Record Review

Phases and Stages


Legend of the Liquid Sword (MCA) In 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan brought prominence to a fifth NYC boro, Shaolin Island, releasing the groundbreaking 36 Chambers. By 1997's Forever, that prominence had been short-lived. Picking up the pieces late last year, the godfather and oldest member of the Wu, GZA the Genius starts at square one on Legend of the Liquid Sword, rebuilding the deteriorating dynasty with ridiculously sharp lyrics and pounding production. Packing a pummeling punch of droning, driven, non-RZA production, the sound sends the listener into the meditative subconscious while Genius drops brilliant, metaphorical conceptions of the nature of society and the business, which has paralleled the last 25 years of his existence on this "Animal Planet." Beginning with a brief "Auto Bio" of the life-changing journey of hip-hop in the BX of the late Seventies, GZA the mathematical mastermind builds a banging, 15-track perimeter to encompass his vast thoughts with self-applied principles, raw "Uncut Material," and shining "Fam (Members Only)" posse cuts that exemplify a strategic movement of GZA's militia. While most Wu members delve further into animated characterizations, GZA molds melodic science without theatrics. Will this be the rebirth or conclusion for the Clan? We'll have to wait and see. For now, the Legend lives!


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