The Liquid Swords instrumentals are providing the soundtrack to my sorrow at watching Roy Halladay destroy the Cincinnati Reds like a Afghani-built bomb embedded in a cork of champagne. I found this floating around the Internet last week and have been meaning to post it ever since. Many moons ago, I wrote a 1,200 word LA Weekly feature waxing semi-philosophical about why the GZA’s sophomore record is the purest distillation of the Wu sound. With winter prematurely figure-four locking Los Angeles, RZA’s beats fulfill their goal–this is shiver in your car music. The 15 year anniversary of this record arrives next month, and with mixtapes allowing for unfettered and unprecedented copyright infringement, it’s a testament to its brilliance that not a single rapper has since managed to craft anything this cinematic.
GZA offered axioms and the best similes ever written (“weak like clock radio speakers,” “feminine like sandals”), while RZA figured out how to instantiate the sound of a brain being infected by devils. The answer was Willie Mitchell, Ann Peebles, Shogun Assassin, creaking hinges, and drums that sound they were dredged from an abyss. To his credit, they stand unadorned on their own two. And for those with antiquarian inclinations, I’m posting the sample material courtesy of Hip Hop is Read. Ideal for those who are in the mood to palliate their sorrows by sipping rum out of Stanley Cups. –Weiss