37. GZA "Gold" (1995)
Album: Liquid Swords
After the critical and commercial success of Wu-Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers, the members of the group wasted no time showing us that it was no fluke as they launched into a campaign of equally great solo albums throughout the early ‘90s. GZA’s Liquid Swords was close in spirit to the group’s debut with all the 5 Percenter wisdom, street narratives, and chess allegories that entails. All three are present on “Gold,” where GZA sets up a massive operation to serve the inexhaustible stream of fiends chasing a high. GZA’s drug kingpin gets filthy rich and miraculously avoids lock-up, but at the end of the last verse he loses his mother, the inspiration for his trip from rags to riches in the first place, and buries her with stacks of cash she never got to see in life.