Ghostface Killah - Apollo Kids

Album cover
Hip-hop
Def Jam Records
Ghostface Killah
Apollo Kids
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Hip-hop is a strange genre. This is even more apparent given the landscape painted by some of the names hopping off tongues across the country. You look to the radio, you’ll hear Soulja Boy and Lil’ Wayne. You look elsewhere, you’ll hear Kanye West and Jay-Z starting to let out the beginnings of their collaborated album. Each one of these names has a distinct reputation within and outside of the musical realm. When you think about names who’ve been around a long time, the members of the ever-popular Wu Tang Clan are sure to pop up here and there. One of those members is Ghostface Killah, a man with a venomous flow and a fanatical, yet undoubtedly worthy need for storytelling. Ghostface Killah is not any of those people you see burning up Billboard charts or pushing mass amounts of records, yet if you doubt his abilities on his newest offering Apollo Kids, there is sure to be some choice words for you. Combining his effortless flow and a taste for sultry soul, Apollo Kids will leave you entranced in a world of fire-spitting lyrics and catchy melodies that leaves Ghostface Killah with a pretty accessible door into his world of words.

Throughout the flowing soul-sampling of Apollo Kids, there is an essence of musicianship on the production side of things that makes this album feel less like the electro-soaked nonsense that drags down most rappers into the pits of mediocrity. While this is still a hip-hip record, the use of real sounding drums and crisply placed samples amongst the solid, yet straightforward beat structures gives this album a great foundation to build up from. From the grandiose opening of “Purified Thoughts” to the funky, oriental-based melodies of “Handcuffin’ Them Hoes”, Ghostface Killah tears through his lyrics without a hesitation. “2getha Baby” bounces back and forth between a throwback sample and GK’s classic flow against a building horn vamp, creating a night and day effect that works in the track’s advantage instead of against it.

Yet, these different backdrops don’t give GK a fake sense of security, as his tongue is as relentless as ever. It might be a bit of a downside that we never hear most of these tracks reach a definitive apex (or the album as a whole), but this album is not about the beats as much as GK’s slicing words. “Ghetto” is a reflective story about roots and the lifestyle of those in said surroundings, and he doesn’t spare any feelings about it. He tells us they might sell anything, a statement of truth in response to the question of establishing pride in the ghetto. It is a vivid picture to paint, even if the story feels familiar to most. Even if a story has been told a thousand times, the delivery is what makes you remember a particular version of it, and Ghostface Killah understands this idea.

In the end, Ghostface Killah might not go platinum like Kanye, but his integrity will stand tall with the release of the ear-pleasing Apollo Kids. If it isn’t his relentless vocal onslaught that gets you hooked on this record, the sample-laced production and crafty melodies will.

1. Purified Thoughts (feat. Killah Priest & GZA)
2. Superstar (feat. Busta Rhymes)
3. Black Tequila (feat. Cappadonna & Trife Diesel)
4. Drama (feat. Joell Ortiz & Game)
5. 2getha Baby
6. Starkology
7. In tha Park (feat. Black Thought)
8. How You Like Me Baby
9. Handcuffin' Them Hoes" (feat. Jim Jones)
10. Street Bullies (feat. Shawn Wiggs, Sheek Louch & Sun God)
11. Ghetto (feat. Raekwon, Cappadonna & U-God)
12. Troublemakers (feat. Raekwon, Redman & Method Man)
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