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Wu-Tang’s GZA at Fortune Sound Club (Live) [Photos/Review]

Vancouver, B.C. – It may be a cold world, but the prolific Genius aka GZA gave this city a little heat last night. GZA’s muted flows and clipped lyricism dominated the crowd, weaving tales in and among the throngs.


Of course, let’s not forget who got that crowd warmed up: DJ Seko was hard at work on the tables for much of the night, keeping the enthusiasts happy. JayKin treated us to some tales of his own – “Japan Love,” and “Get It In” were well received, and Son Real came out to accompany his pal for a minute as well.

But of course it was the shouts of “Wu-Tang” – that one inevitably hears when a bunch of hip-hop heads are drinking PBRs in a tight space – that was the true barometer for where the evening would lead. GZA took his sweet time tho – over an hour after the opening act and he was still nowhere to be found. Anticipation built and rowdies got rowdier.

And then, when it seemed like the night would go on forever, the Genius emerged, breaking into 36 chambers like he was the whole crew manifest. There followed a lot of chanting – “roll that shit, light that shit, smoke it” – that one might expect at any Vancouver hip-hop show, and then straight into the chilling beat of “Cold World.” Of course “Liquid Swords,” the unofficial GZA anthem, got everybody pretty riled up, and why not? Within those words exist a foundational narrative to the Wu-Tang – “When the MCs came,/ to live out their name…”

GZA’s a great performer because he commands a god-like presence on the stage. The words he spits are not empty, but he’s also not boring. He managed to hit all the greats – like “Shadowboxing” and “I Gotcha Back” – which are normally collaborations, but it never felt like the songs were half missing. Songs like “Animal Planet” and “Breaker Breaker,” which are solo joints, were tucked in among the Wu chants, but seamlessly so. It would have actually been nice to hear a few more strictly GZA jams, maybe some more Pro Tools, but it’s important to hype the crowd so each C.R.E.A.M incantation and “It’s Wu muthafuckas” was in a way mandatory.

So as a myriad upwardly-mobile Ws came into view, it was apparent that GZA is not only loved and respected as an individual artist, but that he’s an inseparable part of an entire artistic Wu movement.

Written by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada
Photography by Tyler Simpson for HipHopCanada

Photography by Tyler Simpson



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  1. Curtis Marta

    The show did start late… I was disappointed because I had to leave just 20 minutes into his set so I wouldn’t miss the last bus. I enjoyed hearing him, but I was certainly not satisfied paying to see far less than I expected.

  2. Solution

    “GZA is a little unfocused after the show; there’s a lot going on backstage and many people want his attention”

    I went to the GZA’s show in Barrie, ON, back in the winter of 2009. He was one one of those emcee’s I always wanted to see live, but never got around to it. I drove up in a snow storm if that is any indication as to how jacked up I was for this concert. It seems focus is something the Genius is lacking these days. He spent his entire time on stage with his back to the crowd, half mumbling his words. It was the most pitiful performance I had ever witnessed. He was mostly going through his Liquid Swords catalog. In fact I was looking forwards to GZA doing his classic album. I coped that album the day it dropped. If he only did that alone I would of been satisfied, if it were not for the fact he slept-walked through the entire show. It was as if he didn’t care to be there. I don’t know if he was drunk, or high, but it seemed as though he had lost his passion. Perhaps he thought Barrie wasn’t a big enough market to matter. If it were not for D-sisive opening for him it would had been an entire waste. It was such a disappointment. The Rakim concert back in 97 was better and the god didn’t even show.

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