

And so at times when I’m particularly out of my element (say, listening to the genre of hardcore hip hop), there’s a certain joy when I hear a reference/simile in song that I understand!

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Untitled presentation (28)

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The interview in the clip below provides a terrific glimpse into the world of The Wu-Tang Clan.

The group members are introduced & the band mission statement is revealed: Running a sustainable business, on their own terms, maintaining integrity.

They may have used slightly different vocabulary but their vision is clear.

Here’s what a few of the members had to say about GZA:

[Raekwon]
And the GZA, the G is just the Genius
He, he’s the backbone of the whole shit

[RZA]
It’s self-explanatory, Genius, word

[Method Man]
He the head, let’s put it that way
We form like Voltron, and GZA happen to be the head
You know what I’m sayin’?

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(see the interview starting at 4:45)

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Although Method Man suggests the band is like Voltron (a giant animated robot) & that GZA is its head, I believe the Clan is more like The Avengers.

But which Avenger would the GZA be?

A few years ago, I suggested Raekwon was their Captain America.

By calling GZA the “genius” – would that make him Tony Stark/Iron Man?220px-GZALiquidSwords

Though wasn’t Tony Stark a “self-described” genius, rather than being called that by his fellow Avengers?

And it seems that Ghostface Killah has claimed that role already?

In any event, I agree with Raekwon & RZA: there’s genius at work with Liquid Swords.

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Everything here feels like it is part of a meticulously crafted strategy.

I’m not sure whether GZA & the rest of the Clan kept up the momentum on future group/solo projects. But in terms of delivering on their mission statement (doing things well & doing things their way), with Liquid Swords, mission accomplished.

Helped by several bits of movie dialogue, there’s a real cinematic feel to the album.

As any Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fan will tell you, the characters matter. In this case, rather than being a distraction, the guest spots enhance the experience (and from a marketing perspective, cleverly whet listener appetites for the next full group project).

I can’t say the MCU films (apart from Captain America missing modern day references) reflect my daily life but that doesn’t preclude me from enjoying them.

Although Liquid Swords may not necessarily speak to my day-to-day experiences, it is a compelling listen.

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Verbalize the Positive

According to wordpress, this is post #1001 for me.

So 1001 posts in 7.5 years, done!

 

From → 1990s

26 Comments
  1. Happy 1001 on 1001! Great album to use for celebration, too!

  2. Congrats on 1001, but hopefully not done!

    • Thanks John – definitely not done, still 349 more albums to go. So hit the 1001 post milestone, still a ways to go before the album completion!

  3. 1001 reasons to keep going!
    Congrats man and thanks a bunch for schooling me in all things music around these parts!
    Amazing material by an Amazing writer!

  4. Maybe, you should forward it to marvel studio but I’ll go a step too far and say they should just sacked everyone and re-cast the members of Wu-tang as The Avengers, phase four can piss off because now i just the Wu-tang clan!
    BTW Did you ever see late-90’s movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai directed by Jim Jarmusch? Oh, what about Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes short film with GZA, RZA, and Bill Murray?

    Congrats on 1001 posts too!
    Cheers 🙂

    • Ghost Dog is one of my favourite movies of all time. Great shout!

    • My thanks William – I think Marvel may owe these guys some royalties, I believe they borrowed the 5-year plan of alternating solo/group projects from the Wu-Tang Clan!

  5. jprobichaud permalink

    Wu-Tang played Bluesfest this year, on the same night as Snoop. I skipped that night. My interest in hip hop waned after Terminator X left Public Enemy.

    • That would have been an interesting double-bill – though I think I would have preferred to see Public Enemy in 1991 too!

  6. Congratulations on 1001 posts!

  7. Congrats on the 1001!

    • My thanks Joe – and at my current pace, it’s possible that I hit album review #1001/1001 when I get to post 1537!

  8. That is a very fine anniversary. Nice work.

  9. A big favorite! I used to be obsessed with the Wu-Tang a few years ago, and I still listen to them from time to time. I actually think GZA’s discography is strong all the way through – he’s never made a bad album. Lyrically he’s done some stuff even more insane than Liquid Swords, like an album where every song uses a chess reference as a metaphor (the underrated Grandmasters). Production-wise, some albums suffer a bit from him trying to go too FM-friendly. In that regard, Liquid Swords is the best – nothing like a top-to-bottom RZA production. GZA is also way too much of a perfectionist and us fans have waited for a science-themed promised album for at least 5-6 years!

    • I’m intrigued about Grandmasters – I remember there was at least one chess reference on this one too, that’s fantastic he had a whole album full of them. That science-based one sounds like a good one too, I’ll check it out when/if he releases it!

  10. Excellent. I’m a big Wu fan and this one gets the two thumbs up. I also agree with Ovidiu that GZA hasn’t made a bad album despite some unfitting slick production at times.

    And a milestone post! Belated congrats!

    • My thanks for the belated congrats! I’m intrigued to hear more by GZA – this one had such a cinematic feel, I imagine i’d find his other ones entertaining as well

      • Yeah, I don’t think you’d be disappointed.

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