September 22, 2014

GZA "Liquid Swords" (The Source, 12/95)

"Really now, what the hell else can one say about the Wu? We've run out of aggrandizements and wonderful metaphoric wordplay to describe the Shaolin massive. How often can they be called dope, def, ill, nice, unparalleled, exceptional, revolutionary, etc? Nevertheless, one statement can still be made witout plunging headlong into cliche: 1995 will go down as the signature year for the Clan. Let these numbers put things in perspective: 1 year, 4 solo albums from a nine man crew, over 2 million units moved. Now Liquid Swords, the long-awaited release from Genius, puts the cap on a period that will certainly be remembered as a definitive hip-hop moment... The GZA may just be the Clan's most accomplish verbalist. His verse on "Protect Ya Neck," the Clan's debut single, was touted as one of the best that year. Genius' rhyme steelo deosn't resemble the husky sing-song of Method Man, the craved unpredictability of Ol' Dirty, or the aggressive fast-faced delivery of Raekwon and Ghost Face. Rather, GZA comes across like a highly focussed master-craftsman. Throughout Liquid Swords he maintains a clear, precise flow, one that reflects deadly-sharp purpose and skilled execution."

"RZA's production continues to excite the spine. That's an astonishing fact when one considers the volume of work he's put out this year. Liquid Swords contains all the elements of RZA's increasingly sophisticated style: shuffling kicks, neck-snapping snares, haunting melodies via strings or vibe-like textures and penetrating bass tones. RZA's ability to mold a specific feel around each of the Wu, while maintaining an overall consistency, is uncanny... If the Wu message hasn't been beamed into your brain, rest assured: the GZA will offer swift remedy and swifter understanding. Folks may as well hand the key over, Liquid Swords has officially put shit on lock." - The Source, 12/95.