|Studio album by Ghostface Killah|
|Released||February 8, 2000|
New York City, New York
|Label||Epic Records, Sony, Razor Sharp|
|Ghostface Killah chronology|
|Wu-Tang Clan solo chronology|
|Singles from Supreme Clientele|
Supreme Clientele is the second studio album by 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 affiliates of what would become members of 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.
Upon its release, 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. On March 8, 2000, it was certified Gold in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). 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 was met with mostly strong reviews from music critics, despite its contrasting sound and style to that of his previous album, Ironman (1996). It was praised and noted for Ghostface Killah's obscure and creative lyricism, and for the cohesive format of production. Supreme Clientele was the most acclaimed of all the second generation Wu-Tang projects, and featured the most contributions from RZA during this era. Along with Ironman 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, and has received accolades for being one of the best albums of the 2000's decade.
Background and recording
After the release of Wu-Tang Clan's second album Wu-Tang Forever (1997), group leader RZA assigned the members to work primarily with affiliates on their up-coming solo projects, while he "called dibbs" on Ghostface Killah. 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". 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.
Recording for the album began in 1998, and took place at several studios in New York and Florida. These sessions, however, would be interrupted due to Ghostface Killah serving a prison sentence at Riker's Island for a 1995 charge he got at the Palladium nightclub in New York. 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.
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. While in Africa, the culture had an effect on Ghostface's lyrics. Unlike his acclaimed lyricism on his debut album Ironman, and Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..., Ghostface Killah rarely makes references to crime and materialism on Supreme Clientele. 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".
One of the earliest lyrics Ghostface wrote while in Africa was "Nutmeg", a song with a rhythmic, off-beat cadence. 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".
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 unfinished. As a result, he would have to use new equipment, and completely start over 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'. "
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 Supreme Clientele, as they "re-compiled" and "re-worked" the album's beats. 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." This approach would result in critical praise for its fluidity and cohesiveness.
Supreme Clientele 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 recording artists, including several members from Wu-Tang Clan. 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. Tony Yayo of G-Unit would later bring the topic back to the surface in 2006. 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".
|Los Angeles Times|||
Upon its release, Supreme Clientele received critical acclaim, with several critics 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." 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."
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."
In contrast, Craig Seymour from Entertainment Weekly gave the album a C rating and wrote negatively of its skits and long length. In his review for USA Today, Steve Jones described Supreme Clientele as a "brooding mix of lyrically dense and sonically diverse tracks." 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." 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."
|2.||"Nutmeg" (featuring RZA)||Black Moes-Art||4:25|
|4.||"Saturday Nite"||Carlos Broady||1:39|
|5.||"Ghost Deini" (featuring Superb)||RZA||4:05|
|6.||"Apollo Kids" (featuring Raekwon)||Hassan||3:54|
|7.||"The Grain" (featuring RZA)||RZA||2:34|
|8.||"Buck 50" (featuring Method Man, Cappadonna & Redman)||RZA||4:02|
|10.||"Woodrow the Base Head (skit)"||RZA||3:04|
|11.||"Stay True"||Inspectah Deck||1:39|
|12.||"We Made It" (featuring Superb, Chip Banks & Hell Razah)||Carlos Broady||4:37|
|13.||"Stroke of Death" (featuring Solomon Childs & RZA)||RZA||1:56|
|14.||"Iron's Theme - Intermission (Intermission)"||RZA||1:30|
|15.||"Malcolm"||Choo the Specializt||4:15|
|16.||"Who Would You Fuck (skit)"||RZA||2:44|
|18.||"Cherchez La Ghost" (featuring U-God)||Carlos Bess||3:11|
|19.||"Wu Banga 101" (featuring GZA, Raekwon, Cappadonna & Masta Killa)||Mathematics||4:23|
|20.||"Clyde Smith (skit)"||RZA||2:40|
|21.||"Iron's Theme - Conclusion"||RZA||1:58|
- Although various producers are credited for production in the album's liner notes, producer RZA re-worked and remixed every track on the album.
- "One" contains additional vocals by T.M.F..
- "Woodrow the Base Head" contains additional vocals by Superb.
- "Stay True" contains additional vocals by 60 Second Assassin.
- "Iron's Theme" contains additional vocals by RZA.
- "Who Would You Fuck" contains additional vocals by Superb, Hell Razah and RZA.
- "Cherchez LaGhost" contains additional vocals by Madam Majestic.
- "Clyde Smith" contains additional vocals by Raekwon.
- Sample credits
- "Intro" contains dialogue from "Iron Man Theme" by Jack Urbont.
- "Nutmeg" contains a sample of "It's Over" by Eddie Holman.
- "One" contains a sample of "You Roam When You Don't Get It at Home" by The Sweet Inspirations.
- "Saturday Nite" contains a sample of "Shine" by Lamont Dozier.
- "Ghost Deini" contains a sample of "All Night Long" by Mary Jane Girls.
- "Apollo Kids" contains a sample of "Cool Breeze" by Solomon Burke.
- "The Grain" contains samples of "The Breakdown" and "Do the Funky Penguin" by Rufus Thomas.
- "Buck 50" contains a sample of "Hard Times" by Baby Huey.
- "Mighty Healthy" contains samples of "Wish That I Could Talk to You" by The Sylvers, "Synthetic Substitution" by Melvin Bliss, "Funky President" by James Brown, "Nobody Beats the Biz" by Biz Markie and dialogue from Shaolin Rescuers.
- "Woodrow the Base Head" contains a sample of "All Your Goodies are Gone" by Parliament.
- "Stay True" contains a sample of "Terri's Tune" by David Axelrod.
- "We Made It" contains a sample of "I Hate I Walked Away" by Syl Johnson.
- "Stroke of Death" contains a sample of "Ain't No Sunshine" by Harlem Underground Band.
- "Iron's Theme - Intermission" Contains a sample of "Free Again" by Gap Mangione.
- "Malcolm" contains a sample of "Going In Circles" by Isaac Hayes and dialogue from Malcolm X's "After the Bombing" speech.
- "Who Would You Fuck" contains a sample of "Rain, Rain, Go Away" by Bob Azzam.
- "Child's Play" contains samples of "It's Over" by George Jackson, "Aretha, Sing One for Me" by George Jackson and "Long Red" by Mountain.
- "Cherchez La Ghost" contains samples of "Cherchez La Femme" by Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, "Greedy G" by Brentford All-Stars and an interpolation of "I Get Down for My Crown" by Wu-Tang Clan.
- "Wu Banga 101" contains a sample of "Queen of Tears" by Gladys Knight & The Pips.
- The information regarding accolades is adapted from acclaimedmusic.net,except for lists with additional sources.
- (*) signifies unordered lists
|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||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)||2005||14|
|Top 50 Albums of 2000||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)||2009||*|
|Vibe||Top 10 Rap Albums||2002||10|
|The Village Voice||Albums of the Year||2000||14|
|The Wire||50 Records Of The Year||2001||*|
- Bonanno, Jonathan. Return of the Dragan. The Source. March 2000. P:208. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- Mancini, Robert. Santana Reclaims Number One As Ghostface Arrives. MTV. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- RIAA search: Supreme Clientele. RIAA. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- Bonanno, Jonathan. Return of the Dragan. The Source. March 2000. P:207. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- Bonanno, Jonathan. Last Man Standing. The Source. March 2000. P:215. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- Supreme Clientele Album Accolades. acclaimedmusic.net. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- Bonanno, Jonathan. Return of the Dragan. The Source. March 2000. P:207-208. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- Bonanno, Jonathan. Last Man Standing. The Source. March 2000. P:212. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- Superb Backs Tony Yayo's Statements Regarding Ghostface Killah. hhpulse.com. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- Tony Yayo Accuses Ghostface of Having Ghost Writers. shoutmouth.com. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- Kuperstein, Slava. Ghostface Killah tells Tony Yayo to "Suck a Fat D--k". hiphopdx.com. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- DiBella, M.F. Review: Supreme Clientele. AllMusic. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- Columnist. Review snipets: Supreme Clientele. mymusic.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- Christgau, Robert.Review: Supreme Clientele. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- Seymour, Craig.Review: Supreme Clientele. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- Baker, Soren.Review: Supreme Clientele. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- Pace, Mike.Review: Supreme Clientele.PopMatters. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- Jones, Steve.Review: Supreme Clientele. USA Today. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- Blackspot, The.Review: Supreme Clientele. Vibe. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- "Artist Chart History - Ghostface Killah". Billboard.
- "Hip-Hop’s Best Albums of the Decade" Retrieved 12 January 2010.
- Rock, Chris.Top 25 Hip-Hop Albums Ever. Rolling Stone. 2005.
- Columnist. Top 50 Albums of 2000. Rolling Stone. Page 108, 2001. Rolling Stone.
- Best 110 of the Decade List. URB. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- Columnist. Top 10 Rap Albums of the Year. Vibe. Page 109, 2002.
- Columnist. 50 Records Of The Year. The Wire. Page 34, 2001.
- Supreme Clientele at Discogs
- Article at Spin
- Album review at RapReviews
- Accolades at acclaimedmusic.net