Review Summary: Ghostface comes at you with and agressive delivery and sadistic lyrics
In the early to mid nineties, hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan
were east coast hip-hop masters. Their infallible 9-man roster proved them selves as hip-hop gods after their platinum record 36 Chambers topped the charts due to each MC showing extreme power and not a shade of weakness. When they decided to each make their own albums they were extremely well recognized as 36 Chambers was. GZA’s Liquid Swords
, Method Man’s Tical
and Raekwon’s Only Built for Cuban Linx…
. Among those albums comes MC Ghostface Killah’s debut Ironman
with many appearances by fellow Wu-Tang MCs.
Like the rest of the Wu-Tang albums this one starts with a clip from a B-movie. This one features a young, later mentioned, 13 year old’s voice showing courage against a bigger and obviously more dominant force which foreshadows the mood for the rest of the album as being a gloomy and sadistic album without showing any upbeat signs or anything which makes enjoying the album completely dependant on your mood. If you have some youth in your step that day than this album wouldn’t really fit the bill too well.
What separates this from today’s hip-hop (which has disappointed in most cases) is their indestructible delivery. Every verse no matter who is rapping, whether it is the commonly shown RZA, Raekwon or Cappadonna, relentlessly pound their rhymes in to your head mercilessly, with bone crushing stanzas and a ruthless attitude. Every word spoken shows an aggressive mood and seemingly cannot be stopped by anything. With this intensity also comes a very soul driven production effort from RZA. This intense style is especially shown in Fish
. These songs are usually driven by a rhythmic drumbeat and harmonized by a smooth, jazzy bassline. If not those background contributors, than it will be backed by female gospel voices and dark, soft horns and keyboards. Even in the ballad All That I Got is You
, Ghostface still shows as much intensity as a ballad can. This is a chance for Ghostface to step back from the norm and gets to turn the volume down on his aggressiveness for just a bit. Backed by artificial violin and Mary J. Blige’s beautiful, soft voice fit perfectly with the depressing lyrics of Ghostface’s growing up.
The lyrics are the only area where I am let down. Don’t get me wrong, they are terrific every once in a while, but they tend to be redundant and clichéd. They are usually gory or sex oriented with a string of songs about his wife/girlfriend cheating on him, some about gang violence and some, mentioned above, about hard times growing up. They use some clever rhymes but they in no way shape or form break any new ground.
So with that Ghostface and other Wu-Tang members accompany him with his debut solo album. This set the tone for this rapper’s successful career, which most recently busted open in 2006 with two well received albums More Fish
and [b]Fishscale[/b All in all, this album shows how valuable he was to Wu-Tang Clan.