GZA’s legendary record “Liquid Swords” belongs alongside the classics like Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” and Joyce’s “Ulysses” — but unlike those other works of literary genius, there’s a good chance you’ll actually make it through this one.
At least that’s the case when the emcee known as the Genius comes to Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 14.
The decision of the Wu Tang Clan’s spiritual leader to perform his 1995 masterpiece in its entirety comes out of a growing recognition of hip-hop’s intellectual credibility according to Mahbod Moghadam, one of the founders of RapGenius.com, a site committed to analyzing hip-hop as genuine art — and its headquarters is on Kent Avenue, just a few blocks from the venue.
“Everyone right now is getting into the academic work of analyzing rap lyrics as poetry,” says Mahbod Moghadam, himself a rapper. “It’s not just entertainment, it’s literature. The only difference is it’s something people care about.”
Moghadam points out GZA’s references to everything from hip-hop history to the Bible (or B.I.B.L.E.) to Brooklyn streets to the Wu’s own discography as evidence of the depth and intelligence of “Liquid Swords,” which is considered one of the greatest albums of the genre — or of any genre.
“Everything that Wu Tang has ever put out is lyrically sophisticated, but ‘Liquid Swords’ is at a whole other level,” Moghadam says. “It’s foundational, it’s one of the most classic rap albums in history.”
And Moghadam believes Music Hall of Williamsburg is the perfect venue for appreciating GZA’s gifts.
“It’s a great venue for hip-hop because acoustics are such that you can actually hear the lyrics, as opposed to other venues,” Moghadam says.
All the better to benefit from the Genius’s research — feel the joy and the hurt.
GZA at Music Hall of Williamsburg [66 North Sixth Street between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg. (718) 486–5400.] June 14, 11 pm. $34.75.