That’s My Jam is a weekly feature where one person from the Selective Hearing staff goes to wax poetic about music that is pivotal to their musical tastes. Whether that would be an album, a song, or anything in-between. We all had to start somewhere.
Released January 25, 2000
- Nutmeg feat. RZA
- Saturday Nite
- Ghost Deini feat. Superb
- Apollo Kids feat. Raekwon
- The Grain feat. RZA
- Buck 50 feat. Method Man, Cappadonna and Redman
- Mighty Healthy
- Woodrow the Base Head (Skit)
- Stay True feat. 60 Second Assassin
- We Made It feat. Superb, Chip Banks and Hell Razah
- Stroke of Death feat. RZA and Solomon’s Child
- Iron’s Theme – Intermission
- Who Would You Fuck (Skit)
- Child’s Play
- Cherchez La Ghost feat. U-God and Madam Majestic
- Wu Banga 101 feat. GZA, Raekwon, Cappadonna and Masta Killah
- Clyde Smith (Skit)
- Iron’s Theme – Conclusion
For years, a recurring conversation hip-hop heads like to have is, “What is the best solo Wu-Tang album?” The debate would be narrowed down to two albums: GZA’s Liquid Swords and Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, until Ghostface Killah released Supreme Clientele.
It’s been said before, Ghostface is the most consistent member of the Wu-Tang, and Supreme Clientele is exhibit A. The album was released during the second wave of solo Wu-Tang albums, and by this time RZA stopped handling the entire production of the solo projects. It isn’t a coincidence that when the members began introducing other producers for their later albums, those albums couldn’t match the quality of their first albums because RZA wasn’t doing everything. He knew how to make his brethren sound right and played to their strengths. Ghostface bucks that trend.
His first album, Ironman isn’t anything to snuff at. Matter of fact, it’s a quality album in its own right. But, Supreme Clientele is the superior release. The album also out-classes other Wu-Tang solo albums of its era, and while RZA did produce half of the album (along with mixing and mastering the album), Ghost brought in outside producers and still was able to make the album sound like a RZA-produced album from 1997.
Ghost’s rhyming style has oft-kilter wordplay, non-sequiturs, and lines that come off as just absurd or funny. But, he delivers his lines with so much confidence that he overcomes any questions and makes believers of the listeners. Like on Buck 50 when he says “Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious” then spits it backwards. He isn’t saying anything there, he’s probably just filling in space. Yet, the execution is impressive, it ends up not mattering why he said it. Or on Mighty Healthy he says with all honesty, “You goddamn right I fuck fans” or on Child’s Play where he ad-libs:
You’d just come in school for half days, and all that/
Just to see that little girl right there/
Go home and think about it, you nah meen?/
May hump the bed sometimes on her, you nah meen?/
By itself, it’s hilarious. But with the context of the song about a crush he had in school, and how it’s said earnestly, he makes it work in a way only Tony Starks can.
If there was a flaw, it’s the skits. They don’t add anything to the album, and make the album longer than it should be. The Iron Man TV show samples for the intro, intermission, and conclusion are just perfect. Some may see the sheer amount of songs as a negative as well. I don’t think Supreme Clientele would be what it is if any songs were removed. There isn’t a dull moment here.
If you are a longtime Wu-Tang, take solace that Supreme Clientele has aged well. If you consumed 36 Chambers and were wondering where else to listen, Supreme Clientele would be time well spent.