Friday, 14 February 2003

Album Review: Supreme Clientele

While most of the second round of Wu Tang LPs were substandard (Tical 2000, Immobilarity etc), Ghostface Killah was something of a rarity by actually matching and sometimes surpassing the quality of his debut release Ironman on his second long player. While Ghostface has never held the commercial cachet of Method Man or ODB, he's probably the most consistent member of the Wu; Supreme Clientele goes some way to proving his talent.

Unsurprisingly for a Wu Tang album, Supreme Clientele begins with a sample. Ghostface Killah developing his Ironman alter ego chooses to pinch from Marvel Comics to open his second LP. The first track proper is one of the best on the album. Nutmeg, produced by relative unknown Arthur Wilson has Ghostface at his very best. In his inimitable staccato Ghostface brags, "I studied under Bruce Lee / He was on the four, I was on the third."

Rza beats were getting repetitive around 2000 and he is only on hand for 4 of the tracks on Supreme Clientele. However, his Executive Producer credit suggests he may have had a hand in who produced the other tracks. There is a myriad of producers on hand to keep this album sounding fresh. Juju of The Beatnuts is handed production duties on One, it's one of the standout tracks on the album. It contains a sample from Sweet Inspiration's cult soul classic You Roam When You Don't Get It At Home. Another standout track Apollo Kids (which features fellow Wu member Raekwon) is produced by another relative unknown, Hassan.

Again, unsurprising for a Wu release, there are a couple of ensemble tracks. Funnily enough they are two of the weaker tracks. Buck 50 produced by Rza, has Redman and Method Man tread through their usual patter and Wu Banga 101 attempts to rediscover the grainy Wu production of old. It fails miserably. Frankly, it's a boring track.

Meanwhile there is Stroke Of Death a stuttering series of Rza's scratches coupled with a sparse beat, while Ghostface slurs over the top. It's very hard to listen to, the scratching clearly hasn't been looped as it is out of sync at several points, which add to the feeling of unease which this track gives the listener. Credit to Ghostface for trying something different.

There is not a single unfunny skit to be heard. When Ghostface is on the mic, the album is at its best. Ghostface's debut Ironman was a very good album that would be hard to match, Supreme Clientele achieves that at many points and should be considered the essential Ghostface Killah album.

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