Review Summary: Ghostface proves that his debut was no fluke and delivers a sophmore effort that's every bit as good as Ironman.
After his clansmen experienced sophmore slumps with their solo projects, it seeemed that the Wu empire was near the end, after excellent debuts by Method Man, GZA, Old Dirty Bastard and Raekwon they all followed with less than stellar efforts and it appeared that the great Wu magic that could not miss just a few years earlier was disappearing. Then came Supreme Clientele to restore the faith back in the Wu-Tang, it had what had been missing from previous solo outings: a strong contribution by RZA. Even though he only produced four tracks, his presence is felt throughout the album.
The magic of this album is the uniformity of it's sound because even though there are multiple producers involved, not a track seems out of place: Black Moes-Art provides "Nutmeg" with a one-note flute and a soulful sample, with a guest spot from the RZA it sets the tempo for the rest of the album. Juju from the Beatnuts contributes "One", a beautiful beat with a continous "One" female vocal sample throughout the track. Carlos "Six July" Broady provides the hypnotic "Saturday Nite" where Ghost recounts a tale about being harrassed by the cops which comes to an abrupt ending.
Ghost is joined on "Ghost Deini" by Superb who would later claim (falsely) to have ghost written the entire album. RZA provides an eerie, thumping beat for the posse cut "Buck 50" where Ghost calims to be the " Slickest nigga goin' sinc Grease" with appearances by Cappadona, Method Man and Redman. For another Wu collabo, "Wu Banga 101", RZA disciple Allah Mathematics does his mentor proud and gives GZA, Raekwon, Masta Killa, Cappadona and Ghost a haunting bass heavy track that recalls the old Wu sound. Ghost rekindles his outstanding chemistry with Raekwon on "Apollo Kids", someone by the name of Hassan provides a head-nodding string sample for this duo where Ghost spits "Ayyo, this rap is like ziti, facin' me real TV, crash at high-speeds, strawberry, kiwi", some non-sensical rhymes to be sure but he does it with such confidence that it sounds great, proving the old adage that it's not what you say, it's how you say it.
A needless skit about a basehead slows things down at the halfway point of the album and is followed by some of the weaker tracks: the Inspectah Deck produced "Stay True" and the slightly above average "We Made It". Things pick up on "Stroke of Death" where RZA uses a continous backscrath that works better than it should, RZA also spits a verse on this track. On RZA's piano-based "Child's Play", Ghost reminisces about school and being a kid again before the albums flow is disrupted by "Cherchez LaGhost", easily the worst track on here, got him some radioplay but longtime fans know that that's not what the Wu is about. There is another skit where Raekwon with the help of a voice changer calls out 50 Cent for his "How to Rob" song where he joked about robbing rappers including members of the Wu-Tang, needless to say, Rae was not amused.
This album gives you the feeling that it should have been named "Ironman" as opposed to the debut, because there are multiple Ironman-related themes and clips throughout the album, most notably the into and outro. The outro congratulates Ironman for saving humanity and the comparison fits because this album seemed to rescue the Wu from becoming irrelevant and restored the faith (however short lived) in that legendary logo. This project although it contained various guests spots from Wu-affiliates has the old school Wu feel but it is clear that Ghostface is the star of the show and creates a consistently great album with various producers that must have been carefully picked out because even though they might of been relatively unknown (Allah Mathematics) or completely unknown (Black Moes-Art, Hassan) they follow the blueprint set by RZA amazingly well.
The ACTUAL tracklisting is as follows:
2 "Nutmeg" (feat. RZA)
4 "Saturday Nite"
5 "Ghost Deini" (feat. Superb)
6 "Apollo Kids" (feat.Raekwon)
7 "The Grain" (feat. RZA)
8 "Buck 50" (feat. Method Man, Cappadona, Redman)
9 "Mighty Healthy"
10 "Woodrow the Basehead" (skit)
11 "Stay True" (feat. 60 Second Assassin)
12 "We Made It" (feat. Superb, Chip Banks, Hell Razah)
13 "Stroke of Death" (feat. Solomon Childs, RZA)
14 "Iron's Theme" (Intermission)
16 "Who Would You Fuck"
17 "Child's Play"
18 "Cherchez LaGhost" (feat. U-God)
19 "Wu Banga 101" (feat. GZA, Raekwon, Cappadonna, Masta Killa)
20 "Clyde Smith" (skit) (feat. Raekwon)
21 "Iron's Theme" (Conclusion)