Song of the Week: GZA – “Fame” + “Stay In Line” (feat. Santi White)


There’s always a bit of personal story behind each one of my choices for SOTW and today will be no different. So when I was but a young pup back in year 8 in high school a friend of mine burnt me a copy of GZA’s Legend of the Liquid Sword (Yep, this was a time when at least one person actually purchased a CD and made copies for their friends). I would play this album from start to finish everyday after school. Now I won’t pretend that I was one of these brilliant teenagers that was switched on to every point The Genius made. But I did really dig the beats and the fact I was listening to something I didn’t normally partake in (I was mostly bumping albums by West Coast artists like Cube and Xzibit at this time).

The metaphors and similes of “Fame” I did appreciate though. I didn’t know every celebrity he was name checking but those lyrics blew my mind back then and continue to do the same today. The beat by Q-Base is amazing followed by that Premo inspired chorus. But for everyone that knows this song will tell you, the wordplay is unbelievable. I mean un-the-fucking-believable! (Chris Rock voice)

If you aren’t convinced to press the play button on the video below here’s a small sample of what you’d hear:

Linda Tripped for tryna to walk in Lauryn’s Hills
Water dripped outta Farrah’s Fawcett in the glass
She was “Superfly”, Curtis Mayfield her ass
Chris Tucker to a show, Ted Turner to a ho
Robert Diggs the beat, but ain’t feelin the flow
But he signed it fast, for half of Johnny’s Cash
Nia Longed for the album to drop, cameras flashed
Tom Sawyer at the Lucielle Ball up at the foyer
He confronted Richard Pryor to hiring his lawyer
Suge’s Knight removed the rook off the board
Donna King was checked and Al Sharpton the sword

This is truly, for lack of a better word, a song written by a genius. Who thinks to tell a story of theft and murder and uses famous names to tie the string between each character? GZA does that’s who!

Just as a little bonus for the fact that I’m a lazy bastard and haven’t written one of these for ages now, I’ll put another track up by our favorite genius. Like I said Legend of the Liquid Sword was in heavy rotation at my place for a few months back in ’04. So I when I came across it online all kinds of memories were triggered for me. The track “Stay in Line” stood out to me for some reason. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but it was really familiar yet different to me all at once. After checking the song credits it finally hit me. The feature is Santi White aka Santigold. I had no idea she even existed before 2008 let alone featured on a 2002 track with a Wu-Tang member.

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section. Let me know if I got it right this week or if there’s something else I could put up next week.

Happy listening.