Gza Swings His Sword in New York City
In a performance that easily separated the hardcore fans from, well, everyone else, the GZA — most commonly known as the Wu-Tang Clan‘s brain — took over New York City in the final night of a two-day stint at the Knitting Factory on December 14.
The Genius’ devoted, cult-like fans piled into the venue with the understanding that there would be no bells and whistles, or catchy, pop-like hooks — just raw hip-hop from an emcee toted as one of the best lyricist of the ’90s. Overshadowed by more commercial acts like Jay-Z and Nas, and often upstaged by more popular Wu-Tang members, Genius can still pack a house.
There were whispers that Masta Killa, RZA, Raekwon, and even Ghostface Killah would make a guest appearance, but when GZA took the stage, he was joined by a huge entourage that included not one recognizable face. Instead, the emcee shared the stage with what could have been fans. The crew provided entertainment for those less enthused by renditions of lesser known cuts off ‘Liquid Swords’ such as ‘Duel of the Iron Mic,’ and ‘Swordsman.’ The crowd watched as entourage members rolled blunts and chatted on cell phones while GZA dipped in and out of songs. But the Genius commanded respect and attention with favorites like ‘Shadowboxin’,’ ‘Cold World’ and ‘I Gotcha Back.’
GZA also took a moment to pay homage to late Wu-Tang member Ol’ Dirty Bastard with an a cappella performance of ‘All in Together,’ off ‘Grandmasters.’
With the crowd right where he wanted them, GZA asked the concertgoers to shout out their ages. When numbers like 17, 18 and even 14 screamed back at the rapper, GZA stood back and asked “Who the f— can say Wu-Tang ain’t relevant to the kids? Wu-Tang is for the f–king babies!”