December 16, 2014

Ghostface Killah "Ironman" (The Source, 12/96)


"Pull out the bullhorn / Let's celebrate like Kunta was born / We elbowed our way inside Loud and got on," Ghostface Killah reminisces on Iron Man, the latest installment of the Wu saga. It's been three years since the group's debut opus, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and the rap world still shows no signs of growing tired of the Shaolin crew. Batting fifth in the Wu's solo lineup, Ghostface Killah attempts to keep the Clan's hitting streak going. Iron Man is like all the previous Wu-Tang solo albums in one sense: it's a family affair. As evidenced on the exhilarating "Daytona 500," which features original SI representatives Force MD's, Ghostface is at his best when he's armed with his right-hand man Raekwon the Chef and the constantly improving Cappadonna. But don't think that Starks can't hold his own weight. On the scathing "Wildflower," he verbally harasses an unfaithful lady-friend, and on the sucker MC-chopping "Poisonous Darts," Ghost decapitates all competition."


"Iron Man is not Cuban Linx II. Italian gangster-inspired stories have been replaced by introspective lyrics, haunting melodies and intense emotional moments. And save the old-school hip-hop inspired "Box In Hand," choruses have all but been eliminated, as outside collaborators provide the record with an almost old-school R&B edge ... Method Man's Grammy partner Mary J. Blige adds a touch of elegance on "All That I Got Is You." It's on this autobiographical ode that Ghost removes his iron-clad mask and provides us with insight into his troubled childhood, and even questions his own existence. "Sometimes I look up at the stars and analyze the sky / And ask myself was I meant to be here / Why?" Serving as the project's exclusive producer, the RZA does another masterful job, topping himself in terms of sonic diversity. With Iron Man, the Clan's former masked avenger, Ghostface Killah, has created a soulful chamber that deserves its rightful place as another cornerstone in the enduring Wu-Tang Clan legacy." - The Source, December 1996.