April 8, 2007

The Genius - Words From The Genius (February 19, 1991)

Most Wu freaks know that The Genius (a/k/a The Gza, real name Gary Grice) actually released an album before becoming part of the Wu-Tang Clan. Words From The Genius, distributed by Cold Chillin' Records, sold absolutely zero copies, due mainly to a lack of promotion (I gather it's because a rapper like The Genius, someone who doesn't rap about random bullshit, wasn't the easiest sell to a public that liked to dance). In 1994, after The Rza formed the Wu-Tang Clan with his cousin The Genius as a main general (and his other cousin Ol' Dirty Bastard as the court jester), Cold Chillin' decided to capitalize on the new found fame by re-releasing this album with a previously unreleased track produced by Prince Rakeem (as The Rza was known by back in the day).

I guess you can't blame a record company for trying to make money.

Well, you could; don't let me take that right away from you.

Anyway, the rerelease is the version that I own, so that's the review everyone gets today. The original version only has one song that was left off of the re-re; "Come Do Me", which was some bizarre hip-house attempt at a sex rap by a guy known primarily for using chess as a metaphor for life. I have that song elsewhere; trust me, you're not missing anything.

1. PASS THE BONE (FEAT PRINCE RAKEEM A/K/A THE RZA)
It makes sense that the label would put this out only after people realized that The Rza was a fucking genius and The Genius was brilliant with his rhymes. This song is good but not great; The Rza makes a comment about achieving "mad success" in his attempts to sleep with some chick while stoned; it reminded me of Borat for some reason, so it gets a thumbs up.

2. LIFE OF A DRUG DEALER
The most impressive thing about this project is that The Genius's voice and delivery is exactly the same as it was when the Clan formed. He could probably reuse all of these rhymes today and it would sell copies, as long as the Rza did all of the beats.

3. THE GENIUS IS SLAMMIN'
Yeah, you can tell this set is dated just from the title alone. Fresh, eh?

4. THOSE WERE THE DAYS
A lot of this review will focus on the horrible, horrible beats that The Genius was supplied with. The lyrics themselves are okay; it's as if Gza suffered from an early form of Ras Kass syndrome early on in his career, and The Rza delivered The Cure. (Anyone get that joke? Anyone?) (cues crickets)

5. WHAT ARE SILLY GIRLS MADE OF
Sly social commentary masquerading as...oh, who the fuck am I kidding.

6. LIVING FOUL
Easy Mo Bee (from Biggie's Ready To Die fame) produced the majority of this album. So why do the beats suck so goddamn much?

7. DRAMA
This beat is actually pretty great. Wouldn't sound out of place on Liquid Swords, except for the whole "lack of Rza" thing.

8. WORDS FROM A GENIUS
Not really sure how he came up with the title...it was on the tip of my tongue...

9. WHO'S YOUR RHYMIN' HERO
When the Clan first started, I always considered the Gza to be the best in the group, and I'm sure many other Wu fans will agree with me. (Nowadays, it would have to be Ghostface.)

10. PHONY AS YOU WANNA BE
No comment.

11. STOP THE NONSENSE
By ejecting this CD. Seriously.

12. SUPERFREAK
Never thought I'd hear a Gza song start off with a fake orgasm. Guess my life is complete now. Le sigh...

13. STAY OUT OF BARS
Truthfully, being buzzed has been proven to make this album sound better. Also weed. Lots of weed would make this album sound fantastic.

14. TRUE FRESH M.C.
Great Odin's Beard, this song sucks.

15. FEEL THE PAIN
He actually refers to himself as The Gza on this song, though, so that counts for something, right? Wrong answer.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I've read some reviews on the forum at WutangCorp.com, which is made up of fans who believe that The Wu can do no wrong. I'm here to tell you that Words From The Genius sucked in 1991, sucked in 1994, and still sucks today. And I say that even though Gza is in my top ten lyrically. I am thankful that The Genius got a second chance with the Wu and didn't fuck it up; as I wrote earlier, the lyrics are alright, but the beats here are, for the most part, ear-bleedingly awful. (Side note: Cold Chillin' for some ungodly reason, re-released this album a second time in 2006, probably to deceive all of the Wu fans they missed back in '94. The re-re-re contains both "Come Do Me" and its replacement "Pass The Bone", along with another vaulted Rza production, "Words From A Genius (Prince Rakeem Mix)". Trust me, you're still not missing anything.)

BUY OR BURN? There's no way in hell I could condone your purchase of this shit. I choose to believe that The Genius's true debut was Liquid Swords, his first Wu solo, which is in my top ten of best hip hop albums ever made. This are why people post rare albums on blogs in the first place: so you can download and listen to it without investing much of your money or time. And I would only download it if you absolutely have to own all things Wu (which means, if you're like me, you fucked up and already have this album anyway).

BEST TRACKS: "Pass The Bone"; "Drama"

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
Method Man - Tical
Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

5 comments:

  1. I hear ya on this...lol, i copped this after giving Liquid Swords priority on my decks and was hugely dissappointed, but he seemed to have made this album when many were following a sad route into RnB, so who couldn't forgive him??...He was still my favorite rapper at the time its just that this album was quickly put to the back of the collection..

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  2. AnonymousJuly 19, 2009

    yeah Liquid Swords was destined to be his best album of all time, this album is ok but nothing compared to L.S

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  3. Come Do Me is hilarious in the fact that they actually made a video for it. YouTube it, it's pretty funny especially the fact that I think ODB is dancing when they're at the club scenes.

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  4. Terrible, terrible album. I got this a bit after LS dropped and hadn't thought about it until I stumbled across the Come Do Me vid on youtube, which is a massive guilty pleasure. There's just something funny about the disconnect between hearing the "picture bloodbaths in elevator shafts" guy squinting into the camera and shouting "Come do me!". So bad it's good, unlike the just bad pre-Reasonable Doubt Jay-Z of I can't get with that. Not so bad, but not really worthy of repeat listens are the early scythe wielding Havoc and Prodigy of Peer Pressure and Hit it from the back (Which was whose favorite song of all time?). Ultimate guilty pleasure though is Oooh we love you Rakeem. Things could have been very different indeed.

    What if Easy Mo Bee had come up with the Flava in your Ear beat a few years early and given it to the Genius?

    Anyway, does anyone know of any other pre-fame or pre-quality vids of rappers?

    Paaaaaaaaaaace

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  5. I actually think this album is OK. No lie. Of course, I delete all the radio-friendly tracks where he talks about women. GZA has more important shit to deal with, such as tell you how much of a better MC he is than you.

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