Apollo Kids (album)

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Apollo Kids
Studio album by Ghostface Killah
Released December 21, 2010
Recorded 2010
Red Bull Studios, Starks Studios
(Staten Island, New York)
Genre Hip hop
Length 40:53
Label Def Jam
Producer Sean C & LV, Jake One, Pete Rock, Chino Maurice, Scram Jones, Frank Dukes, Yakub, Big Mizza, Shroom, Anthony Acid
Ghostface Killah chronology
Wu-Massacre
(2010)
Apollo Kids
(2010)
Wu Block
(2012)
Wu-Tang Clan solo chronology
Meth, Ghost & Rae:
Wu-Massacre
(2010)
Apollo Kids
(2010)
Raekwon: Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang
(2011)

Apollo Kids is the ninth studio album[1] by American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan-member Ghostface Killah, released on December 21, 2010, by Def Jam Recordings.[2] Guests on the album include several Wu-Tang members and affiliates, as well as Redman, Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz, and Game, among others.

Apollo Kids is the follow-up to Ghostface's R&B-oriented Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City (2009) and serves as a return to the characteristic "Wu-Tang Sound". Ghostface Killah recorded the album at Red Bull Studios and Stark Studios in New York City. He conceived it as a mixtape for Def Jam after having recorded Blue & Cream and opting not to release it with the label.

Although it only charted at number 120 on the Billboard 200, Apollo Kids received acclaim from music critics, who praised its gritty aesthetic and Ghostface Killah's unfiltered rapping.

Background[edit]

Ghostface Killah recorded the album Blue & Cream near the end of his contact with Def Jam Recordings, but discarded it and instead offered the label Apollo Kids, which he recorded as a mixtape.[3] He later said of the exchange with Def Jam in a 2012 interview for Complex:

They wanted Supreme, I’m gassing for them to do Supreme. But I caught them niggas real quick for their bread and then gave them Apollo Kids. That was gonna be called The Warm Up, but they was like, 'Nah, I know what you're trying to do.' They caught on.[3]

Apollo Kids was recorded by him at Red Bull Studios and Starks Studios in Staten Island, New York.[4]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]
The A.V. Club A–[6]
Consequence of Sound 4.5/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly A–[8]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[9]
Pitchfork Media 7.3/10[10]
PopMatters 7/10[11]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[12]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[13]
Spin 7/10[14]

The album debuted at number 128 on the US Billboard 200 chart,[15] with first-week sales of 13,000 copies in the United States.[16] It also entered at number 28 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and at number 10 on its Rap Albums chart.[17][18]

Apollo Kids received universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 84, based on 17 reviews.[19] Allmusic's David Jeffries called it "a return to the grimey soul and stream-of-consciousness street flow of the man’s best work".[5] The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin stated, "The disc’s tightness, cohesion, and quality are even more surprising: Ghostface hasn’t sounded this hungry or focused since Fishscale [...] At its best, Ghostface’s music is about raw, visceral emotion and unfiltered rage".[6] Entertainment Weekly's Simon Vozick-Levinson viewed it as a timeless addition to Ghostface's catalogue and complimented its "jittery pulp fiction and zany free-associative zingers over scratchy soul, funk, and rock samples".[8] Rolling Stone writer Jonah Weiner stated "On track after track, he blows dust off some dirty-soul loop, with boasts as inspired as ever [...] and street-crime storytelling as vivid as ever".[12] Slant Magazine's Huw Jones complimented the album's "back-to-basics approach" and called it "a compact release that celebrates the staples of vintage rap music and, more specifically, vintage Wu".[13]

David Amidon of PopMatters stated "it feels like a work of boundless energy", but is, "essentially, the safest and most accessible album yet from Ghostface Killah, often hinting at the associative insanity he’s capable of without ever fully taking us there".[11] Pitchfork Media's Ian Cohen noted a "lack of any sort of organizational principle" and commented that "basically arbitrary sequencing never allows too much momentum to build", but commended Ghostface's "harried intensity" and stated "he's still an incredibly ostentatious lyricist, just one that's easier to parse".[10] MSN Music's Robert Christgau gave the album a three-star honorable mention,[20] indicating "an enjoyable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well treasure."[21] He cited "In tha Park" and "Purified Thoughts" as highlights and quipped, "Living off his past, but it's quite a past and a damned decent living".[20]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Purified Thoughts" (featuring Killah Priest & GZA) Dennis Coles, Gary Grice, Walter Reed Frank Dukes 3:31
2. "Superstar" (featuring Busta Rhymes) Coles, Trevor Smith Shroom 3:08
3. "Black Tequila" (featuring Cappadonna & Trife Diesel) Coles, Darryl Hill, Theo Bailey Frank Dukes 3:43
4. "Drama" (featuring Joell Ortiz & Game) Coles, Levar Coppin, Joell Ortiz, Jayceon Taylor Sean C & LV 4:28
5. "2getha Baby"   Coles Yakub 3:01
6. "Starkology"   Coles, Marc Shemer Scram Jones 2:25
7. "In tha Park" (featuring Black Thought) Coles, Tariq Trotter Frank Dukes 3:47
8. "How You Like Me Baby"   Coles, Peter Phillips Pete Rock 3:14
9. "Handcuffin' Them Hoes" (featuring Jim Jones) Coles, Stanley Lewis Chino Maurice 2:30
10. "Street Bullies" (featuring Shawn Wiggs, Sheek Louch & Sun God) Coles, Sean Jacobs, S. Ramsey Big Mizza 3:17
11. "Ghetto" (featuring Raekwon, Cappadonna & U-God) Anthony Caputo, Coles, Lamont Hawkins, Hill Anthony Acid 4:09
12. "Troublemakers" (featuring Raekwon, Redman & Method Man) Coles, Reggie Noble, Clifford Smith, Jake Dutton, Jake One 3:40
Sample credits
  • "Purified Thoughts" contains samples of "Am I a Good Man", written by Willie Clarke, originally performed by Them Two courtesy of The Numero Group.
  • "Superstar" contains samples of the recording "He's a Superstar" as performed by Roy Ayers, written by Roy Ayers and Myrna Williams.
  • "Black Tequila" contains samples of the recording "Jogan Ban Gayiu" as performed by Asha Bhosle, written by Anand Bakshi and Pyarelal Laxmikant.
  • "2getha Baby" contains samples of "Together" performed by The Intruders, written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff.
  • "Starkology" contains excerpts from "Theme from Star Wars" performed by David Matthews, written by David Matthews.
  • "In tha Park" contains samples of the recording "I'm Alive" performed by Johnny Thunder, written by Tommy James and Pete Lucia.
  • "How You Like Me Baby" contains samples of "Different Strokes", written by John A. Cameron and John Zachary, originally performed by Syl Johnson.
  • "Street Bullies" contains samples of the recording "You Are Just a Living Doll" performed by J. J. Barnes, written by David L. Jordan.
  • "Ghetto" contains samples of the recording "Woman of the Ghetto" as performed by Marlena Shaw, written by Richard Evans, R. Miller, and Marlena Shaw.

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Apollo Kids adapted from Allmusic.[22]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010–2011) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[23] 120
US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[24] 28
US Billboard Rap Albums[25] 10

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barshad, Amos (December 17, 2010). "Leaked: Ghostface Killah Likes His Onions Chopped Up Real Little". Vulture. New York Media. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ Apollo Kids Track listing. Def Jam. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
  3. ^ a b Ahmed, Insanul (November 17, 2012). "Interview: Ghostface Killah & Sheek Louch Talk "Wu-Block," Tour Stories, and Chris Lighty". Complex. p. 4. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Ghostface Killah - Apollo Kids CD Album". CD Universe. Muze. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Jeffries, David (December 20, 2010). Review: Apollo Kids. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-10-22.
  6. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (December 21, 2010). Review: Apollo Kids. The A.V. Club. Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
  7. ^ Robbins, Winston (January 10, 2011). "Album Review: Ghostface Killah – Apollo Kids". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Vozick-Levinson, Simon (December 30, 2010). Review: Apollo Kids. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2010-12-31.
  9. ^ Weiss, Jeff (December 21, 2010). Review: Apollo Kids. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
  10. ^ a b Cohen, Ian (January 3, 2011). Review: Apollo Kids. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2011-01-03.
  11. ^ a b Amidon, David (January 13, 2011). Review: Apollo Kids. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2011-01-13.
  12. ^ a b Weiner, Jonah (December 21, 2010). Review: Apollo Kids. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
  13. ^ a b Jones, Huw (December 20, 2010). Review: Apollo Kids. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2010-12-20.
  14. ^ Soderberg, Brandon (December 21, 2010). Review: Apollo Kids. Spin. Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
  15. ^ Billboard 200: Week of January 08, 2011 – Chart Position: 121-140. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-12-30.
  16. ^ Jacobs, Allen (December 29, 2010). Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 12/26/2010. HipHopDX. Retrieved on 2010-12-29.
  17. ^ R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Week of January 08, 2011: Chart Position: 21-30. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-12-30.
  18. ^ Rap Albums – Week of January 08, 2011. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-12-31.
  19. ^ Apollo Kids Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2010-11-21.
  20. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (April 5, 2013). "Odds and Ends 027". MSN Music. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  22. ^ Credits: Apollo Kids. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-12-20.
  23. ^ Ghostface Killah Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-12-31.
  24. ^ Ghostface Killah Album & Song Chart History – R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-12-31.
  25. ^ Ghostface Killah Album & Song Chart History – Rap Albums. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-12-31.

External links[edit]