Monday, December 7, 2009

AfterHours with GZA

On November 23, 2009, I got to an experience an intimate show performed by GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan at AfterHours, a Northeastern University venue. One of the better and more prolific artists to grace the stage at AfterHours, GZA was paired with Break Science, comprised of a DJ with live drum and bass, providing the backdrop to his slick rhythms. The show started late because GZA hadn't even shown up until the moment he took the stage at around 11. He began slowly and had a few miscues with the band which was to be expected since he just got there and didn't have any time to set up. As the show progressed, he began mustering up speed and enthusiasm. At first he looked a bit perplexed performing in front of a crowd of predominately white college students but as the show went on, it seemed as though he realized he had some true hardcore fans in attendance.

The crowd began feeling the performance forming W's with their hands and bobbing their heads along to "4th Chamber" and "Shadowboxin'" from his immortal Liquid Swords album. "Why would you want to hear me make some shit up from my head?" GZA responded to cries for a freestyle stating "I put thought into my lyrics." Succumbing to requests from the crowd, he then began to spit an impressive freestyle narrative displaying his flair for lyrical wordplay. At this moment, he was starting to feel the love from the crowd was even shouting verses back and forth with people in the audience. The set covered a surprising range of tracks from the entire Wu catalog and even contained songs I would never have expected such as "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and "Reunited". GZA finished with unbridled energy performing my favorite Wu track "Triumph" and ended the night with everyone impressed by his hip-hip prowess. Below is a video I found from the show:

If you need further proof that the man possesses some serious skill when it comes to maneuvering through the English language, stream GZA's extremely underrated 2008 release Pro Tools below.

GZAPro Tools

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