GZA – 4th Chamber

Liquid Swords
Year :
Cannibal Ox / Immortal Technique / Odd Future

You don’t understand my words, but you must choose.

Something about that line, sampled from who-only-knows-where, perfectly sets the tone for “4th Chamber.” The song is vaguely topical, but something about the idea of being forced into a choice that you don’t fully understand is as profound as it is, in this case, menacing.

And menacing is really the only right word for, what is in my estimation, the best album in the endless sea of Wu-Tang Clan side projects and collaborations. “Liquid Swords” has a bleak, damaged sound that I have heard imitated countless times over the years, but never really matched.

Why do I care?

I am 14 years old. I am at a “party” where the soundtrack consists of this song, tracks from the first Rage Against the Machine Album, and a pre-Limp Bizkit rap/rock outfit called State of Corruption. It was simply the most badass collection of songs you can throw in front of an impressionable teenage boy. I submit to you, exhibit A: Look at the names of the MCs on this track. TWO have taken some variation on the word “killer” as their nom de guerre, and the other two are so badass they simply can’t be bothered using vowels. And then there’s the album art: Anime inspired chess match warfare. For a teenage boy, there is nothing beyond or above it.

Girls didn’t like it…you hid it from your parents…it was just for me and friends.

Strange thing how music on the margins can bring people together in that way.

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(@YahSureMan) is the Founder of The Daily Soundtrack and Bark Attack Media. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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