13/10/2019: “Cold World” by GZA

GZA, known for being one of the most intelligent members of the Wu-Tang Clan, created one of hip hop’s greatest albums with Liquid Swords, released in 1995 to critical acclaim.

When he was making the album, GZA says he knew something special was being created.

Listening to songs like this from the album, it’s easy to see why. Over an ice cold and unsettling instrumental by RZA, GZA lays out a graphic and far ranging description of the social problems in African American neighbourhoods.

The song takes inspiration from Stevie Wonder’s “Rocket Love”, with a more gangster version of the chorus (sung by Life). The main riff is sampled from “Plastic People” by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

Lyrically, the song is as cold as the name and production. The wordplay and flow are impeccable, and although the song is mainly about shooting, the wider issues of crime and punishment are dealt with well.