Gza | City Winery | Hip-Hop | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Gza

Gza

Courtesy City Winery

When: Oct. 30-31, 8 p.m. 2016
Price: $35-$45, 10/30 sold out
When Staten Island’s Wu-Tang Clan signed with RCA in 1992, the groundbreaking hip-hop collective insisted that their contract allow each member to pursue a solo career in any way he wanted. It was an important move, giving each of the Clansmen a chance to spotlight their wildly idiosyncratic personalities. Being a part of arguably the greatest hip-hop group ever seems like a lot of work as it is, but the members’ following solo works were also great—late 1994 into 1995 alone saw the release of Method Man’s impossibly smooth Tical, Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s unhinged Return to the 36 Chambers, and Raekwon’s mafioso-rap landmark Only Built for Cuban Linx . . . But the undisputed, stone-cold classic was Liquid Swords by Gza, aka the Genius. During a skit on Wu-Tang’s 1993 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Method Man famously explains why Gza is the group’s genius (“We form like Voltron and Gza happen to be the head”), and on Liquid Swords Gza’s deep, powerful voice booms forth lyrics about chess, philosophy, and martial arts over minimal, crispy, blown-out Rza beats. The album is often considered the crowning, timeless achievement of the sprawling Wu-Tang catalog, and for good reason—it hits like a freight train. It’s garnered a lot of front-to-back performances over the last few years, and Gza will be doing just that two nights in a row.
— Luca Cimarusti
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