Five reasons to go see . . . The GZA
The GZA of Wu Tang approaches the Arches
He’s a genius
The Genius, to be precise. GZA, aka The Genius, (Gary Grice to his mum) is a founding member of Wu Tang Clan, along with his cousin, producer The RZA, and gravelly-voiced rap heathen Ol’ Dirty Bastard (RIP). The Clan emerged out of New York’s Staten Island in the 1990s, recruited members including Method Man, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, and went on to become the greatest combined hip hop troupe, oriental philosophy think tank and chess club of all time. GZA is credited as being the Wu’s spiritual head, and his slick lyrical style has brought him years of acclaim, both for albums such as Wu Tang’s seminal 36 Chambers, and for his solo magnum opus, Liquid Swords.
He’s making Liquid Swords II
… maybe. Work on the follow-up to the 1995 gold-selling original has been going on for some time. So long, in fact, there’s now a different record in the pipeline to fill the gap. ‘It’s coming this year, and it’s going to be amazing,’ the man himself says. ‘At this moment my pen is on fire.’
He makes being a geek look cool
Forget life in the projects, real inspiration is to be found, ‘in the library or DVD store,’ he reckons, after a recent visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When not rapping, he likes to kick back over a nice game of chess. The person he’d most like to play? ‘Kasparov.’
He’s a normal guy.
‘I’m grateful to be a regular person who does normal stuff like spend time with the family, watch TV, take the train,’ says the rapper, who famously divulged his love of herbal tea in Jim Jarmusch's Coffee & Cigarettes. ‘I don’t get treated like a hero and certainly wouldn’t want to be.’
He brings the ruckus
The smooth-as-silk, word-wrangling chess and Kung Fu-obsessed GZA of the 90s shone like few MCs before him, spearheading rap’s new wave, and making Wu-Tang the institution it is today. In hip hop's firmament, this Gary truly glitters.
The Arches, Mon 13 Feb.