Following the success of two earlier Wu-Tang Clan solo albums -- Method Man's Tical and Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, Wu-Tang member Raekwon began recording his acclaimed debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... While he and producer RZA were putting the final touches on that album, RZA and GZA began writing and recording what would eventually become Liquid Swords.
It comes from this flick, Legend of the Liquid Sword, where people would get their head cut off but it would still be on their shoulders.
No one else would notice, because the sword was so sharp.
Wu-Tang is a sword style, and this here is the sharpest.
I'd rather slip on the pavement than slip on my tongue." In the same interview, GZA described the writing process as "real slow." He further commented "I don’t say slow in the sense that it necessarily took me a long time to finish what I’m writing. It's my best album." Cowan's black and white line art was inked by Inker Prentis Rollins. Garfield, an avid comic book fan, said the cover art was supervised under the auspices of GZA Graf X, a subsidiary company of GZA Entertainment owned by GZA and Garfield.
Recording sessions for the album began mid-way through 1995 at producer RZA's basement studio in the New York City borough of Staten Island.
The album heavily samples dialogue from the martial arts film Shogun Assassin and maintains a dark atmosphere throughout its course, while it incorporates lyrical references to chess, crime and philosophy.
Liquid Swords features numerous guest appearances from the entire nine piece Wu-Tang Clan, and also Wu-Tang affiliate Killah Priest.
Upon its release, Liquid Swords peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200 chart, and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album platinum in sales nearly 20 years after its release.
Upon its initial release, Liquid Swords received critical acclaim for its complex lyricism and hypnotic musical style.
Over the years, its recognition has grown, with a number of famous publishers proclaiming it as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time.