The Wu-Tang Clan has only put out five albums by itself, but its members have been prolific with solo work. None more so than Ghostface Killah, who released his ninth solo album, “Apollo Kids,” last month.
As was often the case with the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface prefers to keep things sounding old school without relying too much on electronic toys. Part of his old school hip-hop approach involves sampling songs from multiple genres including soul, rock and Indian music.
The best use of sampling occurs in the track “Ghetto,” where Ghostface samples the classic R&B song “Woman of the Ghetto” by Marlena Shaw to great effect. The song also features fellow Wu-Tang member Raekwon adding a verse (Raekwon is jokingly referenced by The Game in the song “Drama” when he says “when I’m in the kitchen, pretending to be Raekwon”).
Other successful samples include the use of Johnny Thunder’s “I’m Alive” in the song “In Tha Park” and Asha Bhosle’s “Jogan Ban Gayiu” in the track “Black Tequila.” Granted, using a song by a Bollywood actress in a Mexican-themed song might not be geographically accurate, but it gets the job done.
Part of the reason why the Wu-Tang Clan is revered in pop culture is because of its frequent references to pop culture, including kung-fu and sci-fi films. This aspect of Ghostface’s taste is present in the short but amusing “Starkology.” The “Star Wars” theme song is sampled and a series of R2-D2 beeps and whirs line the verses.
Ghostface doesn’t break any new ground lyrically, but his approach stays in key with the old-school attitude. There are several moments when the lyrics are handled poorly, such as Jim Jones’ guest verse in the awkwardly titled “Handcuffin’ Them Hoes,” but for the most part, “Apollo Kids” will please Ghostface fans.