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Liquid Swords

GZA

1995

Buy At Rough Trade
Liquid Swords
Album Summary

Liquid Swords is the second solo studio album by American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member GZA, released on November 7, 1995, by Geffen Records. Recording sessions for the album began midway through 1995 at producer RZA's basement studio in the New York City borough of Staten Island. The album heavily samples dialogue from the martial arts film Shogun Assassin and maintains a dark atmosphere throughout, incorporating lyrical references to chess, crime and philosophy. Liquid Swords features numerous guest appearances from the entire nine piece Wu-Tang Clan, and also Wu-Tang affiliate Killah Priest. Upon its release, Liquid Swords peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200 chart, and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album platinum in sales nearly 20 years after its release. Upon its initial release, Liquid Swords received critical acclaim for its complex lyricism and hypnotic musical style. Over the years, its recognition has grown, with a number of famous publishers proclaiming it to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. In 2007, the Chicago Tribune cited it as "one of the most substantial lyrical journeys in hip-hop history".

Wikipedia

Rating

3.31

Votes

11977

Genres

  • Hip Hop

Reviews

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Tue Aug 23 2022
5

The last concert that I saw before the pandemic was Gza doing Liquid Swords. He was performing at a venue that is endearing, but far too shitty to host a hip-hop legend. Regardless of the circumstances, when Gza showed up, he brought the fucking energy. This album is interesting. It's not my favorite of the Wu-Tang solo albums (Only 4 Cuban Linx has that honor), but it's an incredible work. Lyrically deep, with Rza's characteristic sampling style that never seems like it should work, and yet always sounds amazing. The cinematic approach to making albums worked so well for Wu-Tang, and this album may be the pinnacle of that 5/5

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Wed Aug 17 2022
4

So good I listened to it twice in a row. Easily my favorite Wu-Tang related project. GZA sounds so smooth in his flow, everything is kind of lo-fi and straight to the point and I think that's what I like about it. Nothing but great rap songs.

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Wed Aug 24 2022
3

Wonky, woozy, atmospheric, The beats are all out of time and tune, symphonic in scale, that gives this a cinematic feel. I haven't delved much into the whole Wu-Tang genre, but I find this enjoyable. Less violent and misogynistic than much contemporaneous gangsta rap, although still somewhat preoccupied with violence. I find the lo-fi, wonky production charming (and a precursor to the rhythmic innovations of J. Dilla). I have listened to this through a few times, and enjoy the flow and the weirdly funky backing tracks. Skits on rap albums are a pet peeve of mine. The use of scratchy (and lengthy) samples from old martial arts films is a slightly better version of a skit, but still a bit annoying.

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Thu Oct 20 2022
3

Apparently, only one other person who has written a review of this album on this site knows the source of the film samples that provide the album's vertebra. Yes, I know all of us can look it up on Wikipedia, or indeed just click the Wikipedia sample this site offers. But only one other person bothered to mention the actual bloody film, with a few suggesting "martial arts" (I just about agree, but not remotely the point of the original film) and occasionally "kung fu" (completely wrong: wrong country, wrong tradition, wrong plot, wrong aesthetic, wrong clothes, just utter wrongness from heel to brow). I am not a martial arts buff at all; martial arts movies leave me completely cold (it took me a decade to appreciate the now-obvious grandeur of Enter The Dragon, and no other martial arts movie has ever kept me till the end), I have no desire to learn martial arts (4 injuries a year, the average martial artist suffers), and the idea that martial arts teaches any form of profundity strikes me as just so much bullshit (will learning to kick well somehow teach you Gödel's incompleteness theorems?). But I love ultraviolent 70s Japanese samurai cinema. I love Zatoichi, I love Lady Snowblood, and above all I love Lone Wolf and Cub. Lone Wolf and Cub started as a long-running manga (I've never read it, as I have no interest in comic books of any form except for Viz, which I adore to my bones), which became a series of six films involving the Shogun's executioner Ogami Itto, whose prowess with the sword has proven the ultimate lock on power for the corrupt feudal system at play: nobody can challenge a system which has the deadliest man alive in its control. But his expertise stems not just from his finesse, but his cunning: Ogami has no qualm in tricking his fellow duellist to a beheading by shining a mirror in his eyes. A coup tries to cast Ogami as a traitor to the Shogun, thus seizing his position as executioner. Ogami's wife is murdered, and Ogami declares that he shall become a demon and wandering ronin until he has achieved his vengeance, and he racks up the body count befitting a demon. His son Daigogo is an infant at the time, and after delivering the test the album quotes, he takes his son along their chosen purgatorial path in a weapon-loaded baby cart (the films are also known as the Baby Cart series, and the kid amasses his share of corpses). Yes, the films have a touch of exploitation cinema in their indulgence of gore (people here have garden hoses instead of arteries). I can't deny my love of the Grand Guignol. But their real soulmate, like much samurai cinema, is the western. Kurosawa avowedly cribbed from Ford, and in turn Peckinpah avowedly cribbed from Kurosawa. Ogami Itto's tale has some resemblance to that of the platonic western, Shane (by the by, my absolute favourite film of all time): a wandering figure with skills and troubles and questionable morals, upon whom a kid becomes dependent. The Baby Cart films are smart and slyly political, and the ultraviolence, sometimes gleeful, sometimes despondent, sometimes stoic, is always a glorious spectacle. You know how Robocop is a genuine masterpiece? The Lone Wolf and Cub films are similarly sanguine classics. Shogun Assassin is a mutant of the original films. An American dubbed splicing of the first two Baby Cart films, with an added English voiceover from Daigoro, Shogun Assassin became a cult film in the west (and a video nasty in the UK), with Daigoro's voiceover occasionally seen as providing a greater depth to the source material. Kill Bill is practically a remake of Shogun Assassin, and indeed the Bride at one point watches Shogun Assassin with her four-year-old daughter. Personally, I don't wish to watch Shogun Assassin again. Who wants to watch a dubbed film? Also, I fell in love with the originals. Shogun Assassin has nothing to offer me. Anyway, those are the film quotes on Liquid Swords. I have been talking about Baby Cart for so long because there is almost nothing to say about this album, which is the tragedy. Having listened to a few Wu-Tang albums, I have with sadness to conclude that they all sound the same. The producer and mastermind RZA has exactly one style: the same musical austerity, the same lyrical prominence, the same and frankly tiresome east Asian film samples. It's a good sound, and I guess I enjoyed the album. But I can't recall a choice lyric from this. I can't recall any lyric from this. The Wu-Tang sound still hits the spine, but have all their albums just been variations on themes by George Clinton and the Shaw Brothers? I was expecting, hoping to laud this, but it's mainly generosity that's justifying these three stars. With Lone Wolf and Cub, stick with the originals. With the Wu, you can also just stick with the original 36 Chambers. Oh, and really don't bother with the bonus track B.I.B.L.E (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth). Insane Clown Posse's Miracles claiming more street cred.

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Fri Jan 06 2023
5

Oh snap, solid gold five stars here, GZA one of the greatest to ever do. Everything on this album pops - RZA's grimy Kung Fu sampling production, guest stars bring their A-Game and then there is GZA's delivery: witty, elegant, incredible flow, whip smart, near unsurpassed word play. 'Labels' a brilliant idea, perfectly executed, 'Liquid Swords' an infectious, catchy album opener built around an unlikely sample ('Groovin' by Willie Mitchell) and 'BIBLE' a smart and informative closer.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
4

When it comes to the Wu-Tang Clan, GZA is the cool and calm master assassin. He rarely leaves the shadows, but when he does you can be sure that he's going to murder the mic, and won't break a sweat while he does it. They don't call him the Genius for nothing. This album features RZA, GZA's cousin, in full control of the production (as well as lending his distinctive lyrical stylings on "4th Chamber"). RZA defined the Wu-Tang style: layered (often eerie) samples, and dialogue from kung fu films. Unfortunately, RZA's one flaw is putting long bits of dialogue at the beginning and/or end of tracks, rather than featuring them as between-track skits. Yes, they're an essential part of his work, but most of the time you just want to listen to the tracks, not wait through 1:19 of dialogue (as is necessary with the title track, "Liquid Swords"). Despite the lengthy dialogue, "Liquid Swords" is one of the strongest tracks on the album. Other highlights include "Gold," "Labels," and my personal favorite, "4th Chamber." (What can I say? I'm a sucker for Ghostface, and RZA's medieval beat is the perfect match for Ghostface's "Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? Why did Judas rat to Romans while Jesus slept?") An easy 4 stars, bordering on 4.5

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Sun Oct 29 2023
3

Nr. 20/1001 Liquid Swords 3/5 Duel Of The Iron Mic 3/5 Living In The World Today 4/5 Gold 3/5 Cold War 2/5 Labels 3/5 4th Chambers 3/5 Shadowboxin' 4/5 Hell's Wind Staff 2/5 Investigative Reports 3/5 Swordsman 3/5 I Gotcha Back 2/5 B.I.B.L.E 5/5 Average: 3,08 The last song was awesome. For the others I felt like the music/beats didn't really compliment the rapping.

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Mon Sep 26 2022
5

This is one of the best rap albums i’ve ever listened to. The production from RZA and 4th disciple is on point, along with GZA and the rest of the clans lyrics. 10/10

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Wed Mar 15 2023
5

another easy five star album

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Wed Mar 15 2023
5

Dense production and deep lyrics. Requires repeated listens, each one better than the last. A true classic.

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Tue Apr 11 2023
5

Absolute banger of a hip-hop album

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Wed Apr 12 2023
5

One of the all time greats. I think this thing basically earns 4/5 stars just for its intro. The flow on this thing is out of control, and I feel like (being whatever the opposite of an expert on rap is) it really ushered in a new era for the genre. A favorite for many years.

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Mon Apr 24 2023
5

Geweldig album voor op de vrijdag. Ik hou van de mixing, de skits en de laidback manier van rappen van GZA. Soms klinkt het alsof die met een dikke sigaar op een oude bruinleren stoel z'n lines geeft. Na dit album gelijk ook weer wat andere wu tang albums geluisterd, kreeg er helemaal zin in. Klassieker en een van de beste solo albums van de groep.

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Thu Feb 15 2024
5

This is a strong contender for the best Wu-Tang solo record. Of course, solo record is a bit of a stretch given that all eight other members of Wu-Tang Clan are present throughout the album. RZA's production is slick and the beats are deliberate and hypnotic. GZA's lyrics are complex, philosophical and cinematic, further punctuated by the interspersed samples from the film 'Shogun Assassin.'

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Tue Apr 09 2024
5

This album bleeds style, flow, intelligence, and everything I want in a hip hop album. GZA's lyrics are complex and deep, and mixed with RZA's beats create a whole world through the storytelling, ambiance, and samples. If it wasn't for the out of place bible song at the end this album would be about as good as it can get.

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Mon Oct 24 2022
4

Never heard of GZA/Genius before this exercise. What I heard was some excellent flows and literate rhyming schemes. I didn't think I would enjoy all the samples taken from the kung fu movie Shogun Assassin that were laced throughout this album, but they flowed into the other music seamlessly. RZA did a great job mixing it. There is some really cool music in this album, some excellent collaboration with the other members of the Wu Tang Clan, and some stellar 90s hip hop. Favourite songs: 4th Chamber, Shadowboxin', Gold, Liquid Swords, Swordsman, Cold World Least favourite songs: Hell's Wind Staff/Killah Hills 10304 (good song, just didn't care for the long preamble before the song started) 4/5

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Tue Nov 15 2022
4

A very well done solo album by Wu-Tang member GZA. With the simple and stripped 90s beats GZA throws down some very lyrical raps. He does a good job in creating an atmosphere of the shaolin mixed with NY street life. GZA is a bit one dimensional which brings this album down a little but it helps he has several wu tang features and some good samples throughout. This is a strong album always worth a visit if seeking a good lyrical album. 7.7/10

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Sat Mar 25 2023
4

Definite method man tide rising the ship that is this album, but GZA is great at meshing some crazy samples together to make an exceptional rap album. I am not a huge Wu Tang follower but I absolutely enjoyed some tracks on this record and will revisit it at a later date. I can comprehend the gravity of wu tang and the effect the group had on rap music. Powerful and lyrical.

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Sat Apr 01 2023
4

Not gonna lie, after Dr Octagynaecologist I wasn't that excited by the prospect of a rap concept album starting with a minute long film sample... but this was actually really good. The flow is great, the storytelling is great, despite being of a similar era to a lot of the albums we've had the language isn't jarring or overly misogynistic. Probably goes a bit OTT with the length of the samples, and falls away a bit towards the end, but still gets a 4 from me.

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Sat Apr 01 2023
4

Really accomplished and has a great sound now, 4th Chamber and Swordsman stand out. Also makes me realise again that I think I prefer the East Coast sound over the West.

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Tue Apr 04 2023
4

Awesome. Favourite tracks: 'Liquid Swords', '4th Chamber', 'Shadowboxin''. 4/5

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Tue Apr 11 2023
4

If there anything that the Wu-Tang Clan were better at than music, it would have to be business. They recognized that individual success for each member would lead to increased success for the group as a whole. As such, members were free to pursue their own solo albums in between group albums. Easily one of the best of the solo albums is Liquid Swords. Hard-hitting, memorable production with peak 90's hardcore MC delivery. What this album excels in is subtly: GZA floats along RZA's beats in ways that compliment one another. Basically it's excellent.

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Tue Apr 11 2023
4

There's a lot of bangers in this genre and this is one of those albums that work

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Thu Apr 20 2023
4

Does he have a cold? One likes the lower-key rapping style, the seeming subtlety and understatedness. The tighter, at times, minimalistic beats. There’s a drama and an eeriness, that befits a kung fu-esque, martial arts-themed record. Quieter, less boastful, with a lo-fi quasi-documentary feel at times and weird and woozy flourishes that are effective and engaging. One finds oneself a bit surprised at the burgeoning affinity for a broadening range of hip-hop.

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Wed Jun 07 2023
4

I am very fond this album, my favourite alongside ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linz’ of this rich period of Wu Tang-affiliated records. It’s the tauter of the two albums though, similar to its siblings, it still would’ve benefited from a couple of songs dropped. Still get shivers with the opening of ‘4th Chamber’. That wiggly squeal diving into the fuzz bass is still one of the heaviest snatches of music I know. The cheesy dialogue samples have an unironic, Lynchian quality, excerpts from a cheaply dubbed version of the “Lone Wolf and Cub” series, adapted from an incredible, intense, bloody and deeply melodramatic manga, to which the wooden delivery adds a haunted mannequin quality, right for this pulpy, shamanic-beat action-horror anthology record. I’m tired, having trouble getting my head round this record I’ve known for almost thirty years, and I’m going to mutter a strangled “hauntology” and move on. They were (are?) loopy AF, but the nutty religious sci-fi proselytising is concentrated in the last track, which at least has a fun acronym, Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Some of the lines are shivved into my skull: “Picture bloodbaths in elevator shafts” … “Tommy ain’t my motherfucking boy” Yet how often do I listen to this now? Enjoyed my first run through, got distracted through my second, possibly suffering whiplash from this following “Layla blah blah blah”.

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Wed Sep 14 2022
3

This album goes hard. Love the samples from Shogun Assassin!

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Thu May 16 2024
3

Had never heard of this artist, but have to admit that compared to the other rap albums that have I listened to on the 1,001 so far, "Liquid Swords" was one of the better ones... While the lyrical content was similar - the delivery was pretty solid, and there was decent diversity throughout the album... Not sure what to make of the movie interludes between some of the tracks, but it worked okay for me, and at least wasn't contrived like some others that I've heard... The best part of this album for me, were the hypnotic instrumental tracks that were laid under the rap - as those were incredibly chill and interesting, and provided the perfect backdrop to the vocals... I almost wish there was just an instrumental version only of this album... A couple of songs that I enjoyed more than others were "Duel Of The Iron Mic" & "Gotcha' Back", so points for the music, originality, and diversity, and at the end of the day, I'll give it a 3...

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Fri Apr 26 2024
1

I didn't like this. I thought the movie samples were weird. The lyrics were repetitive. I'd ask for this to be turned off if it was on at a BBQ.

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Wed Aug 17 2022
5

Very happy to have discovered this album via the 1001 challenge. The hip-hop sound of the mid-90s was fantastic and this record is an amazing representation of it. I can't wait to listen to it again and give a better attention to the lyrics and subtleties.

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Fri Aug 19 2022
5

Has that strong, edgy, East coast rap flow to it. Makes for a good background listen that still gets your head bobbing a little

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Wed Aug 24 2022
5

Tres lourd. J'ecoute absolument jamais de rap mais j'ai eu une tres bonne surprise avec cet album. J'ai adore les intros parlees au debut des chansons

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Tue Sep 13 2022
5

Mračan, hladan, vožen pričom, atmosferičan album, odlični beatovi, odlični tekstovi (osim B.I.B.L.E. - nažalost, ali beat je savršen), odlična koncepcija i album koji je već godinama u rotaciji kada se ušeta hladnije vrijeme. Bio mrkli mrak, hladan ili općenito hladnije vrijeme - ovaj album je stvoren za to. U top 3 najbolja solo albuma outside of Wu-Tang. RZA je pokazao da je jeben producent i mislim da mu je ovo jedan od najboljih produciranih albuma. Definitivno bih htio ovo na vinylu, ali teško - meni se čini, ali doć ću ja po to, nabavit ću - ne brine me to! Slobodno poslušajte, možda ne bude pasalo, ali ako volite Wu-Tang i njihov stil repa i priče u early wu-tang danima, ovo je album za vas. Ne znam jel znate, zapravo kak bi znali, ali Method Man mi je uvijek bio najjači lik u Wu-Tangu - i zato sam htio da on napravi svoj solo album ovako kvalitetno ko GZA, međutim nije, iako mu nije uopće loš album, odličan isto, samo ne toliko sa strane kritike, a i te neke kontinuiranosti. Naravno, ima još on dobrih albuma (IMO) - Legend of the Liquid Swords, Beneath the Surface i Grandmasters, ali nije ni blizu nivou na kojem je Liquid Swords.

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

fresh tastes of a future in hiphop. really early hints of melodic rap

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Sat Nov 26 2022
5

Czarny piatek, to i czarny album wylosowalo, dodatkowo jeden z moich ulubionych rapowych krazkow, najlepszy solowy material wutangowej rodziny, plyta z chyba najbardziej zapadajacym w pamiec skitem otwierajacym w historii czarnej muzyki, zsamplowany z szogunowego zabojcy, no i dodatkowo album ktory musi byc osluchany na kazde swieta, gdy za oknem jest zimno, czyli liquid swords od pana GZA z roku 95, im bardziej osluchany material tym mniej sensu jest sie rozpisywac nad nim, bo zdanie jest juz wyrobione i utrwalone, a liquid swords to chyba jeden z moich najbardziej osluchanych materialow, bo na samym last fmie z ponad 50 przesluchan sie nabilo, wiec boje sie pomylec ile bylo jutubowych, czy niezeskroblowanych, jedyne co chce dodac, to fakt jak mocno zarysowany jest tutaj wystep pana killah priesta, bo chyba wlasnie dzieki temu nagraniu stal sie jednym z najpowazniejsyzch wutangowych okoloczlonkow

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Tue Dec 13 2022
5

It sounds Wu Tan but not a Wu Tan album. This is great. Hip hop from higher levels

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Fri Dec 16 2022
5

Wu Tang still one of the best.

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Wed Dec 28 2022
5

10/10 one of my favorite rap albums the production is so goshdarn cool

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Thu Dec 29 2022
5

All of the Wu-Tang releases around the 36 Chambers era are just straight fire but this one might be my favorite solo release from that period. All killer no filler. Great beats, fantastic samples and biting lyricism.

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Sat Dec 31 2022
5

When I was little my father was famous He was the greatest samurai in the empire And he was the Shogun's decapitator He cut off the heads of a hundred and thirty-one lords It was a bad time for the empire The Shogun just stayed inside his castle and he never came out People said his brain was infected by devils My father would come home, he would forget about the killings He wasn't scared of the Shogun, but the shogun was scared of him Maybe that was the problem Then, one night The, the Shogun sent his ninja spies to our house They were supposed to kill my father but they didn't That was the night everything changed This album is crazy good. 5/5

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

I loved almost every song on this album.

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Tue Jan 10 2023
5

This one just gets better on every listen. Mostly just because that production is LUSH. Mmm. I love this one. It has flaws, but not very impactful ones.

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Tue Jan 17 2023
5

One of my favorite albums of all time.

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Fri Jan 20 2023
5

Love anything that sounds from NYC

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Tue Jan 24 2023
5

When cut across the neck, a sound like wailing winter winds is heard, they say. I'd always hoped to cut someone like that someday, to hear that sound. But to have it happen to my own neck is ridiculous.

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Tue Jan 31 2023
5

Such and incredible album, every track just stays with me. Amazing production from RZA, outstanding rapping from GZA and the rest of the Wu Tang Clan. To think I originally listened to this the first time because of a really stupid meme involving Joe Biden (https://amp.knowyourmeme.com/memes/joe-biden-liquid-swords-tweet). And the extended version on Apple Music has instrumental versions of all the tracks!!!

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Thu Jan 26 2023
5

Not often do you get a hip hop album that manages to be both dense and icey cool. Liquid Swords is spooky, lyrical and backed up by pumping old school beats. There isn't a track on this that doesn't still stand up. RZA's production at its finest. GZA's bars are fierce, no other way of putting it. Special technique *insert eighties kung fu movie skit to make that point again*.

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Sat Mar 04 2023
5

Fantastic album. The beats are great, the lyrics are great, the rhyme schemes are great, the features are great, I really dont see any issues with this.

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Mon May 01 2023
5

Another stone cold masterpiece and probably one of my five favorite hip hop albums of all time. Everything in *Liquid Swords* is pitch-perfect. GZA's lyricism and his deadpan delivery--here coupled with RZA's hypnotic instrumentals--are legendary. The words hit hard, the music is cinematic... To put it in a nutshell, what you have here is hip hop heaven--even if the world it conveys sounds like hell on earth, itching, teasing and even tormenting you like few releases in the genre do. Those evocative *Shogun Assassin* samples are transporting you into another universe from the very first seconds, and what follows never disappoint. To me, this is the best Wu-Tang solo output by a very wide margin, as awesome as Raekwon and Method Man's first solo LPs were. Only the Wu-Tang Clan debut can beat that one, thanks the latter's iconic anthems. And yet *Liquid Swords* is actually more satisfying if you take into accounts the particular dynamics of going through an album in one sitting. The title track, "Duel Of The Iron Mic", "Living In The World Today", "Gold", "Shadowboxing"... They're all gems. "B.I.B.L.E--Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth" is also an exhilarating closer aptly conveying the sort of twisted mysticism only the Wu-Tang collective is capable of. And 'Swordsman" is a slap in the face, with its heavy, HEAVY beats, and its moody orchestral samples. 5/5. "The G.O.D., the G.O.D," GZA repeats. But what he meant is the *G.O.A.T.*. Number of albums left to review: 573 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 206 (including this one). Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 99 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more essential to me): 126

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Fri May 05 2023
5

Best Wu Tang solo album? Definitely in the conversation! I can listen to this all day! RZA on point with the beats and the GZA is a phenomenal emcee, really paints a vivid picture with his rhymes!

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Tue May 16 2023
5

Automatic five star, hell of a way to start the week. This is an album that I identified as my favorite rap album from the year of its release, 1995. I noted in my review of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx that this is my favorite Wu-Tang solo project, and that holds up. GZA's lyrical output is outstanding here, and the production (handled almost entirely by RZA) is amazing. So many excellent movie samples, the opening dialogue about the father and the samurai chills me every time. There are also just some really interesting instrumental choices throughout, not the least of which is the accordion beat on "Liquid Swords." This is just prime, old-school hip hop, with those dusty, spooky beats that we know and love from Wu-Tang plus dazzling lyricism. Of all the '90s hip hop albums that I've listened to, I hold this one way up there with the best of the best. Also, huge shout out to "I Gotcha Back," the line "trapped in a deadly video game" would later be sampled by the Molemen on their fantastic "Put Your Quarter Up." Go listen to that track ASAP. Favorite tracks: Living In the World Today, Liquid Swords, 4th Chamber, I Gotcha Back, Swordsman, Cold World, BIBLE. Interesting enough, I still have songs hearted from the last time I listened to this, and there were at least two new ones that I added to that list today. Album art: ICONIC, truly. One of the all-time great hip hop album covers, and I doubt that's just my opinion. The comic book art style has played a role in hip hop for a long time (see others from Outkast, MF DOOM, Czarface, etc.), and this is such a great one. Worth noting, too, that I'm sure this played a big role in inspiring Marvel's hip hop album cover project; comic book artists created homages to tons of hip hop albums with Marvel variants, and there are actually vinyl releases with those Marvel variant covers (I have the variant pressings of this album and Get Rich or Die Trying, another 5/5 we've had on this list). Warriors in hoodies doing battle on a chessboard. The two guys in the forefront is what always comes to mind, but there's some compelling brutality behind them, and I love the robed guy standing menacing in the back. Just an amazing album cover, deserves a place in a museum. 5/5

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Wed May 17 2023
5

finally some good fcking food !

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Wed May 24 2023
5

Loved this, miss when hip hop could be this vibey

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Sun Jun 04 2023
5

This was a really tough one to rate. When I first heard it a few years ago as I was still getting into hip-hop I was completely blown away, the production was like nothing I’d ever heard and the cinematic vibe of it really appealed to me. For years it was my favourite Wu Tang adjacent album by a long way but after a few listens I think it loses a bit of steam towards the end and some of the verses get a bit repetitive, while my appreciation of some other albums like 36 Chambers, Supreme Clientele and Cuban Linx has grown. Still an incredible album though - would have been an easy 5 a few years ago, I’m still going to give it a 5 but it’s not as clear cut. As a side note, I also just love how nerdy a lot of Wu Tang stuff is at base level. This entire record is just a love letter to samurai films, comic books, and chess and it somehow sounds cool as fuck

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Mon Jun 12 2023
5

One of the greatest MCs ever, backed by one of the greatest producers ever. Not even a feminist harpy like me can hate on those questionable abortion bars on B.I.B.L.E.

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Tue Jun 13 2023
5

GZA is an amazing rapper and lyricist and the production on this is cool as hell.

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Wed Jun 14 2023
5

Pretty much a hip-hop concept album, I love how textured and layered this is, plus its scattershot pop-culture references. Despite its length it never gets boring. An awesome achievement.

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Tue Jun 20 2023
5

Fire. Crazy production🔥🔥

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Tue Jun 20 2023
5

🔥 Immediately added to the rotation.

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Wed Jun 28 2023
5

Nice work man you did great work

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Thu Jun 29 2023
5

Amazing solo album from GZA.

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Mon Jul 24 2023
5

Liquid Swords- GZA and the Wu-Tang Clan are samurai fighting with their liquid swords(their bars). GZA talks about defeating and keeping down the weak MCs (4) Duel Of The Iron Mic- Continuing the metaphor about Samurai, they compare sword duels t Battle Rapping, where one's mic is the “iron sword” (4.5) Living In The World Today- In this track Genius encourages those who agree with the Wu-Tang’s view but heavily cautions that against empty support, as they will face oppression and need to be able to stand up (5) Gold- The drug/hustling life is explained to be a trap and encompasses those who partake in it but doesn’t allow a way out, making them struggle to meet the dangerous requirements every day (3.5) Cold World- A contrary perspective from the track Gold, GZA describes being an onlooker to this harsh community where they need to do shady business and risk their lives to progress in life (4.5) Labels- GZA gives his piece of mind about Labels, comparing them to spiders luring prey to their web. He disses multiple Labels n the process (5) 4th Chamber- The hit of the album, the different artists on the track explain how they all get about their way of life in different ways, but they all come together as Rap Samurai (5) Shadowboxin’- GZA along with Method Man continues the story of the 4th Chamber, and how they explain their frustrations through rap, plus showing off their skills (4) Hell’s Wind Staff/Killah Hills 10304- Same message as Shadownboxin’, except this time GZA boats about his mastery of his drug game. The second part of this double track, Killah Hills 10304, talks about how even if you are successful in the trap, you are ultimately locked in this chain of tragedy, no matter how successful you are in the drug game (5) Investigative Reports- Over the report of a case in Brooklyn, GZA, along with U-God and Ghostface rap about how the war in Brooklyn mirrors the Revolutionary War, a fight for freedom, only in this case its to escape a system of oppression (4) Swordsman- GZA talks about the 5% Theology, the belief that God is part of him, and warns about foolish people who face authority without a plan, but separates himself from them, stating his superiority and deep wisdom. (4.5) I Gotcha Back- GZA is trying to show those in the system that he is supporting and watching their back, but that doesn't mean they are completely safe, because danger can come from any side, and when being in the trap there is no guarantee of where an attack will come from (4) B.I.B.L.E- In the final track GZA raps about how from early in his life, he seemed wise but had a struggle getting it in a system where they rent supposed to grow up being philosophical. However, GZA encourages the listener that he has realized much about religions, and raps about his beliefs through the rest of the track (5) Summary: GZA speaks throughout the album about how the world is unfair for the black people in the projects, and how the circuits and circles there forced into never have an exit, However, 's encouraging listeners and victims to remain confident and hope for a better time; OVERALL: 5/5

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Wed Aug 02 2023
5

While Wu Tang Clan are one of my favourite hiphop “groups” and Liquid Swords is one of the best solo albums, this is on the fence between a 4 and a 5 for me. I guess I just can’t relate to all of this content anymore. Flows are good, production is nice… I’ll give it a 5 for old time’s sake.

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Thu Aug 10 2023
5

After 30 years, this album is still in my rotation, top-10 hip hop album for me. While everyone from the Clan sounds great, the GZA really stands out for me. Repeated listens required.

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Fri Aug 18 2023
5

Possibly better than 36 Chambers definitely top tier 90s hip hop album and a classic for a reason.

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Fri Aug 25 2023
5

Peak Wu-Tang. Like visiting an old friend and when it's time to go you're like, "damn! we should hang out more often."

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Sun Aug 27 2023
5

Amazing album. Personally my favorite, reminds me a lot of MF DOOM.

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Sat Sep 09 2023
5

The album cover has a guy getting his head cut off by a flying guillotine; that's 5 stars by itself.

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Tue Sep 12 2023
5

this is a belter of an album. It's better than almost all of the other wu-tang stuff, collective or solo.

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Thu Sep 21 2023
5

"Liquid Swords" by GZA, a cornerstone of hip-hop, is an album that has left a mark on the genre since its release. With its release in 1995, GZA, a prominent member of the Wu-Tang Clan, delivered a masterpiece that remains relevant and influential to this day. The album's production, heavily influenced by RZA, is a perfect marriage of haunting and soulful beats that set a dark and atmospheric tone. This sonic landscape complements GZA's razor-sharp lyricism and intricate storytelling. Tracks like "Duel of the Iron Mic" and "Living in the World Today" showcase his lyrical prowess, blending street knowledge with vivid imagery. GZA's alias, the Genius, is fitting as he delves into a wide array of subjects, from street life to philosophy and chess. "Liquid Swords," the title track, encapsulates the album's essence with its vivid metaphors and sharp wordplay. GZA's lyrical dexterity is on full display, and his ability to craft intricate narratives is unparalleled. What truly distinguishes "Liquid Swords" is its ability to transport listeners to the gritty and unforgiving world GZA portrays. The album's cohesive storytelling makes it akin to a cinematic experience, where each track contributes to a larger narrative. This cohesiveness elevates it beyond a collection of songs; it's a lyrical journey. "Liquid Swords" stands as a timeless classic that continues to inspire generations of hip-hop artists. Its influence on the genre is immeasurable, and its place in hip-hop history is firmly cemented. GZA's "Liquid Swords" remains a masterpiece that transcends time and genre, earning its place among the greatest hip-hop albums ever created.

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Mon Sep 25 2023
5

10/10 Cold World gratest song of all time

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Sun Oct 08 2023
5

All time classic. Choose 5 stars, and you will join me. Choose any less, and you will join your father, in death. You do not understand, but you must choose.

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Tue Oct 10 2023
5

Uno de los mejores álbumes del Hip-hop neoyorquino de los ‘90s. Sumamente innovador en tanto a propuestas narrativas y usos de skits, ademas de contar con flows y colaboraciones sorprendentes.

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Wed Oct 11 2023
5

GZA is "The genius" for a reason. His flow and lyrics were years ahead of their time. This is that old school in your face rap from an actual MC. Not just a producer making a beat with a featuring artist singing into some autotune. So put on your headphones. Close your eyes. And listen to the story that this album tells.

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Sat Oct 14 2023
5

Yay advanced human experience

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Mon Oct 16 2023
5

The best spin off WuTang Album, the Samurai samples are sick and everyone's rapping on this Favorites: Liquid Swords 4th Chamber Duel of the Iron Mic

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Fri Oct 20 2023
5

Quite the tale. Rapper appreciation of martial arts for sure. Love it!

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Sun Oct 22 2023
5

Liquid lyricism. Bold beats. Wonderful Wutang.

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Wed Oct 25 2023
5

It is offensive that the YouTube link for this excludes the movie clip from the beginning, and blanks out cocaine on the first track.

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Wed Oct 25 2023
5

Classic mid 90s hip hop. Still slaps

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Wed Oct 25 2023
5

Absolutely seminal hip hop. A stone classic.

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Mon Oct 30 2023
5

Incredible lyricism, the whole album feels very real and from the heart. An all time classic.

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