On this day in Hip Hop history, GZA of Wu Tang Clan’s second album, Liquid Swords, was certified gold by the RIAA.
The album was originally released on November 7, 1995. The LP was recorded entirely in the basement studio of fellow Wu-Tang Clan member RZA (who also produced 12 of the 13 tracks on the project) in Staten Island, New York. Much to the theme of previous Wu-Tang releases, this album consisted vastly of dialogue sampled from kung fu film, Shogun Assassin. The tone of this project was quite dark and ominous, while dropping bombs of knowledge and understanding of the physical world. The way GZA rapped on this album sounded as if he were playing a game of chess against the listener. His lyrical genius attacks capturing pieces of their mind through the use of his Asiatic philosophy.
Upon its release, Liquid Swords peaked at the #9 spot on the Billboard 200 chart and #2 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. The project is critically acclaimed due to the complexity of its composition. Over the years it has been referred to on many occasions as one of the best rap albums of all time. Selwyn Seyfu Hinds of The Source is quoted saying on this album GZA is:
“a highly focused master-craftsman” and that “throughout Liquid Swords he maintains a clear, precise flow, one that reflects deadly-sharp purpose and skilled execution.”
The album was awarded 4 out of 5 mics by The Source upon release. Critics, journalists, and magazines alike had nothing but positive remarks in regards to this album. Matt Hall of Select wrote in 1995 that “…Liquid Swords sneaks under the tape to qualify as Rap Album of the Year.”
Said to be one of the best solo projects out of Wu-Tang, this album helped GZA build his kingdom in the rap game. After this release, he and Wu-Tang Clan went on to be the most successful rap group in the history of music.