Gza's magnum opus "Liquid Swords" finally reaches ONE MILLION copies sold.

Nuff Respect to the GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, whose classic album Liquid Swords recently reached the platinum threshold...My dude Aaron Coleman shared a link about Liquid Swords (which will reach it's twentieth anniversary this November) going platinum in September, remarking that this should have happened long ago. A commentor quickly chimed in, stating that Gza didn't get the respect he deserved. I don't think respect and record sales are even remotely connected.

Gza is widely regarded as one of the greatest lyricists ever. Respect is not an issue. The real issue is that he never went pop. Like most emcees that people like me consider great, Gza was serving lovers of great lyricism only, and turning all others away. His choice of deadpan, information-rich rhyming style has served to differentiate between the casual listener and the hardcore lover of wordplay. Gza's rhymes do not meet you where you are, and that alienates pop listeners. Instead, Liquid Swords makes you work to understand its contents.  Real hip hoppers appreciate that Gza is seeking like-minded people to bless with his brand of edutainment, and rejecting pop listeners at the door. 
Liquid Swords came out in what people like to call the "Golden Age" of hip hop, and still took twenty years to sell 1,000,000 copies. Even in a time that my generation celebrates as the best time for hip hop, the masses of people who consumed Yo! MTV Raps and Rap City could not muster up the enthusiasm for Gza that more charismatic members like Method Man and the late ODB enjoyed. 
There just aren't enough real hip hoppers to drive the BEST EMCEES to the top of the charts out of the gate... At least not every time. Gza, Rza (who supplied all the beats for Liquid Swords) and the rest of Gza's fam who feature on the record were not trying to make a pop record. They crafted a no-nonsense hip hop classic.

There are other rappers that are better performers than Gza, or that are better at casting a wide net, or that are better at making people feel something. Those dudes sell more records in the short term.  I don't think there's anything wrong with that, and I don't assume those are skills every great emcee has. Or needs. Like I said, respect and record sales don't always go together. But in the long run, a record that is truly dope will continue to move units after the smoke clears.

Props to the Genius for creating an album that continues to speak to audiences twenty years later. A bonafide classic.

Wu-Tang forever!

Samax Amen is a professional content developer, illustrator and cartoonist. You can hire him to breathe life into your ideas
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Unknown said...

Nuff respect to the one GENIUS!

Samax said...


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