Beneath the Surface

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This article is about the album by GZA. For Stargate SG-1 episode, see Beneath the Surface (Stargate SG-1). For the children's picture book, see Beneath the Surface (picture book).
Beneath the Surface
Studio album by GZA/Genius
Released June 29, 1999
Recorded 1998–1999
Genre Hip hop
Length 46:00
Label MCA Records
Producer Arabian Knight, GZA, Inspectah Deck, John the Baptist, Mathematics, RZA
GZA/Genius chronology
Liquid Swords
Beneath the Surface
Legend of the Liquid Sword
Wu-Tang Clan solo chronology
Bobby Digital in Stereo
Beneath the Surface
Inspectah Deck:
Uncontrolled Substance
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
RapReviews 7/10 link
Stylus Magazine (B) 2003
Stylus Magazine (mixed) 2007 4.5/5 stars link
USA Today 3.5/4 stars link
Yahoo! Music favorable link

Beneath the Surface is the third solo studio album by Wu-Tang Clan member GZA, an American hip hop musician.


Reviews were mostly positive, though it failed to live up to Liquid Swords acclaim and commercial success. However, critics pointed to production as the album's main weakness, noting a distinct lack of RZA-produced tracks, resulting in a messy collage of beats rather than a cohesive sound. There were also complaints about the presence of skits and the vast number of guest spots. However, the album did manage to be certified Gold by the RIAA

Alternative Press (10/99, p. 92) - 5 out of 5 - "...the first clear indication...of where the most important act of the hip-hop decade want to take their legions of followers....[RZA's] a master of structure and strategy..."

CMJ (7/12/99, p. 26) - "...solid fusion of RZA-esque string play and thumping jeep beats provide an equally formidable backdrop for the Genius's ever-heady lyrical chessboxing....Surface is a family affair with impressive guest spots....Behold the first true Wu-Banger of 1999."

Rap Pages (9/99, pp. 172–4) - " album for thinking individuals....GZA is masterful at wordplay, and the accompanying music makes the listening all the more pleasurable..." - Rating: A

Track listing[edit]

# Title Time Producer(s) Performer(s) Notes
1 "Intro" 1:16 GZA
2 "Amplified Sample" 3:31 Mathematics
  • GZA
3 "Beneath the Surface" 4:29 Inspectah Deck Sample: "Back To You" by Jean Plum
4 "Skit #1" 0:37 GZA
5 "Skit #2" 0:31 GZA
6 "Crash Your Crew" 3:07 John the Baptist Sample: "I Choose You" by Willie Hutch
7 "Breaker, Breaker" 3:38 Arabian Knight
  • GZA
8 "High Price, Small Reward" 1:43 Mathematics
9 "Hip Hop Fury" 3:44 Arabian Knight
10 "Skit #3" 0:47 GZA
11 "1112" 4:18 RZA
12 "Skit #4" 0:45 GZA
13 "Victim" 4:04 Arabian Knight
  • Chorus: Joan Davis
  • First verse: GZA
  • Second verse: Njeri Earth
14 "Publicity" 2:37 Mathematics
  • GZA
Sample: I (Who Have Nothing)" by Terry Knight and the Pack
15 "Feel Like An Enemy" 3:12 Mathematics
16 "Stringplay (Like This, Like That)" 3:18 Arabian Knight
  • First verse: GZA
  • Second verse & chorus: Method Man
17 "Mic Trippin" 2:59 Mathematics
  • GZA
18 "Outro" 1:34 Arabian Knight



"Breaker, Breaker"

  • Scorpion- "Representin' My Hood" (2009)

See also[edit]