August 22nd: The GZA/Genius of The Wu-Tang Clan was born Gary Grice , in Brooklyn , New York , on this day in 1966.
In the early 1980's The GZA was known as The Genius because of his well rounded knowledge of the 5% teachings. It was during this time that he formed his 1st rap group with his cousins and future Wu members , the late Ol' Dirty Bastard and Wu founder and producer The RZA.
In 1991 , The GZA signed with Cold Chillin' Records and released his debut album "Words From The Genius" , which featured production by Easy Mo Bee , Jesse West and Patrick Harvey. The Genius would only begin to attain success however when with his cousins The RZA and Ol' Dirty Bastard , formed the 9 man crew in 1992 that featured Method Man, Raekwon , Ghostface Killah , U-God , Masta Killa and Cappadonna , known as The Wu-Tang Clan.
When their debut album "Enter The Wu-Tang" was released in 1993 , The GZA as he was now known , was one of the most prominently featured m.c's on the album. His 1995 sophomore joint "Liquid Swords" was produced entirely by The RZA , as were all Wu-Tang solo albums at the time and is still considered until this day as one of the strongest Wu solo efforts ever. "Liquid Swords" spawned the hits ; "Cold World" , "I Gotcha Back" , "Shadowboxin/4th Chamber" and the classic title track. Like the group's collective debut album , "Liquid Swords" retained a martials arts film theme throughout the album. The album's cover was designed by DC Milestone Comics chief artist Denys Cowan.
The GZA has released 3 more solo albums since then , 1999's "Beneath The Surface" , 2002's "Legend Of The Liquid Sword" and 2008's "Pro Tools". The GZA is currently working on a follow-up to his 1995 classic called ; "Liquid Swords 2" - The Return Of The Shadowboxer. The GZA has appeared on all 5 Wu-Tang Clan albums as well as guesting on Wu solo joints by several members including classics by ODB and Raekwon.
In 2005 , The GZA released a collaborative album with Cypress Hill d.j. and producer DJ Muggs called "Grandmasters" on Angeles Records. The albums theme was the game of "chess".
The GZA also appeared with The RZA in the 2003 United Artists film "Coffee And Cigarettes" , in a memorable scene with Bill Murray. The GZA is considered one of the most gifted lyricists in hip-hop history.