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Article Feb 4 2020 Written by

Happy 20th: Supreme Clientele

best hip hop 2000s

This album has been hailed as one of the single greatest Wu solo albums ever. Following up his debut Ironman wasn’t easy by any means. That debut, which relied heavily on Wu-mates Raekwon and Cappadonna, was a stellar album that marked the official arrival of Ghostface as his own identity within the group. Then, this album came. Complex, brilliant, and one hundred percent Wu-Tang. Easily rivaling Raekwon’s treasured Only Built 4 Cuban Linx as best Wu solo effort, this album made him a star. This salute goes to Ghostface Killah and his sophomore album, Supreme Clientele.

Hoping to capitalize on the commercial and critical success of Ironman, GFK wanted to have an album that was distinctively him. At that time, The Wu was going in a downward slump of sorts, and this album was needed to remind cats who still ran the game. While heads were open off of “Mighty Healthy”, it was the instantly hypnotic and infectious follow-up, “Cherchez La Ghost” that put him another step up. Sampling the old disco cut “Cherchez La Femme” this was an instant club smash that put the ladies AND the fellas on the floor. Complete with vocalist Madam Majestic, it became a notable Ghost classic. The remainder of the album was definitely next level Ghost. Blazers like “Nutmeg”, “Buck 50”, and the Juju of The Beatnuts-produced “One” encapsulate the star appeal Ghost was shooting for while still staying apologetically true to his origin.

What Ghost tends to always excel in is his storytelling abilities. With cuts like “Child’s Play”, “Saturday Nite”, and “Malcolm”, he executed his pen game along with his imagination to excellent craftsmanship and reaffirmed how gifted he is to be mentioned with fellow legendary storytellers such as Slick Rick and even his own Wu brethren Raekwon. While Ironman clearly was more gutter, Supreme Clientele was a star-making record. Lyrically on point even more than his debut, plus with less Rae and Cappa influence and co-hosting, Ghost was able to shine on his own for the majority of this album. Also, he was able to create a standout album that was able to uphold the tradition of the Wu, while avoiding the sophomore slump that Wu brothers such as Meth, Rae, and GZA had unfortunately endured.

Ghostface Killah has been named by most accounts the most prolific and consistent member of the Wu. Later efforts such as Bulletproof WalletsThe Pretty Tony StoryFishscales, and his collaboration with producer/composer Adrien Younge, Twelve Reasons To Die are all examples of the greatness that is Dennis Coles. With his mask on or off, GFK officially took off with Supreme Clientele. One of its most unlikely heroes to truly uphold the Wu flag, Ghost presented a monster album that remains arguably the biggest calling card of his career, and as incredible as his other projects have been, they’ve never been able to top this knockout of an album. For that, we salute Ghost and Supreme Clientele.

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I'm a thirty-something underground/old school Hip Hop head with unspeakable passion. I've followed Hip Hop culture since I first got introduced to it when I was a mere seven years of age. Among the albums that hav…

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