GZA is coming to reminisce with audiences by performing his album, Liquid Swords

One of the founding members of the Wu Tang Clan will come to Gabe’s on his 25th anniversary tour of his second solo album, Liquid Swords.


Samantha Murray, Arts Reporter

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of one of the most acclaimed hip hop albums of all time, founding member of the Wu Tang Clan Gary Grice, better known as GZA, is taking the album Liquid Swords on tour and bringing it to Gabe’s today at 8 p.m.

The Wu Tang Clan came out of New York City in the early 1990s, releasing music that would continue growing its fan base even after two decades of performing. GZA has seen this continual presence firsthand.

“…It’s stood the test of time,” GZA said in an interview with The Daily Iowan. “Young kids are still catching on. For example, last night, I had a young guy in the audience. He had a Wu shirt on and he was singing mostly all the lyrics, so I brought him on stage when I was doing “Triumph” … after he left the stage I asked him his age, and he was only 17.”

What has kept the music of the Wu Tang Clan alive in the music scene has been their complex lyrical style. According to a study examining the vocabulary of hip hop artists, GZA made number four, with two of his fellow Wu Tang Clan members cracking the top ten.

For GZA, inspiration can come from anything that he has an interest in. Describing his initial creative process, GZA said he has developed a method of keeping track of thoughts and ideas he wants represented in his songs.

“It depends on what I’m listening to, what I’m watching,” GZA said. “I take notes, and I write it down. Then I group and subgroup and super subgroup and put together this and that — what should go here what should go there.”

While the Wu Tang Clan’s music is hailed for its complexity, GZA has taken issue with the way hip hop has been progressing — or rather, regressing — lyrically. He spoke about art forms that developed alongside hip hop, including breakdancing, disc jockeying, and graffiti art.

Lyrically, rap has become stagnant, both in terms of content and context, something he would like to see improve overall, GZA said. He added that he would like to see rap return to its roots.

“We were raised as MCs[master of ceremonies], not rappers,” he said. “Even the term, the title, has changed. As an MC growing up, we were always taught and trained and train ourselves to always write the most wittiest, the most articulate, the most brightest, the most clever rhyme you can write when it comes to a certain subject or a thing. And that’s just not happening now.”

Although GZA may not be able to single handedly change the modern music industry, he welcomes audiences to his show.

“Just show up, and let’s have fun,” he said. “Let’s reminisce and flashback. Enjoy the album. Replay it. Sing along.”