Liquid Swords (Explicit Version)
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GZA's 20 Year Journey to Platinum Status

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The Wu-Tang Clan is one of the most influential groups in hip hop history. The group consists of some of the most gifted lyricists in the game, and while people may argue about who their favorite is among the group, very few can argue with the fact that GZA is the best pure lyricist in the group. Armed with an arsenal of bone-chilling lyrics and a smooth, cerebral flow GZA stands out in a stacked crew which is home to high caliber lyricists like Ghostface, Inspectah Deck, and Method Man to mention a few.


With that in mind it’s no surprise that GZA’s 1995 sophomore studio album Liquid Swords is one of the most highly acclaimed albums in hip hop. The album features RZA’s signature sinister production, with eerie kung-fu film skits that perfectly match GZA’s lyrics and flow. Over the years the album has managed to attain many accolades, and even though it was a commercial success it never managed to achieve platinum status as did other Wu-Tang projects such as Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...which was also released in 1995 to critical acclaim, Ghostface’s Ironman which was released in 1996, and Method Man’s Tical which was released in 1994 to mention a few. At least that was the case until now. The album finally managed to ship more than 1 million copies therefore being declared platinum by the RIAA just last month.


The accolades that Liquid Swords has received over the years are the kind that any musician ought to envy, and I won’t bother to go into them because you can easily find them all over the Internet. The mere fact that 20 years later we’re still talking about the album serves as proof that the project had a significant impact on music. More astonishing is that the album has been selling over the years, though slowly – but enough nonetheless to take the album to platinum status.


GZA has released 4 other album since Liquid Swords to varying degrees of success, but none has managed to replicate the universal critical (and commercial) success that LS reached, which is understandable because the album is a masterpiece. However, GZA still achieved commercial success on his 1999 album Beneath The Surface which achieved gold status. His 2002 album Legend of the Liquid Sword , 2005’s GrandMasters, 2008’s Pro Tools also managed to achieve critical success, though not at the same level as Liquid Swords.


In an interview with The Guardian which was published earlier this year GZA reminisced on the making of the album in the 90s and said "making an album was a great feeling, and there were many hours in RZA’s house, in his basement, and hours of beat playing. We were still in our early stage, so there was so much support from everyone. I was doing the album, and every now and then a Clan member would come through. Rae would be there one day or Ghost another. It was just fun."


I'm sure GZA is proud that his most critically acclaimed piece of work is also his most commercially successful - a feat that few rappers have achieved. The Genius is more than a mere rapper; he’s also lyricist, a scholar, and a philosopher. Congratulations to him for finally reaching the platinum club. It was long overdue. His next album, Dark Matter, is scheduled for release in 2016. You can listen to Liquid Swords via YouTube below.