GZA has joined the long list of artists to perform for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. The Wu-Tang Clan emcee performed the three opening tracks of his 1995 classic album Liquid Swords. He was accompanied by the eight-piece brass ensemble from New Orleans known as The Soul Rebels. The horn section brought new life to the 23-year-old lyrics and metaphors from GZA’s iconic solo project. Watch the full performance above.
Aside from bringing a sweaty, heart-filled performance to NPR’s offices, GZA finished out his set by sharing the story of how the hook of “Liquid Swords” came to be. GZA was apparently hanging out in RZA’s basement with Masta Killa and RZA drinking 40s, smoking, and playing chess. RZA then presented GZA with a beat for the new song, and asked him to perform an old routine he and his late cousin Ol' Dirty Bastard once performed as teenagers. Thus, the iconic hook was born.
"It was something new and something fresh. Something unheard of in that way," GZA told Spin about the album on its 20th anniversary. "I mean, there’s nothing new under the sun, but there’s always different ways of approaching something or revising something. I think the grittiness is just a part of where we come from. You know, rough, rugged around the edges."
2008’s Pro Tools was GZA’s last album, but in 2015, it was revealed that he’s still is working on new material with Vangelis and has since dropped a couple loose tracks including “The Mexican” and “The Spark.” Sadly, we still haven’t seen that highly-anticipated album Dark Matter.