The legendary GZA blessed Toronto with a live performance at the Opera House on Friday. Wu-heads packed the place to see the living icon spit his ingenious lyrics. DJ Law already had everyone feeling lifted after he dropped some serious tracks. Masta Killa took the stage first, performing a couple songs, getting Wu fans hyped. But hearing the dialogue sample from Shogun Assassin when GZA stepped on stage actually gave me chills. GZA didn’t miss a bar, rapping masterfully non-stop for an amazing two-hour long set, without taking a break. His endurance puts most new rappers to shame. I’ve seen a lot of live shows but The Genius has by far the best stage presence I’ve witnessed, getting the entire crowd nodding their heads and throwing their W’s up all night.
He performed all my favorite classics from Liquid Swords, like “4th Chamber”, “Living in the World Today”, and “Swordsman”, and “Animal Planet” from Legend of the Liquid Sword. He and Masta Killa performed their lines from “Duel of the Iron Mike” together. Highlights included hearing the timeless lines from “Triumph” performed live, GZA doing “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” in homage to ODB, causing the crowd to lose it, and the Wu banger “C.R.E.A.M” setting everyone off as soon as the beat dropped. Sorry Drizzy, but C.R.E.A.M. is still the motto.
The energy was live and you got the feeling that you were witnessing a part of hip-hop history going down. GZA doesn’t feel the need to jump around on stage; his lyrical wizardry is enough. He just grips the mic, and stands there like the fucking all-mighty rap God that he is. Giving shout outs to Toronto a few times, he wasn’t above accepting a hit of a blunt from some generous fan in the crowd.
With no media-pit, our Bad Perm photographer Melissa didn’t hesitate to fight her way to the front of the crowd. If you were there you might have seen her give a shout out to Bad Perm on stage. Not having a proper video camera to record the show, I was forced to hold my iPad up for two straight hours. Ya, I was that girl, and no, “that’s a big camera you have there” is not a funny joke. My arms were cramping by the end, but the ladies at Bad Perm get the job done.
It was nice to see both old school heads come together with young fans to celebrate hip-hop greatness. You can question the teenie-boppers’ credibility, but at the end of the day, they’re there. They could be at a Waka Flocka Flame concert instead. Think about it. Quite a few knew the lyrics to every song, although they were screaming them little too eagerly and wide-eyed for my liking. Also, there was the young lady standing front and center all night, flashing one titty at GZA for a large portion of the show. But I guess there’s at least one in every crowd. It’s safe to say that the Wu have some of the most loyal fans, still moving the crowd in 2012 and at the same time influencing a few from the next generation to love real hip-hop.
We’re still anxiously awaiting Liquid Swords II: The Return of The Shadowboxer, which boasts producing elusively from fellow Clan member RZA, as well as the project he is currently working on that put LSII on hold. New GZA can’t come fast enough.
It’s Wu Muahfucka!
Review by Shannon
Photos by Melissa