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GZA/Genius Biography

GZA/Genius Tickets

GZA/Genius In-depth Biography

The Genius}, aka the GZA}, was the most cerebral MC in the Wu-Tang Clan}, as well as perhaps the most acclaimed. His cool, precise flow and intricate, literate rhymes weren't as theatrical as Method Man} or Ol' Dirty Bastard}, the two biggest commercial stars to spring from the collective. But among hip-hop} aficionados, the Genius} was revered for his flawless technique and lyrical dexterity, and was considered by many to be the best pure rapper in the entire Clan}. The Genius} was born Gary Grice} on August 22, 1966, in Staten Island, NY, and shuttled between several other New York boroughs with various relatives during his childhood. He started learning rhymes by the earliest hip-hop} MCs while spending time in the Bronx, and returned to Staten Island to share them with his cousins, who later became Ol' Dirty Bastard} and the RZA}. In fact, the three of them first teamed up in the early '80s as part of an obscure group called All in Together Now. Time passed, and the Genius} landed a recording contract with Cold Chillin'}, which, unfortunately, was nearing the end of its brilliant run. In 1991, he became the only future Wu-Tang} member to release a solo album prior to the Clan}'s formation, with Words From the Genius}. Produced mostly by Easy Mo Bee}, the album flopped badly and, creatively, did little to hint at the Genius}' future standing. Conflicts with the label sent the Genius} packing, and he reteamed with a similarly disenchanted RZA} (fresh off a failed stint with Tommy Boy}) and Ol' Dirty Bastard} to co-found the Wu-Tang Clan}. Adding six other friends and associates, the group became an underground sensation and took the rap} world by storm with its 1993 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)}. Their innovative contract allowed each member to sign a solo deal with whatever label they chose, and the Genius} wound up on Geffen}. In 1994, his first post-Wu} solo track, "I Gotcha Back,"} appeared on the soundtrack} of the film Fresh}. His second solo album, Liquid Swords}, followed in 1995 and was hailed as a hip-hop} classic thanks to its coolly understated menace. While it didn't make him a star on the level of Method Man}, the album did sell well, reaching the pop} Top Ten and falling one spot short of the top of the R&B} charts. There were no big mainstream hits, but the title cut, "Cold World,"} and "Shadowboxin'"} all did well on the rap} charts. Following the Clan}'s 1997 sophomore set, Wu-Tang Forever}, the Genius} returned to the solo arena with 1999's Beneath the Surface}. While critics didn't praise it quite as lavishly as Liquid Swords}, it was another well-received effort (especially compared to some of the lackluster follow-ups elsewhere in the Wu-Tang} camp), and it topped the R&B} album charts. After reconvening with the Wu} for 2000's The W} and 2001's Iron Flag}, the Genius} dropped his fourth solo effort, Legend of the Liquid Sword}, in late 2002, consolidating his reputation as one of the most skillful rappers around. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide

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