Supreme Clientele

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Supreme Clientele
Studio album by Ghostface Killah
Released January 25, 2000
Recorded 1998−1999;
New York City, New York
Miami, Florida
Genre Hip hop
Length 64:10
Label Epic Records, Sony, Razor Sharp
Producer Black Moes-Art, The Blaquesmiths, Carlos Bess, Carlos Broady, Choo the Specializt, Hassan, Inspectah Deck, Ju-Ju, Mathematics, RZA
Ghostface Killah chronology
Ironman
(1996)
Supreme Clientele
(2000)
Bulletproof Wallets
(2001)
Wu-Tang Clan solo chronology
Raekwon:
Immobilarity
(1999)
Supreme Clientele
(2000)
Wu-Tang Clan:
The W
(2000)
Singles from Supreme Clientele
  1. "Apollo Kids"
    Released: July 10, 1999
  2. "Cherchez La Ghost"
    Released: February 28, 2000

Supreme Clientele is the second studio album of American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, released February 8, 2000 on Epic Records. The album showcases Ghostface's signature up-tempo, stream-of-consciousness rhyme style, and features guest appearances from Cappadonna, GZA, Masta Killa, Method Man, Raekwon, Redman, RZA, U-God, and others. It features members of what would become affiliates Theodore Unit and T.M.F. Supreme Clientele contains a large amount of production from group member RZA, who also re-worked and remixed beats from other producers involved, as a means to create a unified and cohesive sound for the album.[1]

Supreme Clientele debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, while selling 134,000 copies in its first week.[2] On March 8, 2000, it was certified Gold in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[3] The album featured the singles "Apollo Kids" and "Cherchez La Ghost", which, despite receiving limited airplay, went on to achieve notable chart success. Supreme Clientele gained strong reviews from critics, despite its contrasting sound and style to that of his previous critically successful album Ironman.

Supreme Clientele became one of the most acclaimed of all second generation Wu-Tang projects, and featured the most contributions from RZA during this era. It was praised and noted for Ghostface Killah's obscure and creative lyrics, and for the cohesive format of production.[1] Along with Ironman (1996) and Fishscale (2006), it is often ranked as Ghostface Killah's best work. It has also been regarded as one of the best solo Wu-Tang albums,[4] and has received accolades for being one of the best albums of the 2000s decade.[5] A sequel entitled Supreme Clientele Presents... Blue & Cream: The Wally Era is to follow.[6]

Background and recording[edit]

After the release of Wu-Tang Clan's second album Wu-Tang Forever, group leader RZA assigned the members to work primarily with affiliates on their up-coming solo projects, while he "called dibbs" on Ghostface Killah.[7] RZA also instructed the members to keep Wu-Tang guest appearances to a minimum, as he saw their earlier solo albums as "giving away Wu-Tang to labels who had only signed one member".[1] Although RZA would work occasionally with other group members and affiliates during this time, Supreme Clientele would be the Wu-Tang related project he was most involved in since Wu-Tang Forever.[8]

Recording for the album began in 1998, and took place at several studios in New York and Florida.[4] These sessions, however, would be interrupted due to Ghostface Killah serving a prison sentence at Riker's Island for a 1995 charge he caught at the Palladium nightclub in New York.[9] Although Ghostface was in prison for six months, he still had a weapons charge that was pending when he and RZA got back to finishing the remainder of the album.[4]

Lyrics[edit]

In late 1997, Ghostface Killah and producer RZA took a several month long trip to Africa, where a large portion of Supreme Clientele's lyrics would be written.[4] While in Africa, the culture had an effect on Ghostface's lyrics.[4] Unlike his acclaimed lyricism on his debut Ironman, and Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... album, Ghostface Killah rarely makes references to crime and materialism on Supreme Clientele.[4] He explained "Fuck all this Tommy Hilfiger, Polo, all that shit. They don't give a fuck about none of that in Africa. Everything is the same. But over here, everybody wanna be better than the next one. Nah, it's not like that over there. They might be fucked-up money wise, but trust me, them muthafuckas is happy. They got each other".[4] One of the earliest lyrics Ghostface wrote while in Africa was "Nutmeg", a song with a rhythmic, off-beat cadence.[4] Regarding the song's form, he stated "That's a wild song. That shit's one of the illest styles I ever came up with, because I had no music to write to".[4]

Controversy[edit]

The album contains an insult toward then-up-and-coming rapper 50 Cent. In the "Clyde Smith" skit, Wu-tang member Raekwon, with the use of voice distortion, plays the role of a man named Clyde Smith. Clyde Smith addresses 50 Cent and his 1999 song "How to Rob", in which 50 Cent rhymed about how he would rob many popular music artists, including several Wu-Tang members. The skit drew a response from 50 Cent, who later replied in an underground mixtape, and later in the song "Too Hot".

In 2004, Lord Superb, formerly of Raekwon's American Cream Team and a collaborator of Ghostface's, made claims that he had "ghostwritten" the entire album of Supreme Clientele.[10] Tony Yayo of G-Unit would later bring the topic back to the surface in 2006.[11] However, in an interview with Rhapsody Music, Ghostface responded with "Yeah, I was in Europe when I heard Tony Yayo say that. That’s just nonsense. I still put mad shit out. 'Perb (Superb) is Rae’s (Raekwon) man. He been in the studio a few times while we’re doing shit. He ain’t write shit. All ‘Perb contributed was a couple of lines that you could put in the air. When we write, we all do that. “Say this one right here” or “Put this one right here.” We all catch lines with each other ‘cause you in the studio. You got niggas around you that write. Even if he did write a verse, he could never make an album of mine. He couldn’t make an album, you feel me? I made Supreme Clientele what it is. Those are my stories, based around what they’re based upon. It’s me. I can’t see what songs ‘Perb wrote. He ain’t write "Mighty Healthy" or "One" or "Apollo Kids" or "Cherchez LaGhost" or "Saturday Nite" or "Malcolm".[12]

Production[edit]

In the mid-1990s, Producer RZA had a flood in his basement studio, which resulted in the loss of recording equipment and several hundred beats, many of which were un-finished.[1] As a result, he would have to use new equipment, and start over from scratch for production contributions. In a later interview, he stated "The jewel of the whole shit is that I lost mad shit in that flood. I got it again. It took me about two years, but I got now at least 200-300 beats. I studied the music, I studied the books and I said 'fuck that. Hip-hop is gonna be able to be played in Carnegie Hall. Not with a DAT, but with a 10-piece orchestra, and have a turntable in it, and Bobby Digital right there in the middle'.[1] "

Although a number of producers, such as JuJu from The Beatnuts, Hassan of the U.M.C.'s, The Hitmen, and several Wu-Tang affiliates are credited for production, RZA and Ghostface Killah did the majority of the production and mixing for the album, as they "re-compiled" and "re-worked" the album's beats.[1] In regards to this, RZA explained "Usually a producer comes in, makes a beat, mixes it, and gives the direction for it. But not with this album. That's why you get that special sound. I just needle and threaded the beats all together."[1] This approach would later result in critical praise and recognition for its fluidity and cohesiveness.[1]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[13]
Alternative Press 5/5 stars[14]
Robert Christgau A−[15]
Entertainment Weekly C[16]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[17]
PopMatters 9/10[18]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[19]
The Source 4.5/5 stars[14]
USA Today 3/4 stars[20]
Vibe (favorable)[21]

Upon release, Supreme Clientele received positive reviews from most music critics, with many lauding it as the greatest solo Wu-Tang album of its era. Blockspot from Vibe stated "Mixed reviews of recent solo offerings from Clan members have some doubters whispering their speculation of Wu's demise. Fortunately, Ghost saves the day with the naysayer-silencing Supreme Clientele. Championing the cause of Wu dominance, Supreme Clientele exemplifies Ghost's lyrical dexterity. While his thunderous light-speed delivery hasn't changed much, his jagged wordplay is at its zenith."[21] Allmusic's M.F. DiBella wrote in his review "Most of the members of rap's Roman Empire, the Wu-Tang Clan, experienced sophomore slumps with their second solo releases, whether artistically or commercially. The second offerings featured some of the old Wu magic, but not enough to warrant a claim to their once total mastery of the rap game. Just as the Wu empire appeared to be crumbling, along came the second installment from the Clan's spitfire element, Ghostface Killah. Every bit as good as his first release, Supreme Clientele proves Ghost's worthiness of the Ironman moniker by deftly overcoming trendiness to produce an authentic sound in hip-hop's age of bland parity ... While the album is complete and characteristically Wu-sounding, each track is distinctive lyrically, thematically, and sonically. Ghostface's Supreme Clientele is a step toward the Wu-Tang Clan's ascent from the ashes of their fallen kingdom. The once slumbering Wu-Tang strikes again."[13] Mike Pace from PopMatters commented "The (Wu-Tang) 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. 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."[18]

In contrast, Craig Seymour from Entertainment Weekly gave the album a C rating and wrote negatively of its skits and long length.[16] In his review for USA Today, Steve Jones described Supreme Clientele as a "brooding mix of lyrically dense and sonically diverse tracks."[20] Alternative Press, however, gave it five stars, and commented "From the opening minutes of this all-uptempo, all-sorta-dissonant wild ride, it shows and proves a minutely detailed, if largely abstract, document of a unique black artist's emotional life."[14] The Source magazine called it "An A+ record in Wu fashion" and wrote "Arguably as entertaining as his debut Ironman. With appearances by just about every important Wu figure, the album is a Wu album in the Wu-est sense."[14]

Track listing[edit]

  • Note: Although various producers are credited for production in the album's liner notes, producer RZA re-worked and re-mixed every track on Supreme Clientele.[1]
# Title Performer(s) Producer(s) Note(s) Time
1 "Intro" RZA 0:46
2 "Nutmeg"
  • First verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Refrain: Ghostface Killah
  • Second verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Third verse: RZA
  • Bridge: Ghostface Killah
Black Moes-Art 4:25
3 "One"
  • Verses: Ghostface Killah
  • Hook: T.M.F.
  • Outro: Ghostface Killah, T.M.F.
Juju 3:46
4 "Saturday Nite"
  • Ghostface Killah
Carlos Broady 1:39
5 "Ghost Deini"
  • First verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Second verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Third verse: Superb
RZA 4:05
6 "Apollo Kids"
  • First verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Chorus: Ghostface Killah
  • Second verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Third verse: Raekwon
Hassan 3:54
7 "The Grain"
  • First verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Second verse: RZA
  • Chorus: RZA, Ghostface Killah
  • Third verse: RZA, Ghostface Killah
RZA 2:34
8 "Buck 50"
  • First verse: Method Man
  • Second verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Third verse: Cappadonna
  • Fourth verse: Redman
  • Refrain: Method Man
  • Fifth verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Sixth verse: Method Man
RZA
  • Contains a sample of "Hard Times" by Baby Huey
4:02
9 "Mighty Healthy"
  • Ghostface Killah
Mathematics
  • Contains a sample of "Wish That I Could Talk to You" by The Sylvers
  • Contains a sample of "Synthetic Substitution" by Melvin Bliss
  • Contains a sample of "Funky President" by James Brown
  • Contains a sample of "Nobody Beats the Biz" by Biz Markie
  • Contains a sample of "Holy War (Live)" by Divine Force
  • Contains dialogue from "Shaolin Rescuers"
3:21
10 "Woodrow the Base Head"
(skit)
  • Superb, Ghostface Killah
RZA
  • Contains a sample of "All Your Goodies are Gone" by Parliament
3:04
11 "Stay True" Inspectah Deck 1:39
12 "We Made It"
  • First verse: Superb
  • Second verse: Chip Banks
  • Third verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Fourth verse: Hell Razah
  • Outro: Ghostface Killah
Carlos Broady
  • Contains a sample of "I Hate I Walked Away" by Syl Johnson
4:37
13 "Stroke of Death"
  • First verse: Solomon Childs
  • Second verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Third verse: RZA
RZA
  • Contains a sample of "Ain't No Sunshine" by Harlem Underground Band
1:56
14 "Iron's Theme - Intermission" (Intermission)
  • Ghostface Killah, RZA
RZA 1:30
15 "Malcolm"
  • Ghostface Killah
Choo the Specializt 4:15
16 "Who Would You Fuck"
(skit)
  • Superb, Hell Razah, RZA
RZA
  • Contains a sample of "Rain, Rain, Go Away" by Bob Azzam
2:44
17 "Child's Play"
  • Ghostface Killah
RZA 3:33
18 "Cherchez La Ghost"
  • First verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Chorus: Madam Majestic, U-God
  • Second verse: U-God
Carlos Bess 3:11
19 "Wu Banga 101"
  • First verse: GZA
  • Second verse: Ghostface Killah
  • Third verse: Raekwon
  • Fourth verse: Cappadonna
  • Fifth verse: Masta Killa
  • Sixth verse: Ghostface Killah
Mathematics 4:23
20 "Clyde Smith" (skit)
  • Raekwon
RZA 2:40
21 "Iron's Theme - Conclusion" (Conclusion)
  • Ghostface Killah
RZA
  • Contains a sample of "Free Again" by Gap Mangione
1:58
  • Original version of "Ghost Deini" contained a sample which was refused clearance. This version found its way onto an album sampler. The beat was used earlier on the track "Bastards" Ruthless Bastards which can be found on the album Wu-Tang Killa Bees: The Swarm. The U.S. version of "Ghost Deini" was produced by The Blaqesmiths, while the international version was produced by RZA.
  • The song "Wise (In the Rain)", which during recording had Ghostface crying because of the emotional lyrics, was left off entirely from the album.

Personnel[edit]

Performers[edit]

Production[edit]

Charts[edit]

Accolades[edit]

  • The information regarding accolades is adapted from acclaimedmusic.net,[5]except for lists with additional sources.
  • (*) signifies unordered lists
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Addicted to Noise United States Albums of the Year 2000 23
Alternative Press Albums of the Year 2000 14
The A.V. Club Top 50 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2009 28
The Boombox Top 10 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2009 3
CokeMachineGlow Top 100 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2010 2
Complex The Top 100 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2009 8
Delusions of Adequacy Top 100 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2010 15
eMusic Top 100 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2009 6
FACT United Kingdom Top 100 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2009 83
Hip-Hop Connection The 100 Greatest Rap Albums 1995-2005 2005 2
HipHopDX United States Top 10 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2009 *
NME United Kingdom Albums of the Year 2000 36
One Thirty BPM United States Top 100 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2010 86
Pitchfork Media The 100 Best Albums of 2000-2004 2005 19
The 200 Best Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2009 11
Playground Spain The 200 Best Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2009 10
Porcys Poland Top 100 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2010 65
Rhapsody United States Hip-Hop's Best Albums of the Decade[23] 2009 2
Rock de Lux Spain The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2009 24
Rolling Stone United States Top 25 Hip-Hop Albums Ever (by Chris Rock)[24] 2005 14
Top 50 Albums of 2000[25] 2001 *
Slant Magazine Top 250 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2010 59
Spin Albums of the Year 2000 11
Stylus Magazine The 50 Best Albums of 2000-2004 2005 8
Top 101-200 Albums of All time 2004 179
Top 100 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2010 27
Treble Top 150 Albums of the 2000s (decade) 2010 82
URB Top 110 Albums of the 2000s (decade)[26] 2009 *
Vibe Top 10 Rap Albums[27] 2002 10
The Village Voice Albums of the Year 2000 14
The Wire 50 Records Of The Year[28] 2001 *

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bonanno, Jonathan. Return of the Dragan. The Source. March 2000. P:208. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  2. ^ Mancini, Robert. Santana Reclaims Number One As Ghostface Arrives. MTV. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  3. ^ RIAA search: Supreme Clientele. RIAA. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bonanno, Jonathan. Last Man Standing. The Source. March 2000. P:215. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  5. ^ a b Supreme Clientele Album Accolades. acclaimedmusic.net. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  6. ^ Horowitz, Stephen J. (February 19, 2013). "Ghostface Killah Confirms "Supreme Clientele 2" & MF DOOM LPs For 2013, Talks Wu-Tang Clan Reunion Album". Hip Hop DX. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ Bonanno, Jonathan. Return of the Dragan. The Source. March 2000. P:207-208. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  8. ^ Bonanno, Jonathan. Return of the Dragan. The Source. March 2000. P:207. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  9. ^ Bonanno, Jonathan. Last Man Standing. The Source. March 2000. P:212. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  10. ^ Superb Backs Tony Yayo's Statements Regarding Ghostface Killah. hhpulse.com. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  11. ^ Tony Yayo Accuses Ghostface of Having Ghost Writers. shoutmouth.com. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  12. ^ Kuperstein, Slava. Ghostface Killah tells Tony Yayo to "Suck a Fat D--k". hiphopdx.com. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  13. ^ a b DiBella, M.F. Review: Supreme Clientele. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
  14. ^ a b c d e Columnist. Review snipets: Supreme Clientele. mymusic.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert.Review: Supreme Clientele. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
  16. ^ a b Seymour, Craig.Review: Supreme Clientele. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
  17. ^ Baker, Soren.Review: Supreme Clientele. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
  18. ^ a b Pace, Mike.Review: Supreme Clientele.PopMatters. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
  19. ^ http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lRgtYCC6OUwC&pg=PA322&dq=rolling+stone+gang+starr&cd=1&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=wu%20tang&f=false Page 330
  20. ^ a b Jones, Steve.Review: Supreme Clientele. USA Today. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
  21. ^ a b Blackspot, The.Review: Supreme Clientele. Vibe. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
  22. ^ a b c d e "Artist Chart History - Ghostface Killah". Billboard. 
  23. ^ "Hip-Hop’s Best Albums of the Decade" Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  24. ^ Rock, Chris.Top 25 Hip-Hop Albums Ever. Rolling Stone. 2005.
  25. ^ Columnist. Top 50 Albums of 2000. Rolling Stone. Page 108, 2001. Rolling Stone.
  26. ^ Best 110 of the Decade List. URB. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  27. ^ Columnist. Top 10 Rap Albums of the Year. Vibe. Page 109, 2002.
  28. ^ Columnist. 50 Records Of The Year. The Wire. Page 34, 2001.

External links[edit]