"It has great songs, it's not an ignorant album, it doesn't sound dated. If you listen to it and compare it to what's out now, it's timeless. I think artists should really write more. People say Wu-Tang makes you think too much. What's wrong with thinking? A lot of dudes write these street tales and they're so gory, 'cause they think gory is visual ... they're so literal, and so street level. You know, like crack spots and whatever. I wanted to write something and take it to a level where nobody's done it. "Cold World" was done in RZA's house, in his basement in Staten Island. I remember being there, and some of the beats were running for like two days nonstop. 'Cold World' was one of them. Lyrically, it's not my best work. Not at all. But the chemistry? Production? Overall, I mean, c'mon! RZA's atmospheric production? Yes. It's my best album."
Though the album was credited to GZA alone, there are numerous guest appearances from the entire Wu-Tang Clan, like all their earlier solo albums. Liquid Swords is characteristic of the Wu-Tang Clan in its minimalist, menacing and ominous beats by producer RZA, and its cinematic themes relating to Asian cinema, particularly Samurai cinema. GZA also explores many motifs and themes, such as chess, crime and philosophy. The album begins with a monologue from a little boy; his monologue, and many of the other vocal samples scattered throughout the album, are from the cult film Shogun Assassin. These samples, along with eerie beats gives Liquid Swords a distinctive sound, proving influential to many subsequent East Coast hip hop artists.
The public and critical reception of Wu-Tang was so positive and pervasive that the album's marketing campaign for its November 1995 release read "Finally...In the Year of the Wu" to commemorate an astounding year-long run of hit Wu-Tang Clan solo albums.
In 1998, Liquid Swords was named as one of rap magazine The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums.
Chris Rock ranked Liquid Swords 13th on his list of the Top 25 Hip-Hop Albums ever , but in one of his concerts, he said that is one of his top 3 favorite albums.
The album was performed in its entirety on July 13, 2007 at the Pitchfork Music Festival and again in England, on December 9 at All Tomorrow's Parties and on December 10 at KOKO (venue) in London, as part of the ATP-curated Don't Look Back series. After the cancellation of an appearance in Brooklyn, New York, the performance was rescheduled for December 13 and 14 at the Knitting Factory in New York.
|2||"Duel of the Iron Mic"||4:06||
|3||"Living in the World Today"||4:23||
|9||"Hell's Wind Staff/Killah Hills 10304"||5:09|
|12||"I Gotcha Back"||5:01||
|13*||"B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)"||4:33||
An asterisk (*) indicates a track originally omitted from the vinyl version, but present on the reissue and the CD.
|Billboard 200||Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums|
|Billboard Hot 100||Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks||Hot Rap Singles||Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales|
|1994||"I Gotcha Back"||-||-||#29||#39|