In 2008, “da head” of the metaphorical WU-Tang Clan Voltron, Gary “GZA/The Genius” Grice released one of the most heavily slept on hip hop releases in recent memory. Pro-Tools included some of the sharpest lyrics anywhere, laid over beats that had the feel of those classic WU-Tang releases at their core, but with an unmistakably updated skin peeled over them. Was it the best release that he ever put out? Of course not; the best thing that he ever created was Liquid Swords, but that’s an unfair comparison, because Liquid Swords is very likely my favorite hip hop album of all time. Does that make Pro Tools any less than an incredibly solid effort? Nope. But people are lazy and the last album just didn’t have the same momentum or visibility behind it. In fact, to promote the release, Grice actually did an entire tour marketed as him performing Liquid Swords, with a couple of new or WU tracks sprinkled into the mix.
While Pro-Tools itself was also delayed, I remember reading about Liquid Swords 2 scheduled to be released with his cousin, RZA, “The Abbot,” producing the entire project, just as he did the original. Also on the horizon was an album titled Dark Matter, that has also yet to see the light of day; keep in mind, this was 7 years ago. Since that time, GZA has popped up in a variety of scenarios, including a Devendra Banhart video and on stage with Atlanta‘s, Black Lips backing him at SXSW 2009. He’s also givien lectures at such colleges as Harvard, MIT, USC, and NYU, as well as for the TEDxTeen conference. Along with Dr. Chris Edmin, he even co-founded a scholastic program for youth called Science Genius. In the description for the video from TED, it states that Dark Matter would be released in the Spring of 2014. In fact, at the very end of the lecture, he even spit a verse related to the big bang theory that is expected to appear on it. Last year, I caught him twice — performing Liquid Swords again, but this time, with a live band — and he spit that same verse each time. Those shows were great and I still love Liquid Swords beyond measure (it’s an untouchable masterpiece), but I wouldn’t mind hearing Dark Matter either; I still support GZA‘s evolution as an artist and I still believe that he has plenty to offer. In 2012, there were interviews with him and articles about it being slated for release that Fall; instead, that December, he posted the cover art on his Facebook page. (which, I believe, might have since changed). The new WU-Tang Clan album has even hit the streets before Dark Matter. As for Liquid Swords 2… ? No idea.
Although we still continue to wait as he works on perfecting this next heavily anticipated science-focused LP, at least today has finally brought us some new music by one of the greatest lyricists in hip hop history — this time with a assistance that includes Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello and Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Check out the following info taken from the press release and listen to “The Mexican” below.
The track is GZA‘s take on the cult classic “The Mexican” which has been called “one of the most influential songs in hip hop culture” originally by Babe Ruth and made famous again by Jellyfish in the 1980’s. While working on his forthcoming LP, Dark Matter, GZA decided to share this standalone remake with his fans. The track was produced by GZA, arranged by Jose “Choco” Reynoso, and recorded with Tom Morello, Hanni El Khatib and Ruban Nielson among others. New music and more information on Dark Matter coming soon.