Wednesday, July 28, 1999

Proceed With Caution

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 1999 at 12:00 AM

GZA/Genius doesn’t appear in public very much. He seldom interviews, and laces the liner notes of his albums with one-liners that thank all and none simultaneously. His concern has always been the spoken word and how to make it cut to the artery.

You won’t dance to GZA’s second album, Beyond the Surface. You won’t throw up Ws, and you won’t be inclined to shout out your side of town as though you just saw it crossing the street. You’ll raise an eyebrow and listen to Beyond, because it’s that type of disc. It requires time, energy and patience to understand. Remember how Prince’s follow-up to Purple Rain, Around the World in A Day, was much more intriguing but much less well-received? That’s what Beyond is to GZA’s first album. It’s a student’s album, and most rap fans ain’t real students.

But if you are, boy, is this the album for you.

"I teach but still hold heat/’cause some muthafuckas are broke beyond reach."

GZA’s arrangements seem to follow the patterns of a chess match. He rarely uses a phrase twice on one album. On cuts such as "Publicity," he delves into the shadier sides of music industry hype machines, while rhyming in covert metaphors that require a strong ear. He also opens the door to many of Wu-Tang Clan’s upstart producers, amounting to a totally different sound than his debut.

GZA’s sophomore project is a calculated triumph. If you listen and like it, you know the time. Each one teach one.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Khary Kimani Turner

Most Popular

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 28, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation