The Wu-Tang Clan revolutionized sampling with their vast collection of celluloid kung-fu gems sprinkled throughout their catalogs. What made the use of Shogun Assassin (1980) on the GZA's Liquid Swords album different, however, was the sinister tone of these samples, which were darker than before and quite eerie to the ear. Shogun Assassin, which tells the bloody tale of a wandering Samurai and his child in feudal Japan, is actually two 1972 movie adaptations of the Lone Wolf and Cub saga sliced and diced, then condensed into one ultraviolent film for international markets (now that's hip-hop).
For the spooky GZA intro, some of the best dialogue spoken by the warrior's child is taken. “When I was little my father was famous," begins the tyke. "He was the greatest Samurai in the Empire and he was the Shogun's decapitator. He cut of the heads of 131 Lords." Close your eyes and you can almost see the action. The kid also informs us that the Shogun began acting strangely. "People said his brain was infected by devils." Eventually ninja spies came to assassinate the underaged storyteller's father. "That was the night everything changed.” Indeed it was. The inclusion of these cinematic bits were like an extension of the music. The Wu changed the movie sampling game forever.