Wu-Tang 25: Quarter Century of Shaolin is a year-long series celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

What other rapper says supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and then says it backwards?

Ghostface Killah is the best rapper in the Wu-Tang Clan. Let’s break it down.

Remember back in 2014, The Pudding put out a study/ranking of rappers based on their vocabulary? It showed that Wu as a group, and 5 of them individually were highly ranked, including Ghost. Now it’s one thing to know a lot of words, its another to understand what words to use and how to use them. I keep coming back to his verse on 4th Chamber off GZA’s Liquid Swords. 

The only man a ho wait for
Is the sky-blue Bally kid, in ’83 rocked Tale Lords
My Memorex performed tape decks, my own Fostex
Watch out for Haiti bitches, I heard they throw hex
Yo, Wu whole platoon is filled with raccoons
Corner-sitting wine niggas sipping Apple Boone
This ain’t no white cartoon
‘Cause I be ducking crazy spades
The kid hold white shit like blacks rock ashy legs
Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet?
Why did Judas rat to Romans while Jesus slept?
Stand up, you’re out of luck like two dogs stuck
Ironman be sipping rum, out of Stanley Cups, unflammable
Noriega, aiming nozzles stay windy in Chicago
Spine-tingle, mind boggles
Kangols in rainbow colors, promoters try to hold dough
Give me mine before Po wrap you up in so-and-so
I ran the Dark Ages, Constantine the Great, Henry the 8th
Built with Genghis Khan, the red suede Wally Don

“Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? Why did Judas rat to Romans while Jesus slept?” Jesus, that’s amazing. On top of the assonance at the beginning and the end of the verse, he definitely stole the show on that song. Another verse that sticks out is on Criminology off Rae’s Cuban Linx 1:

Yo, (“Blow!”) first of all son, peep the arson
Many brothers I be sparking and busting mad light inside the dark
Call me dough snatcher, just the brother for the rapture
I hang glide, holding on strong, hard to capture
Extravagant, RZA bake the track and it’s militant
Then I react, like a convict, and start killing shit
It’s manifested, the Gods work like appliances
Dealing in my cypher I revolve around sciences
The 9th chamber, leave you trapped inside my hallway
You try to flee but you got smoked up by the doorway
No question, I send your ass back, right to the essence
Your whole frame is smothered in dirt, now how you resting
While I’ll be trapped by sounds, locked behind loops
Throwing niggas off airplanes cause cash rules
Everything around me, black, as you can see
Swallow this murder one verse like God Degree
Then analyze my soundtrack for satisfaction
You adapt like a flashback chain reaction

“Dealing in my cypher I revolver around sciences” freezes me up every time I hear it. I can be doing my dishes, or folding my laundry, but when he starts that line, I stop what I’m doing. Once he finishes, I’m back to whatever I was doing. Double entendre, with five percenter knowledge, to boot. Speaking of Cuban Linx, this is what separates Ghost from everyone else. It’s Rae’s album, but he’s all over it as well, appearing in all but four songs. Not only is he prominent in one of the best Wu solo albums, he has one of the other best Wu solo albums as well. 

Supreme Clientele is released in 2000, when as previously mentioned, hip-hop is transitioning into a new era of music and popularity. Yet Ghost embraces the change, and evolves his style to fit, while still satisfying the hardcore Wu fans. Just listen to Nutmeg, for example. He’s actively rapping against the beat, trying to fill the empty space with syllables. When he raps, “Dick made the cover now count, how many veins on it/ Scooby snack jurassic plastic gas booby trap”, does anyone know why these lines are together? Does he? It doesn’t matter.

What if you want rhymes to actually have a tangible meaning? Well he has a whole album of storytelling. Twelve Reasons To Die I is still one of his best albums. Speaking of albums, let’s take a look at his discography.

  • Ironman (1996)
  • Supreme Clientele (2000)
  • Bulletproof Wallets (2001)
  • The Pretty Toney Album (2004)
  • Fishscale (2006)
  • More Fish (2006)
  • The Big Doe Rehab (2007)
  • Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City (2009)
  • Apollo Kids (2010)
  • Twelve Reasons to Die (2013)
  • 36 Seasons (2014)
  • Twelve Reasons to Die II (2015)

Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale, More Fish, Big Doe Rehab, Apollo Kids, Twelve Reasons I, 36 Seasons, and Twelve Reasons II. That is nine albums that range from good to amazing. It could be 10 depending on how you view Ghostdini, his R&B album. Plus, we aren’t even counting the collabo albums he did which have some material that also ranges from good to great. One of the most diverse lyricist, with a distinctive voice and flow, who has his fingerprints one two of the best Wu solo albums, and a career that spans over 20 years with bonafide classics. Some of the other members may match some of those accolades, but none of them can even surpass one of them. Ghostface is the best rapper in the Wu-Tang Clan.

Next Chamber: What is the best Wu-Tang solo album?