Gza, the lyrical genius behind the notorious hip-hop veterans, Wu-Tang Clan, has come back with his fourth solo attempt. His high anticipated album, Legend of the Liquid Sword, is packed with raw emotion and outstanding lyricism.
The album starts out with an introduction by The Genius’s son and plunges into 15 tracks, beginning with one of the best cuts on Legend, “Auto Bio.” This track outlines Gza’s upping from the block and the group’s roots in Staten Island to his struggles as an up-and-coming hip-hop artist. Right off he tells us that this album is not just a few catchy hooks and a collaboration with an R&B artist, which seems to be the trend in what’s become of hip-hop lately. “The basic training was beyond entertainin’/ Just the cadence of the verbal expressions, self explainin” he says. Unlike other rap artists who claim to write about their life, Gza manages to do it without sounding whiny.
Out of the few collaborations done, the track “Silent,” featuring Streetlife and Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah, meshes Ghostface’s style beautifully with Gza’s unique flow and tight rhymes. The best cut off Legend overall, though, has to be “Animal Planet.” This track, done over a Curtis Mayfield sample, showcases Gza’s unique wit and powerful writing as he takes you through the hip-hop world as if it were a jungle. Complete with alliterations and explicit imagery, this track alone is worth buying the album.
This go ’round, the production on the album wasn’t done exclusively by Rza. Arabian ‘Q-Base’ Knight mixes the rhythms on “Highway Robbery,” “Stay in Line” and the first single, “Fame.” Jay ‘Waxx’ Garfield produced the album’s second single, “Knock, Knock”; DJ Muggs makes a guest appearance on “Luminal”; “Tyquan Walker” handles the incredible track “Animal Planet”; and GZA even does one himself, “Uncut Material.” Rza does handle duties on “Rough Cut,” so he’s not completely absent, but his peers have created an album with a raw Wu-Tang sound.
One of the things you’ll notice is that Gza’s more unique and real style shines through because he focuses on lyricism rather than distracting the listener with loud instrumental background noise. It draws your attention to his best asset, his distinct style. Thankfully, Legend of the Liquid Sword sounds nothing like the hip-pop that’s on heavy rotation on hip-hop stations right now.