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Beneath the Surface
     

Beneath the Surface

by GZA
 

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The most mysterious rhyme styler from the Wu-Tang's stable of incomparably virtuoso MCs, GZA returns with an album worth the anticipation surrounding its release. Lately, the hip-hop community has been quietly grumbling that the Clan's prolific nature has affected the quality of their music. Not so with GZA/Genius: His previous LIQUID SWORDS

Overview

The most mysterious rhyme styler from the Wu-Tang's stable of incomparably virtuoso MCs, GZA returns with an album worth the anticipation surrounding its release. Lately, the hip-hop community has been quietly grumbling that the Clan's prolific nature has affected the quality of their music. Not so with GZA/Genius: His previous LIQUID SWORDS album is one of the greatest Wu-Tang solo projects, and BENEATH THE SURFACE rises to that level. On hand are the requisite cameos from Method Man, RZA, and Ol' Dirty Bastard, with the latter bringing his infectiously manic energy to the album's most banging track, "Crash Your Crew." But it's the elements of surprise that set GZA apart, like socially conscious skits that riff on the importance of gun control and lyrics that deal with his continued obsession with music-biz mechanics ("Publicity"). Meanwhile, his backing tracks artfully mix slamming beats and eerie soundscapes, like the orchestral-soul snippets that swirl like an unfinished symphony underneath the title track. That, combined with the chilling nonchalance of GZA/Genius's lyrical flow, shows his egotistic stage moniker isn't mere hubris -- it's truth in advertising.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
There were so many Wu-Tang-related projects released during 1998 and 1999 that listeners -- and even fans -- could be forgiven for a bit of apathy regarding the second solo effort by Wu-Tang's Genius/GZA. The collective's trademark detuned strings had gone from de rigueur to downright dated by mid-1999, and except for a well-received RZA solo album earlier in the year, the lead in hip-hop's hype game appeared to have been taken over by Timbaland's brand of future funk. It may not have proved the commercial smash of a proper Wu-Tang LP, but Genius/GZA's Beneath the Surface is a worthy continuation and development of the Wu-Tang Clan conglomeration. The best tracks here, "Amplified Sample" and "Crash Your Crew," are quintessentially Wu-Tang, but with important tweaks to the trademark sound. The crisp, clean production -- by Wu associates Inspectah Deck, Mathematics, and Arabian Priest -- sounds much better than any project that had been recently issued (even RZA's Bobby Digital), and GZA's raps prove he's the most innovative and talented vocalist Wu-Tang had to offer. The only failure (at least in terms of sound) is "Victim," a cloying track with a bit of scratched acoustic guitar and some X Files-styled strings. Other than a few "skits" that disturb the flow, Beneath the Surface is arguably the best thing to come out of the Wu camp since their second proper album, Forever.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/29/1999
Label:
Fontana Mca
UPC:
0008811196929
catalogNumber:
11969
Rank:
38531

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

GZA/Genius   Primary Artist
RZA   Track Performer
Ol' Dirty Bastard   Track Performer
Method Man   Track Performer
Joan Davis   Track Performer
Masta Killa   Track Performer
Killah Priest   Track Performer
Darkman   Track Performer
Trigga   Track Performer

Technical Credits

GZA/Genius   Producer,Executive Producer
RZA   Executive Producer
Inspectah Deck   Producer
John the Baptist   Producer
Arabian Knight   Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer
Mathematics   Producer
Dragan "Chach" Cacinovic   Engineer

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