Grandmasters (album)

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Studio album by DJ Muggs vs. GZA (The Genius)
Released October 25, 2005
Recorded 2005
Genre Hip hop, hardcore hip hop
Length 43:46
Label Angeles ANG-1001/3/5
Producer DJ Muggs
DJ Muggs chronology
Legend of the Mask and the Assassin (2007)
GZA chronology
Legend of the Liquid Sword
Pro Tools
Wu-Tang Clan solo chronology
Mr. Xcitement
Ghostface Killah:

Grandmasters is a collaborative album by DJ Muggs and GZA released on October 25, 2005 on Angeles Records.[1] The album is the first in the "DJ Muggs vs. " series, followed by his 2007 collaboration with Sick Jacken, Legend of the Mask and the Assassin, 2008s Pain Language with Planet Asia and 2010s Kill Devil Hills together with Ill Bill. Grandmasters serves as GZA's fifth studio album.

Inspiration and album title[edit]

"Chess is the ultimate board game. Monopoly is not in its league and Checkers doesn’t compare at all. It’s civilized war. It’s a mathematical thing, its science, and it’s strategy. That’s life all the time. Just planning your day, being ten steps ahead and seeing the moves ahead. That’s what chess is about. I’m not the greatest player. I’m not a master or a grandmaster. I lose a lot, but I learn. I’ve been defeated plenty times. I play online and I might have 900 wins and 850 losses but I play all the time. The game is fascinating and I am captivated by that. The album I just dropped is called Grandmasters. That’s the highest level you reach when playing chess and it’s also the highest level of emceeing, producing and deejaying. Most of the titles are chess slang ‘Queen’s Gambit,’ ‘Destruction of a Guard,’ ‘Unprotected Pieces,’ and ‘Illusionary Protection.’ I incorporate chess into certain rhymes. I use chess all time. Chess is a big part of what I do." - GZA


Album information[edit]

It features Wu-Tang Clan members and affiliates such as Raekwon, RZA, Masta Killa and Prodigal Sunn as well as Cypress Hill member Sen Dog. All of its tracks are produced by DJ Muggs. It has a theme of chess as can be seen by the track names. Introductions featuring chess strategy, including instruction for a chess opening using algebraic notation, are within the album. The album was also released in 'Instrumentals' and 'Remix' [3] versions. The latter containing a bonus DVD featuring world tour and studio footage.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Okayplayer (89/100)[5]
Stylus (B)[6]
Prefix Magazine (9/10)[7] (87/100)[8]
  • The Wire (p. 73) - "[T]here's a nice, hasty feel to the record, as though Muggs just threw a loop into the beat computer and GZA just started going....With Muggs's dirty, dashed-together beats and plenty of great guests."
  • Vibe (p. 216) - "[With] the Cypress Hill vet's cryptic samples and glassy eyed grooves."

Track listing[edit]

Grandmasters (ANG-1001) / Grandmasters Instrumentals (ANG-1003)
  1. "Opening" - 1:34
  2. "Those that's bout It" - 3:24
  3. "Destruction of a Guard" (feat. Raekwon) - 3:59
  4. "Exploitation of Mistakes" - 3:21
  5. "General Principles" - 3:39
  6. "Advance Pawns" (feat. RZA, Raekwon & Sen Dog) - 4:02
  7. "Queen's Gambit" - 4:35
  8. "All in Together Now" (feat. RZA) - 4:24
  9. "Unstoppable Threats" (feat. Masta Killa & Prodigal Sunn) - 3:44
  10. "Unprotected Pieces" - 3:29
  11. "Illusory Protection" - 4:27
  12. "Smothered Mate" - 3:12
Grandmasters Remix (ANG-1005)
  1. "Opening" - 0:28
  2. "Those that's bout It" - 2:55 (Remix by Dialekt)
  3. "Destruction of a Guard" (feat. Raekwon) - 3:27 (Remix by DJ Khalil feat. Ras Kass)
  4. "Exploitation of Mistakes" - 2:44 (Remix by James Alsanders)
  5. "General Principles" - 4:58 (Remix by LD)
  6. "Advance Pawns" (feat. RZA, Raekwon & Sen Dog) - 3:41 (Remix by King Karnov)
  7. "Queen's Gambit" - 3:39 (Remix by DJ Solo)
  8. "All in Together Now" (feat. RZA) - 3:29 (Remix by DJ Solo)
  9. "Unstoppable Threats" (feat. Masta Killa & Prodigal Sunn) - 3:18 (Remix by Lewis One)
  10. "Unprotected Pieces" - 4:23 (Remix by St. Louis)
  11. "Illusory Protection" - 3:00 (Remix by LD)
  12. "Smothered Mate" - 3:11 (Remix by Scoop DeVille)


  • "Destruction of A Guard" - "Say the Word" by The Dramatics.
  • "Unstoppable Threats" - "Look Up, Look Down" by Soft Touch.
  • "General Principles" - "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" by Jerome Richardson.
  • "All In Together Now" - "Hippa To Da Hoppa" by Ol' Dirty Bastard.


  • Gary Grice - Main Artist, Rapper, Writer
  • Lawrence Muggerud - Producer, Keyboardist, Writer
  • Corey Woods - Rapper, Writer
  • Robert Diggs - Rapper, Writer
  • Senen Reyes - Rapper, Writer
  • Elgin Turner - Rapper, Writer
  • Vergil Ruff - Rapper, Writer
  • Daniel Seeff - Bassist
  • Mike Simz - Guitarist/Pianist/Keyboardist/Bassist
  • Rob Hill - Guitarist/Strings
  • Dontae Winslow - Trumpeter
  • Ina Williams - Background Vocalist
  • Ern Dog - Guitarist/Bassist/Organist
  • DJ SPR4 - Music Recorder
  • Rob Hill - Music Mixer
  • Joe "The Butcher" Nicolo - Music Mixer
  • Ernie Medina - Engineer
  • Brian "Big Bass" Gardner - Music Masterer
  • Mike "Fatoe" Orduna - Art Director/Designer
  • Joey Castillo Jr. - Art Director/Designer
  • Robert Johnson III - Photographer
  • Dina Nadezhdina - Spoken Word Interlude Speaker


  1. ^ "DJ Muggs vs. GZA / The Genius* - Grandmasters (CD, Album) at Discogs". 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  2. ^ Hip Hop Icon Series: GZA/Genius
  3. ^ "DJ Muggs vs. GZA / The Genius* - Grandmasters Remix Album (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  4. ^ Brown, Marisa (2005-10-25). "Allmusic review". Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  5. ^ Okayplayer review[dead link]
  6. ^ "Stylus review". Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  7. ^ "Prefix Magazine review". 2008-03-05. Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  8. ^ Clayton Purdom. "Review". Retrieved 2012-05-20.