The Score: Ghostface Killah, "Apollo Kids"

Tuesday, Dec 21, 2010 2:20PM

Written by J. Bachelor

Buy Now
  • Apollo Kids
  • Ghostface Killah
  • December 21, 2010
Planet Ill 3.5/5
Slant Magazine 4/5
Sputnik Music 4/5
411 Mania 8/10
The AV Club 9/10

The "Wally Champ" is back. Ghostface Killah closes out the year with the release of his ninth solo album Apollo Kids landing in stores today. 

Apollo Kids borrows its title from the lead single of Ghostface's 2000 Gold-selling album, Supreme Clientele.

After releasing offbeat R&B exploration "Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City" last year, Wu-Tang Clan MC Ghostface Killah returns to creating pummeling street rap with "Apollo Kids," his ninth studio album set for a Dec. 21 release. Taking its title from a track on his 2000 classic "Supreme Clientele," the album finds the rapper (real name: Dennis Coles) once again relying on his obtuse wordplay and delicious soul samples. "Apollo Kids" also boasts impressive roster of guest rappers, including Busta Rhymes, The Game, Jim Jones and more than a few of Ghost's Wu-Tang brethren. They all add to the rap-for-rap's-sake vibe of the album, with tracks like "Superstar" and "Starkology" featuring little more than a few flowing verses and a grimy beat to match.(Billboard)

Following the tradition of his previous releases, several Clan members and Wu-Tang affiliates, including Raekwon and Killa Priest, emerge to share the mic with Ghost.

Fortunately, the guests, which range in skill from GZA and Raekwon to Game and Jim Jones, only serve to lessen the album's worth from "great" to "good". The actual songs resemble short highlights from his better albums doubled in length. "Superstar" feels like it could have ended at the 2 minute mark, before Busta Rhymes's verse comes in. "Handcuffin Them H*es" (what a title) could have been a minute long interlude between two songs on "Supreme Clientele". "Purified Thoughts" feels over before Killah Priest's verse begins. It's a mixed blessing--half of the songs would have been better at half their length, but they are still good songs. (411 Mania)

Ghost allowed a few new kids on the block cut their beat-crafting teeth on his new release.

Ultimately, Ghost returns in lovely fashion, surprisingly upbeat and old school. He works with mostly underground producers like Frank Dukes or new jacks including Minneapolis rookie Yakub, who produces the fantastic lead single "2getherBaby". It opens with the searing "Purified Thoughts" where Ghostface announces "let the Imam pray over my head" as if he's about to began a sermon before he tells you to "catch me in a little hut in Benin, village style feeding mad children," featuring guest shots from GZA and Wu's longtime affiliate Killah Priest. It closes with the highly energetic "Troublemakers" with Raekwon, Method Man and Redman, all sounding rejuvenated bouncing off each other with crispy production by Jake One. (Reviler)

Recently, "Tony Starks" shared his anticipation for the LP's launch.

The track opens with an uninterrupted soul sample. It's notable in its lushness, sweet sentiment and old school feel. Of course, that's all before the actual beat drops and turns the whole song into a menacing Wu-Tang banger that would feel right at home on 'Ironman' or 'Supreme Clientele.' Ghost again reveals his unique charm on the mic, mixing battle rap, tough talk to the ladies and some mindbending wordplay while hardly taking a breath.(The Boom Box)

Although critics didn't feel that Kids embarked on new frontiers, Ghost's continuous display of style and personality on this disc still makes Apollo worth the ride.

Apollo Kids is more of the same Ghostface you've been hearing over the last 10 years. He's done this album before and better. But that shouldn't stop you from getting some of that Ziti. The rhymes are tight, the beats are dope and Ghost is Ghost. No wizardry included. (Planet Ill)
Admittedly, Apollo Kids is nothing new and innovative from Ghostface Killah, it's nothing we haven't heard before and the writing's on the wall that we'll hear it all again before too long, but when it's this inspired (even after all these years), this tantalizing, this soulful, how do we not eat it up? Everything's tight and shaped to perfection, the beats are fresh and full of life, there's no filler or unnecessary skits to wear out the skip button. All this is is hip-hop in its simplest form, street level and dirty, looking up at the skyscrapers, not standing on the edge of them looking down on you and I. Its wearing scuffed shoes and hand me down clothes, and it's exactly where it wants to be - amongst the people.(Sputnik Music)

To purchase Apollo Kids, just click here.

Preview music from the album below:

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