The Genius

Words from the Genius

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Originally released by Cold Chillin' in 1991, Words from the Genius set the stage for the emergence of the Wu-Tang Clan two years later, with the revolutionary Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). There's a huge gulf between Words from the Genius and Enter the Wu-Tang, however, as well as from GZA's successive solo album, Liquid Swords (1995). The most noticeable difference between this album and those is the production. Credited primarily to Easy Mo Bee (billed here as EZ-Mo-Bee), who had previously worked with Big Daddy Kane on It's a Big Daddy Thing (1989) and who would go on to work with the Notorious B.I.G. on Ready to Die (1994), not to mention a long list of credits that also includes Miles Davis as well as 2Pac, the production of Words from the Genius is fairly typical of golden age Cold Chillin'; that is, it's above average and classic-sounding, but pales in comparison to the dark, cinematic beatscapes of RZA, the mastermind behind all the early Wu-Tang beats. Interestingly, RZA (billed here as Prince Rakeem) does show up on Words from the Genius, trading off rhymes with GZA on "Pass the Bone." Neither RZA nor GZA rap as sharply as they would years later; in fact, they sound young and unpolished here, if eager and showcasing signs of promise. More than anything, Words from the Genius is a novelty: Wu-Tang aficionados surely will find the raps curious, especially the aforementioned RZA collabo, "Pass the Bone," and Cold Chillin' disciples will enjoy this seldom-heard entry in the influential label's long out of print catalog. But beyond its novel aspects, Words from the Genius deserves little more than footnote status in the Wu-Tang canon. It's merely a seedling from which a bounty of fruit would blossom, beginning in late 1993 with Enter the Wu-Tang.

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