The second solo album from Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA, Liquid Swords, is now entering its 15-year anniversary, but this is by no means a dated listen. With GZA’s clear and non-showy flow, RZA’s barebones production, and a consistent stream of very strong songs, this is still a musical milestone. There are a lot of propulsive bass tones, twinkling strings, snapping snares, and layered sampling going on here, but the music never sounds busy or cluttered. Check out the way “Duel of the iron Mic” incorporates samples from 80’s samurai film Shogun Assassin, repetitive piano, muffled explosion sound effects and confidently aggressive rhymes. “4th Chamber” features some thrillingly rapid-fire lyrical wordplay, accompanied by a lo-fi beat and strange, synthesized noises while “Investigative Reports” showcases electric guitar and a spacey keyboard motif that creatures an ominous, otherworldly feel. Liquid Swords was one of the best albums of the 90’s, and still stands today as a phenomenal achievement in Hip Hop music.
“Duel of the iron Mic” by GZA/Genius