When is the best time to teach your 5-year-old to play chess? When the deluxe CD reissue of the GZA’s 1995 hip-hop classic “Liquid Swords” arrives in the mail. This box set comes with a chessboard built right into the package — plus game pieces, a remastered version of the album and GZA liner notes on making one of the finest Wu-Tang Clan solo records.
This edition also features an instrumentals disc, so you can focus on the masterful, moody production RZA brought to the disc. The vocal-free version can also act as a PG-rated soundtrack for the chess lessons, leaving you to concentrate on rook strategies rather than diving for the volume every time GZA or one of his Wu-Tang brethren drop a curse word, which is scientifically proven to be “quite often.”
The board itself is too small to play on regularly, and “The Chess Box” edition is CD-only; the double-LP reissue just includes a poster of the iconic cover art. But as a physical manifestation of the lyrical war games of “Liquid Swords,” “The Chess Box” edition is spot-on. The only thing missing is a tiny samurai sword.