Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (soundtrack)

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The soundtrack of the 1999 Jim Jarmusch film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai features an original score by RZA and also features hip-hop songs by such artists as Wu-Tang Clan, Killah Priest, and Public Enemy. Two soundtrack albums were released, one internationally and another in Japan, each with different song mixes, some of which do not appear in the film. There are many songs, however, that can be heard in the film that appear on neither soundtrack album.[citation needed] It is the first of RZA's fully scored film works.

Soundtrack album[edit]

Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai – The Album
Soundtrack album by
RZA, various artists
ReleasedApril 11, 2000
GenreHip hop
LabelRazor Sharp, Epic, SME
RZA, various artists chronology
RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo
Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai – The Album

The song soundtrack features music from the film as well as quotations from Hagakure: the Book of the Samurai by Tsunetomo Yamamoto (translated into English by William Scott Wilson) as read by Forest Whitaker in the voice of the title character. However, the focus of this album is on the songs, not the instrumental score of the movie.

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau gave the album an "A–" grade and called it "hip-hop as mystery, beauty, pleasure—as idealized aural environment." He said that RZA uses vocals musically, as the lyrical content is acceptable but not important, and that the album is more efficient than Curtis Mayfield's Superfly and John Lurie's Get Shorty in "the essential soundtrack service of consistent background listenability."[1] Christgau ranked it the seventh best album of the year in his list for the annual Pazz & Jop critics poll.[2] In a retrospective review, Allmusic's Matt Whalley gave Ghost Dog four stars and was disappointed that "so few people got to hear" the album, which he felt was "prime RZA".[3]

Track listing
  1. "Samurai Code Quotation" – Forest Whitaker
  2. "Strange Eyes" – Sunz of Man/12 O'Clock/Blue Raspberry
  3. "4 Sho Sho" – Northstar/RZA/Blue Raspberry
  4. "Zip Code" – Black Knights
  5. "Samurai Code Quotation" – Forest Whitaker
  6. "Cakes" – Kool G Rap
  7. "Samurai Code Quotation" – Forest Whitaker
  8. "Don't Test/Wu Stallion" – Suga Bang Bang
  9. "Walking Through the Darkness" – Tekitha
  10. "The Man" – Masta Killa/Superb
  11. "Samurai Code Quotation" – Forest Whitaker
  12. "Walk The Dogs" – Royal Fam/La the Darkman
  13. "Stay With Me" – Melodie/12 O'Clock
  14. "East New York Stamp" – Jeru the Damaja and Afu-Ra
  15. "Samurai Code Quotation" – Forest Whitaker
  16. "Fast Shadow" – Wu-Tang Clan
  17. "Samurai Code Quotation" – Forest Whitaker
  18. "Samurai Showdown" – RZA
  19. "Samurai Code Final Quotation" – Forest Whitaker

Film score[edit]

Music from the Motion Picture Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai
Film score by
RZA, various artists
ReleasedNovember 20, 2001
GenreHip hop
LabelJVC Records
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars link

The score release, only available in Japan, focuses on the original instrumental score of the movie, featuring tracks that are not on the US release. It also includes cuts by Wu-Tang Clan and RZA that are not in the movie.

Track listing
  1. "Ghost Dog Theme (W/Dogs & EFX)"
  2. "Opening Theme (Raise Your Sword Instrumental)"
  3. "Flying Birds"
  4. "Samurai Theme"
  5. "Gangsters Theme"
  6. "Dead Birds"
  7. "Fast Shadow (Version 1)" – by Wu-Tang Clan
  8. "RZA #7"
  9. "Funky Theme"
  10. "RZA's Theme"
  11. "Samurai Showdown (Raise Your Sword)" – by RZA
  12. "Ghost Dog Theme"
  13. "Fast Shadow (Version 2)" – by Wu-Tang Clan*
  14. "Untitled #8"*
  15. "Untitled #12 (Free Jazz)"*
  16. "Wu-World Order (Version 1)" – by Wu-Tang Clan feat. La The Darkman*
  • *not used in the film

Other songs in the film[edit]

A number of songs appear in the film but are on neither soundtrack album release. They include the following:


  1. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 30, 2000). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  2. ^ "Pazz & Jop 2000: Dean's List". The Village Voice. New York. February 2001. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  3. ^ Whalley, Matt. "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai - RZA". Allmusic. Retrieved August 4, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]