Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tonight @ Apartment 720, 9 p.m.
Debates over the best solo Wu-Tang Clan albums inevitably boil down to two 1995 releases, Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… and GZA’s Liquid Swords. The latter is the more cinematic and foreboding of the two, a fitting showcase for GZA’s dense but seldom flashy raps. Since Liquid Swords thrived on the chemistry between the rapper and Wu-Tang producer RZA, it’s unsurprising that GZA’s subsequent albums with less involvement from RZA haven’t made the same impression, but on 2005’s excellent Grandmasters GZA found a fine collaborator in Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs. Last year’s Pro Tools was filled with more of GZA’s intricate verses, though its mostly undistinguished beats only further cemented the conventional wisdom that, though GZA is a world-class rapper, his albums are only as good as their producers.