Gza/Genius Pro Tools

As difficult as it is to find flaws in anything GZA touches, the overall strength and focused spirit of Pro Tools highlights the intangible vibe lacking on his recent joints. When the RZA and GZA dropped Liquid Swords in 1995, they unleashed a sleepy masterpiece for students to emulate while raising the bar sky-high for themselves. Since then, the Genius has rocked memorable verses yet, judging from recent tour set-lists, he seemed resigned to peddle a 13-year-old monument. How sweet it is to hear GZA firing on all cylinders on Pro Tools, hungrily eating up beats from a different producer on virtually every track and telling hard tales in his inimitable style. RZA unleashes a crazy torrent of lyrics on "Broken Pencil” and GZA runs a marathon on "0%” before addressing his G-Unit feud by calmly dismantling 50 Cent on "Paper Plate.” The beats are generally crisp but a renewed GZA is what keeps Pro Tools thumping. (Babygrande)