Album Review | The Genius (GZA) – Words From The Genius

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Words From The Genius is the debut album by GZA, who was going by the stage name “The Genius” at the time. It was released on February 19th in 1991, and is known for being the first album from any of the Wu-Tang Clan members. It’s also one of only two projects released by a Wu-Tang Clan member before the groups formation. I guess I’ll be formally announcing the Wu-Tang Clan Marathon here. This is probably going to be the biggest Marathon I do. I’m not only doing all of the albums that they did as a group, but also all of their solo albums, compilations, EPs, mixtapes and soundtracks. That’s over 100 projects, so if I ever do finish this marathon (unlikely), it probably won’t be for another 5-7 years. Anyway, from what I understand, this album was released with an unfortunate lack of promotion, so it didn’t sell very much. I doubt that has anything to do with the quality tho, so I’m looking forward to this. It’s definitely not considered a classic album, but I still think it’s gonna be decent. I’ve said this before I think, but I’ll repeat myself here just to make sure everyone reading this knows my background with this Wu-Tang shit. I’m only 17 and I didn’t really get into Hip Hop until I was about 13, so I haven’t heard a lot of classic albums. The only Wu-Tang records I’ve heard are A Better Tomorrow, Sour Soul, F.I.L.A. and 36 Seasons. So yeah. This should be fun. I’m excited for this marathon.

Track 1: Come Do Me (Prod. Jesse West)

Come Do me

Wow. You know, I’m excited for this marathon, but I have a really bad feeling about this song. I mean, just look at that song cover. That doesn’t look good at all. Okay, the song’s starting now. Yeah… This is definitely isn’t Wu-Tang… The production sounds kinda funk inspired. It makes me think of a bunch of guys with gumby haircuts wearing sequin suits like the World Class Wreckin’ Cru. Yeah, I can already tell that I’m not really gonna be feeln’ this shit. It’s not even the outdated sound of the song tho. I just don’t really like songs about shit like this. GZA’s just recalling a conversation that he had with some chick that he smashed at a party. He sounds good on the beat and I guess he’s doin’ a good job telling the story, but the actual content just isn’t very interesting. The beat itself doesn’t really stand out in any kinda way. I’m definitely not feelin’ this hook. It’s just women singing “Guuuuuuuuurl, come do me.” His flow is cool, but it’s not really anything special. It’s not like he has any lines that are really stupid or anything; it’s just not my kinda song. I’m not feelin’ this. Lemme see this music video. Hahahahaha.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 8.41.41 PM

I’m sure this song wouldn’t have been considered that bad at the time of release, but it really didn’t age very well. Most old club records from the late 80s to early 90s seem to be that way tho. This kinda shit just doesn’t interest me at all. I do like how he seemed to be pretty respectful of this chick even tho he’s just tryna have sex with her, or as my Theology teacher would say “make love to her.” Hahahahaha. “So you see right there I desire you / I’m not a pimp and I don’t want to hire you ’cause that’s not what The Genius is about / Let my love slide in and never slip out.” That was pretty refreshing, but I’m still just not really feelin’ this. 2/5

Track 2: Phony As Ya Wanna Be (Prod. Easy Mo Bee)

That was a pretty bad way to start the Wu-Tang Marathon. Hopefully shit gets better soon. I’m not feelin’ this beat. It’s a lot less poppy and mainstream sounding than that of the previous track, but it’s still not the grimy shit that you would get from the RZA or anything like that. He’s explaining why he’s a dope MC. This is definitely more appealing to me than the last track. These bars aren’t insane or anything, but they’re definitely not bad. He’s threatening any MCs that try to battle him. “Feeling uncomfortable then loosen your belt / Once The Genius gets heated up suckers will melt / Then after ya melt you start dripping like water / Then you can say this was a Goddamn slaughter.” This isn’t really good sonically, but I enjoyed his actual verses. The production just wasn’t very good. I kinda enjoyed it. Not that damn much tho. It was alright. 3/5

Track 3: True Fresh MC (Prod. Easy Mo Bee)

This beat still isn’t that good. It’s not bad tho. The production is definitely getting better. This hook is nothing special. It does its job. Man. I just listened to the whole song. I just can’t get into this shit. The production isn’t bad, but it really doesn’t stand out at all. The verses are good. Not great. Definitely not bad, but just sufficient. It’s no better than most of the other shit you would’ve heard in the really early 90s. This might sound a little harsh, but I think I’m starting to see why this album didn’t sell very well. It’s really not that bad so far. It’s just not very good. It doesn’t sound revolutionary or formative or influential at all. It sounds like a Hip Hop album from 1991. It doesn’t stand out at all. This is average. 3/5

Track 4: The Genius Is Slammin’ (Prod. Easy Mo Bee)

This beat is definitely better than the other ones. It’s not amazing, but if you have an open mind towards this song you could get into it I guess. The first verse was cool. The hook is alright. It’s just him sayin’ “I’m slammin’.” It’s nothing special, but it works. I just listened to the second and third verses and he actually kinda went in on this song. The only thing that really holds this one back is the production, but I still like the song. It’s dope. Thank God. I thought this whole album was gonna be boring as fuck. Not that this was the most exciting song, but at least it was above average. 4/5

Track 5: Words From A Genius (Prod. Easy Mo Bee)

This beat is actually kinda dope. It’s still not great, but I think it’s above average. GZA starts goin’ in as soon as the track starts. It’s pretty similar to the last track in terms of lyrics. He’s saying that he’s the greatest rapper. He’s doin’ his thing. These scratches on the hook are actually really dope. Damn. He actually kinda went in on that second verse. I mean, it’s not like he wasn’t rapping well already, but that verse was just great. His flow and delivery were aggressive. He just kept spittin’. It was dope. That last verse was dope too. This easily the best song on the album so far. It’s not amazing or anything, but it’s dope. The beat was cool, the hook was great, and GZA was spittin’. I fuck with this. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 6: Who’s Your Rhymin’ Hero? (Prod. Patrick Harvey)

This beat’s alright. I don’t think it’s bad. It’s just not that good. GZA’s rapping about bein’ a dope MC again. The first verse was cool. I actually kinda fuck with the hook. I mean, I don’t know how I feel about the girls chanting “Go, Genius,” but the beat actually sounds pretty good during that part. I was fine with the second verse until he said “Bustin up witches / Yo I give stitches / Super-suckin-fuckin-lickin-some-sexy-scali bitches.” That’s the only really bad line in the verse… But it’s so bad. That shit damn near ruined the whole verse from me. The lyrics are so awkward. They didn’t even really flow together well. The rest of the verse is pretty good tho. I guess. I don’t know. I kind of enjoyed this song, but I don’t think I’d ever want to come back to this. It was cool. I just don’t really like it that much. It’s okay. 3/5

Track 7: Feel The Pain (Prod. Easy Mo Bee)

This beat is nothing special. It doesn’t stand out at all. It’s a generic old school beat. GZA’s goin’ in now. On all of these songs you can tell that he’s not a fully seasoned MC. He almost sounds amateurish. It sounds like he’s not really sure what he’s doing. Not that he couldn’t rap, but you can definitely tell that he hadn’t found his sound yet at this point. This beat kinda sucks. Same goes for the hook. The hook is pretty bad. GZA did his thing on the verses I guess. They’re not bad, but they don’t stand out at all. It’s more of the same shit I’ve been getting on the previous handful of tracks. Nothing stands out about this one. It’s boring. I’m not feelin’ it. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 8: Those Were The Days (Prod. Easy Mo Bee)

This beat is better than that of the last song. It’s still not that good tho. At least he’s rapping about something different on this track. It’s kinda corny, but I guess some people might like it. He’s rapping about rapping to his classmates in 8th grade. It’s not that interesting of a topic, but at least it’s unique. I guess. It kinda seems like he was more concerned with the idea of being a great MC with a lot of fans than actually taking time to write good songs. This hook isn’t doin’ much for me. His flow was kinda cool on the last verse, but other than that this one really isn’t doing anything for me. I’m not feelin’ this one. 2/5

Track 9: Life Of A Drug Dealer (Prod. Easy Mo Bee)

Okay, this should be interesting. For the most part, all of the songs so far have been pretty innocent and light hearted, so it should be interesting to hear him rhyme about a darker topic. This beat’s kinda cool I guess. It’s kinda jazzy. If you didn’t speak English and you didn’t understand the lyrics, you probably wouldn’t think that this song was about something dark from the beat and the overall way that it sounds. Oh. Wow. I should’ve known from the beginning that he was just gonna glorify drug dealing. “It feels good to be paid / Regardless of how many victims get slayed.” That’s pretty fucked up. Not as bad as a lot of the Drill Music that’s out there today, but still. “Get shot up, brutalized and thrown in lakes / The parts of a body is found days later / The other half was done by an amputator.” Jesus. This doesn’t even sound like an aggressive track. Sonically, it sounds just as light hearted and fun as the other tracks. Lyrically tho… “I’ll set ya own mother on fire.” You know what’s weird? This really reminds me a lot of Trap & Drill Music today. I mean, the rhymes aren’t nearly as simplistic and are much more thought out than a Gucci Mane or Chief Keef song, but the shit he’s talking about is pretty much the same… “Decapitated bodies found in lots / While I’m still cooking up kilos in pots / The kilos becomes bricks and the bricks becomes rocks / Then retailed on the blocks.” I mean, if you’re really into Gangsta Rap you might like this. I consider myself to be a fan of Gangsta Rap, but this didn’t do much for me. It’s not that the rhymes bothered me; I actually kinda liked the way he finished the song. I just think it’s very boring sonically. It’s not bad. It just isn’t very good to me. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 10: Stop The Nonsense (Prod. Easy Mo Bee)

This beat is pretty bad. It’s just boring as hell. Wow. He’s actually kinda talkin’ about some real shit on this song. I mean, it’s preachy as hell, but it’s dope. He’s basically condemning drug dealers. It’s pretty much the polar opposite of the previous track. “Children can’t play in the parks and things / Because a stray bullet might be headed for the swings / You never though about that, oh I guess not / All you thought about was owning your own spot.” I guess the content of this song was pretty cool, but it’s not really entertaining. I don’t think I would ever want to hear this song again. It’s not really bad. It’s just not sonically pleasing. The shit he’s saying isn’t super deep or anything. He’s basically just saying “drug dealing is harmful to your community.” The song has pretty much no replay value. The beat does absolutely nothing for me. I don’t really think it’s a bad song. I just wouldn’t ever wanna hear this again. It’s alright. I guess. 3/5

Track 11: Living Foul (Prod. Easy Mo Bee)

This beat isn’t good. GZA’s rapping about raising children in poor environments. This isn’t good. I mean, it’s cool that he’s trying to talk about some real shit, but it’s not a very well written song. His flow is a lot more laid back on this one than on the other tracks, and the lyrics are preachy. It just comes off corny as hell. “Now we are faced with problems, but if we come together we can solve them.” These rhymes are pretty basic. I guess that could be said about most of these songs. It’s not offensively bad. It’s nowhere near the worst shit I’ve ever heard. It’s not awful. It’s just not good at all. I just realized that damn near all of these songs have the exact same structure. He’ll spit a verse at the beginning of the song, then for the hook he’ll just say the title of the song and there’ll be some scratches or some slight variation in the production. I’m getting really bored. I’m not feelin’ this. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 12: Drama (Prod. Easy Mo Bee)

I still don’t think the production on this track is very good, but it’s at least more interesting than that of the previous few tracks. Same goes for the actual subject matter. He’s telling a story of a conversation he had with a poor 8 year old boy who lives with his brother and his baby mama. I guess that was just for the first part of the verse. The song is about being stuck in the hood. It’s still not that interesting of a song, but I like it more than the previous one. Again, I don’t think I would ever want to listen to this again, but I don’t think it’s that bad of a song. Just not very good. It still has the same structure that I mentioned during the previous track. This one doesn’t do anything for me. It’s average at best. He randomly said “Shaolin Fist Vs. The Lama” at the end of the track. Shaolin Vs. Lama was a kung-fu movie that came out in 1983. It’s pretty interesting that he would mention some shit like that, since the Wu-Tang Clan was heavily influenced by kung-fu movies and other elements of Japanese culture. It doesn’t make me like the track any more; I just thought it was kinda interesting. Kinda… 3/5

Track 13: Stay Out Of Bars (Prod. Patrick Harvey)

This beat is just as bland as the previous one. GZA’s goin’ in now. Damn. This is actually kinda interesting. He’s telling a story about how he was drunk at a bar. Oh. I guess it doesn’t sound that interesting from the way I just described it… The title of this track makes me think this is gonna be some preachy bullshit about how drinking is bad. I guess if the execution is right he might actually be able to pull it off. Oh… Oh God… What the… fuck? He’s rapping about some chick that’s masterbating in a phone booth… She’s having phone sex… I’m so uncomfortable right now. This is disgusting. “She sit back with her legs cocked in the air / While her fingers do the walking through her knotty pubic hair / Her eyes are shut tight; she moans and groans / I hit the glass, ‘Get the fuck off the phone.” What the fuck? I mean… I guess it IS interesting… I definitely wanna see where he’s going with this… It’s just kinda gross. Mostly because he said “knotty pubic hair.” Honestly, if he didn’t say that I probably wouldn’t be bothered by this at all. She’s a prostitute… This verse doesn’t really go anywhere. All he does is slut shame her. It’s thankfully not too bad. I’ve heard much worse slut shaming from current artists, so this didn’t get to me too much. I definitely could’ve done without it tho. Actually… This beat is kinda dope. Holy shit… The song just ended… This is horrible… Basically, he met a “ho bitch” in Times Square, who led him to a bar. He realized that the girl was a transexual, so he killed all of the transexual and gay people in the bar. Wow. This is horrible. I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed anything this unapologetically offensive. This is just awful. “This red bone, who thought she looked fly / rolled up on me, and she said ‘Hi‘ / That one little word fucked up the whole night / Her voice was deeper, than Barry White’s / I jumped up, and boy, did I flip / I pull out a nine and I emptied the clip.” I mean, he was definitely pushing it with the misogyny at the beginning of the track, but this shit just completely ruined it. Wow. It would’ve been horrible even if all he did was talk shit about them, but he literally just made a song where he slut shames sex workers and fantasizes about killing transexuals. This is absolutely horrible. I don’t fuck with this shit at all. Nobody should. I get that transphobia was the norm when this song was made, but that doesn’t make the song acceptable today. This shit is wack as fuck. 0/5

Track 14: What Are Silly Girls Made Of (Prod. Patrick Harvey)

This beat is pretty wack. It’s in line with all the other beats. This album is boring as fuck honestly. GZA’s goin’ in about dumb girls. This shit is fucking degrading to women. Honestly, if I was a woman I’d probably hate this song even more than I already do. GZA’s talking to these women like they’re a bunch of stupid kids that don’t have a basic education. He’s talking about how all they care about is money. It’s basically Gold Digger by Kanye West, except way less catchy and more patronizing. This is one of the few tracks with a hook. It’s wack tho. The way he has these stereotypical women talking about how they love rich guys at the end is pretty fucked up. I can’t fuck with this shit… This is wack af to me. 1/5

Track 15: Superfreak (Prod. Patrick Harvey)

Oh God… This isn’t gonna be good. It starts off with the sound of some chick getting smashed. I’m about four bars in now, and I’m pretty sure that this song is just gonna be four and half minutes of slut shaming. “I hopped on the train, and cold clocked a chick / Who looked good as hell, but she appeared to be sick / I would say she had to look as if she swallowed a worm / Then again she could’ve swallowed several ounces of sperm.” Wow. Patrick Harvey worked the sex sounds into the beat. This is so stupid. Oh. He’s just talking about how he fucked this chick. “I started dripping and dripping in consecutive terms / I know we must save water but that does not include sperm.” This definitely isn’t for me. Oh my God. This is fucking horrible. The sex sounds basically function as the hook. Now he’s talking about how she’s a whore because she didn’t know him very well before she had sex with him. That’s pretty fucked up. It’s not like he knew her anymore than she knew him. He’s just as much of a whore as she is. This is terrible. This is how he ended the album? What the fuck? Why? Alright, fuck it. I’m done with this album. This is wack af. 1/5

Track +: Pass The Bone Feat. Prince Rakeem (Prod. Prince Rakeem & The Genius)

This track wasn’t on the original release of this album, but it was included in the 1994 & 2006 rereleases. RZA was going by the name “Prince Rakeem” until the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan, so that’s who that is. I don’t know what to expect from this one… I’m just gonna start it now. Woah… RZA’s goin’ in now. His voice sounds weird. He kinda sounds like… a fuckboy. I guess that’s what he sounded like when he was really young. His voice was much higher, more nasally, and his delivery was less aggressive. It’s not a problem for me. His voice isn’t bad. You probably just wouldn’t be able to tell that it was RZA. It’s fine tho. This beat is actually kinda dope. I guess that makes sense. RZA is one of the greatest producers of all time. His verse just ended. It wasn’t anything special lyrically; he’s just talking about smokin’ weed and then bangin’ some chick that he met at a club. His flow and delivery were dope tho. I enjoyed his verse. This beat is better than any of the beats that were on the original album. GZA’s verse was actually dope. He had a lot more energy and charisma on this track than he did on any of the other songs. I guess he’s always had really good chemistry with RZA. He had the better verse in my opinion. I fuck with this song. This is better than anything that was on the actual album. I actually really enjoyed this. The drums on this track were much more hard hitting, and they made the bars stand out more. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is wack. Don’t check this album out. There’s no need to do so. Even if you’re a huge GZA fan, I don’t see how anyone could argue that this is a good album. It’s not like he was a terrible MC during this period of his career, but he wasn’t any better than most of the other MCs of his time. As I said before, you can tell that this was his first real project. It’s clear that he was new and inexperienced. It almost sounds like a demo tape. The production was pretty bad throughout the whole album. It wasn’t very cohesive at all; it’s weird that the finale was four minutes of slut shaming. It ended really abruptly. I guess slut shaming wasn’t really a problem for people in the early 90s, but that fact doesn’t make it enjoyable for me today. This album isn’t good. Wu-Tang fans don’t need to hear this shit. Just listen to the first track. There is absolutely nothing Wu-Tang about Come Do Me. The album is just boring as fuck. I can’t even remember what any of these tracks sound like. 90% of these songs have the exact same structure. It’s boring as hell. I can’t even see how a GZA or Wu-Tang stan could say that he/she loves this album. There really isn’t anything special about it. It may be interesting to hear a pre-Wu-Tang song for some people, but that still isn’t enough for people to wanna hear any of these tracks more than once. It has absolutely no replay value. It’s just not good. I’m not feelin’ this album. It’s wack to me.

Favorite Song: Words From A Genius

Least Favorite Song: Stay Out Of Bars

Verdict:

48%

WACCCKK

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