Liquid Swords
Liquid Swords.jpg
Studio album by Genius/GZA


November 7, 1995


June 1994 - March 1995


36 Chambers Studio
(Staten Island, New York)


Hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Hardcore hip hop, Conscious hip hop




Geffen Records / MCA


RZA (exec), 4th Disciple

GZA chronology


Words from the Genius (1991)


Beneath the Surface (1999)

Wu-Tang Clan solo chronology


Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... by Raekwon (1995)


Ironman by Ghostface Killah (1996)

Liquid Swords is the second studio album by American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member GZA, released in November 7, 1995 on Geffen Records and MCA. Recording sessions mostly took place at 36 Chambers Studio in Staten Island, New York City from June 1994 to March 1995. Production was handled predominantly by RZA with the exception of one track produced by 4th Disciple. It features guest appearances by his Wu-Tang Clan brothers: Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Killah Priest and Method Man. It is the third solo Wu-Tang Clan member album following the release of their 1993 album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

The album heavily samples dialogue from the martial arts film Shogun Assassin and maintains a dark atmosphere throughout its course, while it incorporates lyrical references to chess, crime and philosophy. Liquid Swords features numerous guest appearances from the entire nine piece Wu-Tang Clan.

Upon its release, Liquid Swords peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200, and #2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It was certified gold in sales by the RIAA in 1996. The album initially received favorable critical reviews for its lyrical complexity and hypnotic musical style. Over the years, its recognition has grown, with a number of publishers naming it as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. Along with Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... by Raekwon, it is often cited as the best solo work by a Wu-Tang member.

Liquid Swords spawned the singles: "I Gotcha Back", "Labels", "Cold World", "Shadowboxing" and the title track "Liquid Swords".

Track listing[edit | edit source]

No. Title Performer(s) Writer(s) Producer(s) Time
1. "Liquid Swords" GZA Brigati, Cavaliere, Diggs, Grice RZA 4:31
2. "Duel of the Iron Mic" GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Dreddy Kruger, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa Diggs, Grice, Magidson, Wrubel RZA 4:06
3. "Living in the World Today" GZA Diggs, Grice RZA 4:23
4. "Gold" GZA Diggs, Grice RZA 3:57
5. "Cold World" GZA, Inspectah Deck DeBarge, Diggs, Grice, Hunter, Wonder RZA 5:31
6. "Labels" GZA Diggs, Grice RZA 2:54
7. "4th Chamber" GZA, Ghostface Killah, RZA, Killah Priest Coles, Diggs, Grice, Reed RZA 4:37
8. "Shadowboxin'" GZA, Method Man Diggs, Grice, Smith RZA 3:30
9. "Hell's Wind Staff / Killah Hills 10304" GZA, Killah Priest, Dreddy Kruger, Masta Killa Diggs, Grice RZA 5:09
10. "Investigative Reports" GZA, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, U-God Coles, Diggs, Grice, Hawkins, Woods RZA 3:50
11. "Swordsman" GZA Diggs, Grice, Reed RZA 3:21
12. "I Gotcha Back" GZA Diggs, Grice RZA 5:01
13. "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth" Killah Priest Bogart, Reed 4th Disciple 4:33

Samples[edit | edit source]

Liquid Swords

  • "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and "Groovin'" by Willie Mitchell
  • "The Legend of Lone Wolf from Shogun Assassin

Duel of the Iron Mic

  • "I'm Afraid the Masquerade Is Over" by David Porter

Living In the World Today"

  • "I'm His Wife (You're Just a Friend)" by Ann Sexton


  • "Aries" by Cannonball Adderley and Nat Adderley Sextet
  • "Mongoose" by Elephant's Memory
  • "Meadowland" by Stanley Black

Cold World

  • "Rocket Love" by Stevie Wonder
  • "Plastic People" by The Mothers of Invention
  • "In The Rain" by The Dramatics


  • "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Thelma Houston

4th Chamber

  • "Dharmatma Theme Music (Sad)" by Kalyanji Anandji


  • "Trouble, Heartaches and Sadness" by Ann Peebles

Hell's Wind Staff/Killah Hills 10304

  • "Soul Vibrations" by Dorothy Ashby

Investigative Reports

  • "I'd Be So Happy" by Three Dog Night

I Gotcha Back

  • "As Long as I've Got You" by The Charmels
  • "Red Alert" by The 45 King
  • "Is It Him or Me" by Jackie Jackson

B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)

  • "Our Love Has Died" by Ohio Players
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