Wu-Tang Clan co-founder, spiritual leader, and prolific wordsmith GZA has, for over two decades, remained one of the most beloved and influential figures in hop hop, best known, at least as a solo artist, for his breakthrough 1995 effort Liquid Swords. Still considered one of not only the best Wu-Tang offshoot releases, but also one of the best hip hop records of all time, the New York MC is set to pay tribute to his seminal effort by performing it in full at a string of intimate, upcoming dates, including not one, but two shows tonight, Nov. 8 at City Winery. Tickets can still be had for both the early (7 p.m.) and late (10 p.m.) performances, where GZA will also play a set of additional favorites. Read on for more on why you don’t want to miss this outing!
Born Gary Grice, GZA a.k.a. The Genius is one of the most recognizable members of legendary hip hop outfit the Wu-Tang Clan. The older cousin of fellow Wu-Tang rappers RZA and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard, GZA developed a love of hip hop while growing up in the burgeoning New York scene of the ’70s and ’80s, trying his hand at an early solo career before co-founding the group and breaking through to mainstream success with seminal 1993 debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The massive success of 36 Chambers allowed the talented MC to once again mount a solo effort, and with his 1995 sophomore release Liquid Swords, GZA found broader recognition and critical acclaim, transforming into a star in his own right, and remaining an enduring, esteemed figure in the hip hop community in the two decades since. Following Wu-Tang’s template of hard, pop culture-referencing, experimental, and uncompromising hip hop, and adopting it through a near singular lens, the RZA-produced Liquid Swords fires on all cylinders in a way that has phenomenally managed to stand the test of time, and is often ranked, out of dozens and dozens of Wu-Tang records and offshoots, right alongside 36 Chambers and Raekwon’s 1995 Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… as the best of the bunch. GZA has remained active, contributing to Wu-Tang records and guesting on his bandmates’ releases over the years, but still recognizes and pays tribute to the influence and lasting impact of his most groundbreaking release. Catching him playing Liquid Swords in full (as well as some other favorites) in a space as intimate and unorthodox in City Winery promises not only to be a night to remember, but likely one of the year’s best hip hop shows.
GZA will perform Liquid Swords and more with two sets tonight, Nov. 8 at City Winery. The shows are all ages, begin at 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.) and 10 p.m. (doors at 9 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $30-45 here (early) and here (late).