Release Date: 06.30.99
Record label: MCA Records
Genre(s): Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.
GZA Not Quite a Genius
by: tom reiter
Just when people are startin' to think the Wu Saga is coming to an end, on of the most influential Wu members drops his sophomore LP. The GZA/Genius' last effort was the highly successfull Liquid Swords.
Featuring a slew of Clan members, mostly from other groups than the original Wu Tang Clan, Beneath the Surface doesn't pack any suprises. The GZA has always been known for his intellectual lyrics, which is still the case on Beneath the Surface. However, the samples are lighter and not as creative, but they do manage to maintain the "patented" Wu sound, as is evident in "High Price, Small Reward" and "Hip Hop Fury."
The GZA breaks things up between songs with a series of thought provoking skits, masked as commercials or news casts, that are meant to bring out specific issues that inner city people face regularly.
The album seems to have a more depressing demeanor than Liquid Swords, with "Stringplay (Like This, Like That)," which features Method Man, being one of the more exciting tracks.
Definitely not as infuential or impacting as Liquid Swords' was, which this isn't uncommon for artists on their second LP, but still worth giving at least a listen. Beneath the Surface earns a 2.5.