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Song Stories

“Cold World”

GZA | 1995

From the Liquid Swords album, GZA's "Cold World" gives a poetic look into the gritty streets of the Brooklyn neighnorhoods of Brownsville and Red Hook. "A lot of dudes write these street tales and they're so gory, 'cause they think gory is visual," GZA said. "I wanted to write something and take it to a level where nobody's done it." Like many Wu classics from that era, the song was created in RZA's basement back on Staten Island. "I remember being there, and some of the beats were running for like two days nonstop. 'Cold World' was one of them."

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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