GZA the genius is well known for his metaphorical mastery of rap lyrics. Born in Brooklyn, New York (otherwise known as Shaolin) he started MCing with his cousins Russel Jones, and Robert Diggs (otherwise known as ODB and the RZA respectively ) in the late 80's. They called their group All In Together Now. After some creative differences with various record labels, they decided to call everything off and make a new group that would forever change the course of hip hop, and thus, the Wu Tang dynasty would be created. With the GZA, RZA and ODB as the headliners of the group, they brought in other members such as Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef , U-God, Ghostface Killah, and Method Man. GZA explained that he received his name from the sound a Vinyl record makes when you scratch the word genius.
Enter the 36th Chamber
So, with these members assembled, they created their first album, "Enter the Wu Tang (36 chambers)", named after the movie "Enter the 36th Chamber of Shaolin" in which Gordon Liu stars as a monk that quickly climbs the chambers and stands out as a highly motivated scholar. He is then given the task to head back to any of the 35 chambers of shaolin. He is chosen to pick any but the 35th, since his skills have not yet been brought to the level of said chamber. He takes some time to answer and comes up with the idea to create a new 36th chamber in which he is to teach the shaolin style to outsiders. The head abbot appears to be against this idea, however he must appear this way to follow the code, underneath, he agrees with this idea, but comes to the conclusion that the only way for him to make it happen is to kick him out of the temple until he decides it neccesary to bring him back, hoping that during this period he will do just as he intended. At the end of the movie it shows him teaching willing students the way of the shaolin. So the metaphor for the album name was to spread the lyrical mastery of the Wu Tang to the people instead of just to each other in a basement.
The album received a lot of critical acclaim and achieved platinum success. While the album was produced by the RZA, the GZA was considered to be the best performing artist on the album, and was one of the two members to have a solo song on the album (Clan in Da Front).
In 1995 GZA came back to the spotlight with a solo album called "Liquid Swords". The name of course being a metaphor for how his lyrics flow like water and are as sharp as a sword. The album was a critical success and proved to the world that not only was the Wu-Tang Clan excellent as a group, but after a long streak of solo albums (all produced by the RZA) by all of the Wu Tang members, that they were also each excellent solo artists. To keep with the mystical Kung Fu setting of their group, lots of sound clips are embedded in the album from a movie called "Shogun Assasin". The beginning monologue is almost heard in it's entirety on the album's intro.
Wu Tang: Shaolin Style
In late 1999 the GZA along with the other Wu Tang members was digitized into the game Wu Tang: Shaolin Style, a fairly poor fighting game which featured different fighting styles for each clan member.
The Music of GZA
1995 - Liquid Swords
1999 - Beneath the Surface
2002 - Legend of the Liquid Sword
2008 - Pro Tools
With DJ Muggs
2005 - GrandMasters
2007 - GrandMasters Remix Album
With Wu-Tang Clan
1993 - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
1997 - Wu-Tang Forever
2000 - The W
2001 - Iron Flag
2007 - 8 Diagrams