NPR's Tiny Desk continues to pay homage to veteran rappers, this time with an energetic performance from GZA & The Soul Rebels.

Already, Tiny Desk has recently featured hip-hop legends including Masta Ace and Big Daddy Kane this year, and the series continues its winning streak with GZA. As Tiny Desk explains, GZA's appearance was a rare one for the Wu-Tang Clan rapper. He brought along an eight-piece band from New Orleans, The Soul Rebels, to assist in the performance.

GZA the Genius opened the set with "Living In The World Today," from his 1995 solo album Liquid Swords before sliding into "Duel of the Iron Mic" from the same classic project. He closed the set with the title track "Liquid Swords,"

GZA, who is notoriously laid-back, did little talking in between songs, choosing instead to let his rhymes do his communicating.

"When the MCs came to live out the name and to perform/Some had to snort cocaine to act insane before Pete rocked it on/Now on with the mental plane to spark the brain with the building to be born," he raps on "Liquid Swords."

He did, however, pause to talk about the origins of that song.

"This is a song that was recorded in Staten Island. We call it Shaolin," he explained. "We were in the slums of Shaolin, in the basement—RZA, Masta Killa, we were drinking 40s, there was a little smoke in the air, and we were playing chess, we were strategizing. And RZA said, 'Yo Just, I got this beat, I want you to hear, see if you can rock to it. I said 'This is kinda slick.""

The set was recorded when The Soul Rebels were in Washington, D.C. for a performance at the 9:30 Club that featured GZA and Talib Kweli.

Check out the performance above.


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