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Supreme Clientele – 10 Years Later
April 2, 2010 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Supreme Clientele – 10 Years Later

Also: Ghostface Killah on dental hygiene. (audio nsfw)
posted by Joe Beese (25 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jesus I can't believe that record's ten years old already.

It's interesting that the author mentions Nas as being influenced on Illmatic by Rakim and Kool G Rap and calls Ghost's "conversational" style (as he calls it) a wholly unique invention. If there's anybody Ghostface sounds like when he's rapping that way, it's late-period Nas.
posted by penduluum at 4:14 PM on April 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Who's the Boss when it comes to these raps?
posted by paisley henosis at 4:20 PM on April 2, 2010


I love hiphop journalism.

It's probably going to be about another 10 years before people start simply accepting that hiphop has broken into divergent forms and "hiphop is dead" is really the result trying to slam 3-5 different genres under the same name.

With that said, even though the mid-90's was my favorite era for hiphop, there's been a lot of good stuff dropping in the last 3 years... Being freed from publishing companies, the narrow channel of radio and cable, has made it a golden era for underground folks to just put out whatever they're into and get it out to people.
posted by yeloson at 4:23 PM on April 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, then, yeloson, please point me the way of this good stuff from the last few years. The last hip hop album that I truly loved was I'll Sleep When You're Dead. The more "indie" hip hop I've been hearing in the last few years is more experimental than pleasing. POS's most recent album was roundly hailed for its boundary pushing, but I think his earlier work just sounds better.
posted by Edgewise at 4:34 PM on April 2, 2010


The only other song on the album I haven’t mentioned is “Stroke of Death,” which was a late inclusion after the track list was shuffled multiple times due to bootlegging. It’s unfortunate that it made the cut though, because it has just about the worst beat in the history of rap music. You know that horrible sound a turntable makes when someone who doesn’t know how to scratch jokingly scratches a record? It’s basically that on repeat for 2 minutes.

Ha, yeah that track is pretty much unlistenable.
posted by burnmp3s at 4:35 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not gonna lie: as much as I love Supreme Clientele--and I love me some Supreme Clientele--I think Fishscale is the best thing Ghost has done so far.
posted by Rangeboy at 4:36 PM on April 2, 2010


Edgewise: cf:
busdriver
cadence weapon
cool kids
aloe blacc
wale
Phil Ade
88keys

I could go on.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:54 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


oh god, when i saw this i was gripped with fear: "no, it couldn't be that supreme clientele..." aw crap i'm old.
posted by johnnybeggs at 4:56 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


If there's anybody Ghostface sounds like when he's rapping that way, it's late-period Nas.

Maybe at first blush, but I think Nas is more calculating with where he's going in his verse, where Ghost is, as the article notes, "throwing darts." Between Ghost and Rae, I find the impenetrable slang they're tossing around never really gets stale. Even ten years gone, I'm picking up things I hadn't heard before, finding new twists to the lyrics, and nooks and crannies in the verses I never new existed.

Fun fact: my five most listened to cuts on my iTunes playlist, which ranges from classic jazz to country, classic rock to hip hop, are:

1) Ghostface's "Kilo"
2) Whiskeytown's "Houses on the Hill"
3) Whiskeytown's "Dreams"
4) Ghostface's "Shakey Dog" (the spiritual cousin to "Spot Rusherz" off of Cuban Linx)
5) Whiskeytown's "16 Days" (I swear to god I have hundreds of albums. Really.)

Anyway, if you pressed me to draw a parallel between Ghost and Ryan Adams, and you'd really have to press me to do so, it'd be that they both understand the power of naked emotion in their delivery. Getting back to penduluum's assertion above, that Ghost sounds like late-period Nas, I kinda tend to think he owes ODB a pretty significant debt for showing him there's a swagger you can rock that defies what's expected in the marketplace. Too many similar-sounding rappers with too many similar-sounding verses in the late 90s. It's where the cash was. Ghost wasn't afraid to talk about whatever the fuck he wanted to talk about, no matter how it may fly in the face of the wanna-be ballers recording in the same period.

I keep coming back to "Holla," off Pretty Toney as an example of what I think Ghost does best. Verse opens up with a take on your standard tropes (:

I'm from a place where fish was made
Cordoroy Baley's, sportin' those Rakim caves
Rakeem came, high self asteem promised me
A moment in life, just to wreck yall lames
Throw the Tec to your brain, puttin' the best to shame
This is Theodore, best to tuck those Dana Dane's
See me comin' (blaow!) start runnin' and (blaow! blaow!)
Aiyo... (blaow! blaow! blaow!)
Who them fly niggaz when we walk through the party
Pimp talk with the Mac strapped to our body
Bartender's nervous, afraid to serve us, bad service
(OHHLA.com)

But it gets down to the point with a simple declaration that all he knows is love, grounded in what sounds like the soul music of the ancients (The Delfonics, who do that soul-music-of-the-ancients thing as well as anyone) rolling into the chorus:

Ask 'Donna, word in the town, we the realest dudes
We don't need no diamonds rings
All we need is a drum, like, fuck it, he can rhyme, I'll sing
And in my Yankee hat, you can drop five beans
And then run back to momma, like, all I know is..

[Chorus: Allah Real]
Holla holla holla.. if you want to, I love you


Look, I know Ghost isn't the only one using soul music, or scrubbing the glossy veneer off his persona intentionally, but he's absolutely the best at it. And not only is he the best, but the way he takes his rhyme into the crescendo of the chorus, singing his way into it, man... Where else are you getting something that feels as authentic and honest as this? Ghost pushes the last verse with a sort of vulnerable urgency:

Dirty told me to rock the spot (yeah)
Freak the beats cuz the streets is raw (go 'head)
Don't believe what you see, just watch (true)
Speak to the seeds, give 'em lead on jobs (come on)
Educate, keep it peace wit Gods (that's right)
In return, happiness in globs (yeah)
We see the future like a psychic's palm

[Allah Real]
The things I'm saying are true
And the way I explain them to you, yes to you
Listen to me


And then, of course, the next track off the album is the self-referential club banger "Ghostface." I mean, you've gotta sell records, right? The guy's got fastballs, curves, and off-speed pitches for days. I'm a huge fan, and can't believe we're ten years beyond Clientele. I probably fell in love with the Wu hearing Method Man's "Bring the Pain," but Ghost's ability to show me his heart in his verses feels unique, and has only strengthened my love of hip-hop as I've grown older. He just feels adult, but not in that rated R for violence and mature content sort of way, you know?
posted by GamblingBlues at 4:59 PM on April 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


Not gonna lie: as much as I love Supreme Clientele--and I love me some Supreme Clientele--I think Fishscale is the best thing Ghost has done so far.

Not even Ghostface thinks that. SC is second. The best work Ghostface did was on OB4CL. He stole every track he was on, except verbal intercourse (nas, barely) and guillotine swordz (ins, easily). His verse on criminology is one of the best hip hop verses of all time. Nothing on fishscale even approaches that verse.

With that said, SC is the last great Wu album and one of the last great hip hop albums of all time. This is the Blueprint to Jay-z's Blueprint. Even Kanye said he made the beats that appeared on Blueprint with Ghostface in mind.

Ghostface was diagnosed with diabetes and sobered up after this. He quit dust and put down the culture ciphers. That's good for him, but his music was just never the same after this album. After this we got that abortion Bulletproof Wallets and it's been inconsistent since.
posted by milarepa at 5:31 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


GamblingBlues: Look, I know Ghost isn't the only one using soul music, or scrubbing the glossy veneer off his persona intentionally, but he's absolutely the best at it.

I dunno about that--I would say DOOM is as good or better at the scrubbing off the veneer bit. DOOM and Ghost are really similar in a lot of ways, really, which is why heads were hyped about their planned collab Swift & Changeable. I don't think that material is ever gonna come out, though, other than Angelz and the track on that GTA game.

Supreme Clientele is good, but I don't think Ghost ever topped Ironman.
posted by joedan at 5:31 PM on April 2, 2010


He is still the best rapper currently working, half on past glories and half on the glimpses of what he can still do. He's followed closely by Raekwon.

There is nothing out there that gives the same feeling of... just fucking WOW that "Shakey Dog" does. It's the absolute pinnacle.
posted by fire&wings at 5:40 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love him too.

But if you want to be academic about it: why is he so popular with the white folks?
posted by zonkers at 7:20 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


But if you want to be academic about it: why is he so popular with the white folks?

Because hip hop hasn't been a strictly "black" form of music for a very long time, old man.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:08 PM on April 2, 2010


I'm sorry, that was more dismissive than I needed to be. Here's a real answer: he's not popular with "white folks", he's popular with a certain subset of hip hop fans who favor the stripped down, lyrically complex style that was popular in the 90s and is still at the forefront of a lot of underground rap. These people might also be likely to be music fans in general and what you might characterize as "indie" types, who you might conflate with "white folks", but you'd be wrong. There are plenty of black kids into underground and cerebral rap too.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:13 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


milarepa: . After this we got that abortion Bulletproof Wallets and it's been inconsistent since.

If you listen to "Flowers" with the original beat, and add the cut track "The Sun" (with Slick Rick) back in, the album improves greatly. They're both out there on a number of mixtapes; putting them in the playlist where they belong makes a huge difference.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:17 PM on April 2, 2010


As for great, recent (more recent than Fishscale) Ghost tracks: Guest House from Ghostdini (Fab really isn't helping at all, but none the less), and Pimpin' Cipp from Wu-Massacre (not yet on YouTube, apparently) are both terrific Ghost stories.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:25 PM on April 2, 2010


Ghostface found my friend's cellphone in a cab -- he called somebody in her phonebook and managed to get directions to her on where to pick it up. She went in the next day and met the entourage, but she didn't get to meet Ghost in person.

I could go on.

*gank*
Last Sunday I took my piggy bank to the Coinstar at Mi Puebla and got a $29.12 iTunes gift certificate. Why you ask? So I could log on to Metafilter and have Potomac Avenue write me a playlist.
posted by eddydamascene at 8:29 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Who?

Did what?

Is this something I'd need a _________to care about?
posted by Splunge at 9:16 PM on April 2, 2010


How can I move the crowd?
Yes, I would like to know!
First of all, no mistakes allowed
But it's my first time, so...
Here's the instructions. Put it together
Wait, hold on, let me get a pen.
Simple ain't it? But quite clever
Nooo I missed it! Can you run it down again?
posted by ignignokt at 11:19 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


burnmp3s: "Ha, yeah that track is pretty much unlistenable."

Fucking a that is the first hiphop track with a beat I love that I have heard in fucking ages.
posted by idiopath at 12:59 AM on April 3, 2010



If you listen to "Flowers" with the original beat , and add the cut track "The Sun" (with Slick Rick) back in, the album improves greatly. They're both out there on a number of mixtapes; putting them in the playlist where they belong makes a huge difference.


I hear you, and if we add all the Lost Tapes tracks to Nastradamus, it would be an amazing album. But it's not so it's not.
posted by milarepa at 4:58 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Readers of this thread might find this link of interest.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:13 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


He's followed closely by Raekwon.

eh, chef's got to cook up something good that is not a cuban link that has assists from ghostface.
posted by the aloha at 1:21 PM on April 3, 2010


Re: Rap City spat with Big Tigger, I always thought it was a reenactment of Joe Pesci's iconic scene in Casino and an attempt at levity
posted by godisdad at 11:19 PM on April 6, 2010


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