On November 7th of this year, GZA‘s earthshaking sophomore solo outing Liquid Swords will hit the big 2-0, marking a full two decades of the rugged and raw opus that cemented him as the Wu-Tang Clan’s most cerebrally gifted MC. The record featured a thick score provided by the Shaolin crew’s head honcho RZA and has gone on to be considered an easy candidate for “best record” in a watershed year that also saw landmark releases from Tupac, Big L, The Pharcyde, The Roots, not to mention two other solo breakouts from fellow Wu-members ODB and Raekwon. All are embraced as pillars when discussing one of hip-hop’s many golden years.
But of those inarguable classics, only Pac’s own masterpiece Me Against The World (released while he was in prison, making him the first artist to ever debut on Billboard 200 from lock-up) has eclipsed the ever-coveted million-records-sold mark. That is until last month, when the RIAA certified Liquid Swords as platinum after 20 years on any true-schooler’s superlative list.
If one were to peer down the halls of time and look at the world in 1995, I imagine it would be hardly recognizable. Think about it: dial-up modems, pre-blown Bill Clinton, Starter jackets, Biggie & Pac were still living, breathing pioneers in cinematic rap, A Tribe Called Quest had yet to favor beef over beats with their rhymes and life. Shit just looked different. But we’re happy to say that the new glow of GZA’s actually genius sophomore record can be added to that list, sharing deceptively rare honors with his fellow hip-hop luminaries.