“Ghostface, catch the blast of a hype verse/my glock bursts, leave in a hearse, I did worse.” So echo the opening lines of what might be hip-hop’s greatest magnum opus, the Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The voice behind those introductory words is that of Dennis Coles, aka Tony Starks, aka Ghostface Killah, savior of Clarks Wallabies and one of the Clan’s more dexterous members, whose first solo joint, 1998’s Ironman, was peppered with some great songs, obligatory misogynistic lyrics, and bizarre references, trademarks of any above-average Wu record. Since then, the Clan has taken its share of blows from critics and fans alike who claim that the magic of the first few Wu releases has yet to be recaptured, between 1997’s overwhelming/unsatisfying Wu-Tang Forever, the RZA’s half-baked Bobby Digital, the GZA’s quietly received Beneath the Surface, and various side projects. However, the hype surrounding Ghostface’s latest, Supreme Clientele, is well deserved, seeing as that the majority of the tracks deliver like the Mailman Karl Malone doesn’t on Sunday. Aside from the occasional aggravating skit that drones on for too long, the album is chockfull of spit-polished Wu-isms and catchy-as-hell beats, as well as knob-turning from none other than the RZA, Inspectah Deck, and the Mathematics, making it the closest thing to a true Wu record that we’ve seen in awhile.
All of your favorites are here, from Raekwon the Chef to Meth, Bobby Digital, the GZA, Rebel INS, Masta Killah, and even Redman , and tracks such as “Mighty Healthy,” “Buck 50,” and “Deck’s Beat,” bump like a hooptee with bad shocks. And with the self-proclaimed Wally Champ waxing poetic on verses like, “this rap is like ziti,” who the hell are you to step, punk? Put down those early ‘90s Miami bass 12"s you’ve been eyeing in the cut-out bin, and buy the present and future of hip-hop.
// Notes from the Road
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