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Liquid Swords

GZA

1995

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

3.39

Votes

940

Genres

  • Hip Hop
Reviews
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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5

Goat

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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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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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4

Minimalistic beats, but still very efficient. The lyrics are what flows the most here and I'll definitely have to listen to it again soon.

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4

Very good album overall! Obviously very very Wu-Tang vibe. Perfectly dark atmosphere, RZA beat influence is felt everywhere and the Wu-Tang lyrisicm to match it. Some beats did not age too well unfortunately.

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4

Qualité efficace, ambiance dark qui met bien, ça sent fort le wu-tang et ça fais le taff fort ! A écouter plus en profondeur donc clairement j'ecouterais plusieurs fois

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4

Not my kind of music in general but I really like that it's a concept album with monologue bits, and the vibe was very chills (with hints of darkness) throughout.

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4

How is this the first time I hear this record in it’s entirety? GZA’s vocabulary is insane and his flow likewise. Surgical precision; nothing less. While not flashy the beats are the perfect backbone for GZA and his guests often rough, harsh and honest storytelling. The focus on extremely lyrically heavy songs ends up being almost physically exhausting. But with lyrics like these it takes a lot more to actually grow tired of it.

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4

A lyrical odyssey with great classic hiphop production. Storytelling at its finest and packs a great one-two punch in '4th Chamber' and 'Shadowboxin''. Impressive lineup of guests, and it's always nice to have the whole clan together.

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4

One of the Tangiest albums to ever Wu. Even though it's not technically a Wu-Tang album, it's got all of the Clan members on it and all of the weird kung-fu vibes of a Wu-Tang joint just cranked to 11. I enjoyed the hell out of this which is why it's getting high marks but it's still cheesy AF (like all Wu-Tang joints) which is why it's not getting a perfect 5. Still an utter blast, though.

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4

This is what I think about when I think about hip hop.

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4

Very good. Like swordsman a lot.

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4

Nice and smooth.

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4

rap很酷

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4

What an influential album. Great listen, totally recommend if you're looking for new sounds. God showed me a song from this album, and I never thought to look further into it. But, glad it came up for my album of yesterday, it was quite fitting.

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4

Try to not move your head to this engine album. You will fail.

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4

It was great! I love 90’s hip hop/R&B

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4

Dobaaaaar. Ko da film gledas. Beatovi su malo dosadni al vidi se da je veci fokus upret u tekst koji je u trenutcima wow.

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4

I enjoyed the lyricism of the album, and the concept of the music was very unique, especially the overlying plotline about a powerful warlord's son. Overall a very refreshing listen after the mindless lyrics in today's mainstream rap.

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4

Not a fan of rap, but damn, this is good stuff.

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4

Very recognizable, grim sounds and great lyricism.

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4

I really enjoyed this album, had classic 90’s bass lines and some good listens for the ears

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3

Seems like a pretty decent hip-hop album, focused on high quality basics instead of fancy overcompensation for lack of skill. That said, I simply don't like hip-hop. Still giving it three stars though, because it's a rare case where I didn't feel an aggressive urge to skip tracks after the first few seconds and dismiss the whole thing after 5 tracks.

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3

As with a lot of hip-hop albums, this is interspersed with numerous skits, broadly themed on shogun culture and mostly tedious. The music is actually pretty good, as is the vocals.

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3

Good Really bothered thag Cold world singing is not in key with track until the end when the beat changes. I like the dark tone but this doesn't need to be an hour long there is not enough variety to keep it interesting.

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3

I saw Wu Tang Clan at the Enmore Theatre in August 2011. I was really there to see the support act, Daily Meds. The audience was so excited. It was a great night. This album was 15 years old at the time but 3 of the tracks were featured that night - Liquid Swords, Duel Of The Iron Mic & 4th Chamber. Two of them feature the hypnotic hammond organ sample from Willie Mitchell’s version of The Rascals’ Groovin. And the other uses the repetitive piano piece from a David Porter(as in Isaac Hayes/David Porter) track. I’d never heard this album before. I spent a lot of time listening to the many tracks sampled here & marvelling at how the samples were used. I enjoyed the film dialogue used. The album has an edge-of the-seat atmosphere that is maintained throughout. It sounds great. Shadowboxin, with the Ann Peebles sample was a standout for me. At times it was just a bit too repetitive. And in a post-ISIS world, I doubt if you’d open your album with a track in which a kid talks about his dad being a decapitator.

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3

Its ok. Old school hip hop with cool skits. Nothing crazy for me

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3

Some nice melodies. Enjoyed "Cold World" a lot.

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3

3.5 I enjoyed it more than I expected

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3

Interessant mis cultuur aansluiting om dit echt te kunnen waarderen

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3

Decent Hip Hop but nothing to write home about

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3

The rapping is top level, the flow from all rappers is perfect with lyricism that is of substance and thought provoking, doesn’t get better than this. However, the instrumentals have the same percussion and tempo with minimal musical differences to differentiate the songs and make them stand out.

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3

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

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3

Really good flow and lyrical mastery, but the songs all tend to sound alike. Seems like it's the kind of album that you have to put in some effort to appreciate. I don't really feel like putting in that much work though. 3.5 stars.

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3

I'm either missing the point/purpose of the movie snippets being placed at the start of a few songs and the meaning they hold, but I personally believe that they're more of a nuisance than anything else. Overall great flow, rhythm, beats and lyrics.

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3

I’d say it’s decent. Still a little grating by the end, but the beats are pretty sweet and GZA’s lyrics/flows aren’t bad. 6/10

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3

On first listen I was impressed. Deserves another

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3

Not my genre, thanks

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2

Call me narrow-minded, but I just can't get into gangsta rap. Hip hop in general isn't my go-to music, but give me some hard hitting social and political commentary and I can really get into it. But guys bragging about their actual or notional murders, drug empires, guns, and intimidation of all and sundry? No thanks. Some good atmospheric beats and some nice flow in places (though not many, to my taste). So two stars from me (one star being no redeeming qualities but reviewed).

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2

Quand j’ai vu la couverture de l’album et l’artiste (ancien du Wu tang quand même), je trépignais d’impatience à l’idée d’écouter cet album. Malheureusement, j’ai trouvé l’ensemble très ennuyant pour des oreilles qui sont désormais habituées à écouter du rap moderne avec une production aux petits onions. Les samples de film sont vraiment stylés, et les instrus entraînantes (certaines peuvent rappeler ce que fera un Nujabes plus tard). Le rap, lui, est dans ce style US East coast qui je trouve à mal vieilli comparé à son cousin de l’ouest américain. En résumé: j’ai trouvé l’ensemble plutôt moyen et très ancré dans son époque. + west coast is better, sorry not sorry

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2

I enjoy modern hip-hop but I'm not really into this decade's rap. I respect the great storytelling and craftsmanship of this album but it's just not my thing unfortunately. First Listen?: Y Fav. Tracks: Shadowboxin' Rating: 2/5

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2

It was hard to hear the lyrics

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2

GZA is an OG and a solid rapper, but he was not at the top of my list of favorite Wu Tang alum. This album is okay, but the beat/music is actually pretty "cheap" and distracting on most of these tracks. My favorite parts were not GZA, but the features by other rappers. Just okay.

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2

i wanted to like this but it just didn't do it for me, it might be the skits, the failure might be mine

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2

Yeah nah

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1

Ugh, rap.

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1

More gangster crap. Boring and ugly.

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1

boring

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