GZA – “Beneath the Surface” review

Considering the fact that his 1995 sophomore effort Liquid Swords is one of the greatest hip hop albums ever made, expectations for Wu-Tang Clan member GZA’s 3rd full-length album were understandably high. The 1st song “Amplified Sample” pretty much brags about GZA’s lyrical skills & the beat from Mathematics is on point too, but I kinda wish the GZA added another verse onto the song rather than having him repeating the first verse. I mean I didn’t mind when Ol’ Dirty Bastard did that on “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” at all, but hearing the GZA doing that on this song was a bit unexpected for me. The song “Crash Your Crew” is about just that & the production from Arabian Knight has this nice horn sample throughout. The song ” Breaker” is a sincerely verbal warning to all wack MCs & I really like the strings Mathematics incorporates on here. The song “1112” (or “Man, Man, Man, Woman” in Supreme Mathematics) is the only track on the entire album to be produced by the Clan’s de facto leader RZA, who produced GZA’s previous album in it’s entirety with the exception of “B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)” & I really love how GZA starts off the song by telling the listener about the making of the beat for it. As for the guest verses from Masta Killa as well as Killah Priest & Njeri Earth, they don’t disappoint. Similar to the track “Labels” off of Liquid Swords, the song “Publicity” on here sees The Genius showcasing his wordplay skills over a symphonic beat & this time he’s cleverly namedropping hip hop magazines rather than record labels. The final song “Mic Trippin'” is fantastic way to close out the album, because the beat is kinda pretty & the GZA’s rhyme schemes on here are amazing as well. I think 1 may be disappointed by the fact that RZA only produced 1 song on here but if you actually listen to it, you’re still gonna get a great album. The rhymes are dope are still fantastic & while the production isn’t as flawless as it was last time, it was cool to hear GZA over other people’s beats for the first time since his highly slept-on debut Words from the Genius (even though that album was primarily produced by Easy Mo Bee)

Score: 4/5

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