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GZA

GZA performing at the Paid Dues hip hop festival
Background information
Birth name Gary Grice
Also known as The Genius
Born 22 August 1966 (1966-08-22) (age 43)
Origin Brooklyn, New York
Genres hip hop
Occupations Lyricist
Years active 1985 - present
Labels Cold Chillin' Records
Loud Records
Geffen Records
MCA Records
Angeles Records
Babygrande Records
Associated acts Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Muggs, Easy Mo Bee

Gary Grice (born August 22, 1966), better known by his stage name GZA (pronounced /ˈdʒɪzə/) and The Genius, is an American hip hop artist best known as a founding member of the seminal hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan and for his inclusion on their group albums, his group mates' solo releases and a successful solo career.

Contents

Biography

Gary Grice developed an interest in hip-hop by attending block parties as a child in the early '70s. He formed a three-man group with his cousins, who would later be known as RZA and Ol' Dirty Bastard. The group, All in Together Now, saw the three rapping and DJing, switching off names and performing local shows; since they lived in different boroughs, GZA and Ol' Dirty would travel from Brooklyn out to Staten Island to meet up with their cousin RZA, after which the three would travel across NYC and challenge other MCs to battles. After some years of this, GZA was signed to Cold Chillin' Records as a solo artist under the name The Genius. He put together an album called Words from the Genius, produced mostly by Easy Mo Bee, but after it failed to sell—and his rocky experience on tour—Grice became fed up and asked for release from the label[1].

After joining the Wu-Tang Clan, a group of nine which included himself, RZA and ODB, GZA boasted some high-profile appearances on the group's debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), including a solo track, "Clan in da Front." This, combined with appearances on other Clan albums such as Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version and Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... brought him much recognition and respect (more than he achieved solo as "The Genius"). These guest appearances were followed up in 1995 with GZA's sophomore solo effort, Liquid Swords, produced entirely by RZA; the album was met with critical and commercial acclaim, and is still considered one of the best albums to come out of the Wu-Tang camp[2]; in 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source Magazine's 100 Best Rap Albums of all time.

After appearing on the Wu-Tang Clan's second album, Wu-Tang Forever, GZA released Beneath the Surface in 1999. Reviews were mostly positive and the album did well (going Gold), though it failed to live up to Liquid Swords' acclaim or commercial success. Like the post-debut projects of many Clan members, critics decried the album's lack of RZA production, claiming the underground producers and Wu-Elements used did not live up to the producer's skill level. Grice put in appearances on The W, Iron Flag and some of his group members' solo projects, but did not release another of his own until 2002 with Legend of the Liquid Sword. The album was received well by critics, but did not achieve commercial success, failing to go Gold as his previous release had. GZA spent 2004 touring, both solo and with the Clan, and made an appearance with RZA in Jim Jarmusch's film Coffee & Cigarettes, opposite Bill Murray.

In 2005, GZA and DJ Muggs (the producer for hip-hop group Cypress Hill) released the LP Grandmasters. Muggs provided all the production for the album, which saw GZA using chess as a metaphor for the rap game[3]. The album received very positive reviews[4] and modest commercial success. He then partook in the recording of groupmate Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, originally stating that he was heavily featured along with Inspectah Deck, though he was later unsure about his status on the project[5].

2007 saw GZA teaming up with his Wu-Tang Clan to record the group album 8 Diagrams, and in the ensuing controversy, defended both Raekwon and Ghostface Killah's rights to speak their mind, and RZA's production job on the album[6]. In the summer of 2008, he released the album Pro Tools which featured production from Black Milk and past collaborators Jay "Waxxx" Garfield, RZA, Mathematics and True Master. A very controversial song on the album was entitled "Paper Plates" a smooth flowing response aimed at rival rapper 50 Cent. After the release GZA toured various parts of Europe on a "Liquid Swords Tour" where he performed songs from Liquid Swords as well as Pro Tools. He later toured parts of the USA. GZA also stated his wish to record another full album with RZA[7].

In 2009, GZA made appearances on two more Wu-Tang Clan albums. The first being on a song entitled "Stomp Da Roach" on the album Dopium, by fellow clan member U-God, the other being appearances on the tracks "We Will Rob You" and "House of Flying Daggers", on Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II. The Genius continued to tour during the year, appearing on the "Rock The Bells" lineup and also performing at the NXNE music festival in Canada. He is currently working on a project with members of popular rock act Weezer and country musician Alan Jackson titled I Work for the Man, to be released some time in 2010.

Discography

Year Title Chart positions[8][9] RIAA
certifications[10]
Billboard 200 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Top Rap Albums
1991 Words from the Genius - - - -
1995 Liquid Swords 9 2 - Platinum
1999 Beneath the Surface
  • Released: June 29, 1999
  • Label: MCA Records
9 1 1 Platinum
2002 Legend of the Liquid Sword
  • Released: December 10, 2002
  • Label: MCA Records
75 21 8 Gold
2005 GrandMasters (with DJ Muggs)
  • Released: October 25, 2005
  • Label: Angeles Records
180 69 13Z
2008 Pro Tools 52 13 100,500+

References

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ [5]
  6. ^ [6]
  7. ^ [7]
  8. ^ Billboard chartings. Accessed October 29, 2007.
  9. ^ UK Album chartings. Accessed November 10, 2007.
  10. ^ Searchable Database. RIAA. Accessed November 27, 2008.

External links








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