Apollo Kids Apollo Kids

Álbumes

Ghostface Killah Ghostface KillahApollo Kids

7.9 / 10

DEF JAM

Now that we have found out that Ghostface Killah is preparing “Supreme Clientele II”, a creative decision that has very close connections to what Raekwon already did with abrasive success in his own sequel to “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx”, the appearance of “Apollo Kids” seems to have been relegated to the background, as if the album wasn’t interesting now that the news is out. Its Christmas launch also hasn’t helped its publicity and ability to penetrate into the social rap scene; it came out the last week of the year, when nobody seems to be paying attention anymore to new releases, and people are only thinking about reviewing, filing away, and anticipating what 2011 will bring. And if we add to this succession of strikes against it how little impact his previous recording made, “Ghostdini Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City”, in which the New York rapper took the liberty of following a personal whim, taking a leap into R&B territory that almost none of his followers understood or accepted willingly. To sum it all up, between one thing and another, we almost overlooked Ghostface’s best album since “Fishscale”.

It’s no coincidence that in the already habitual and always controversial list of the best hip hop albums of the year made by DJ Premier, his #1 choice was this “Apollo Kids”. Not too much name, not too flashy, not too many cameos, not too many clear singles, not much paraphernalia, but a great deal of insistence and perseverance in the return to the rough, raw, saturated, radicalised sound of the Big Apple are some of the keys that surely caught his eye, and therefore that of all of the headz who were already starting to miss the more street side of Wu-Tang Clan’s MC. Except for contributions from Pete Rock, Scram Jones or Jake One, the rest of the sound arsenal is handled by beatmakers without much name or cachet, and this gives an even more underground spirit to a recording released by a multinational with few commercial ambitions, not to say without any at all. It is as if Ghostface had only been concerned from the beginning with releasing the album expected of someone with his career and personality, market trends and currents aside at all times.

“Apollo Kids” doesn’t even advocate conceptual tricks or plot lines that make sense. It bases a large part of its lyrical contents on the resources of the ego trip and some retrospective, melancholy images, but without any apparent order or composition criteria, with everything wrapped up in the productions that outline the album. Trademark flashes, the occasional stellar collaboration– Black Thought shines with his own light in “In Tha Park”– and a collection of familiar and always recognisable guests – GZA, Raekwon, Method Man, Busta Rhymes and The Game amongst others– find an ideal refuge in a sampling of soulful rap that touches the nostalgic keys of boom bap with good taste and a lively passion. It sounds fat, hard, noisy, saturated, distorted, and almost lo-fi, made on purpose, with intention and intensity, capable of sacrificing its melodic and commercial projection in favour of a new trip to the past that doesn’t even bother to ask permission or give unbelievable excuses.

Overwhelming and powerful, “Apollo Kids” is not the epitome of freshness or originality—it doesn’t even equal the high points of the rapper’s career. It sounds obsessively retro and represents a side of the genre that is clearly headed for extinction or a clandestine existence these days. But it also dignifies an entire scene, an entire spectrum of the public, who need serious, solid, quality titles within the revivalist universe, in order not to lose all connection to and interest in hip hop, and incentives for remaining stuck on it. And in this sense, “Apollo Kids” is an excellent reason for all of those who don’t feel themselves to be represented by currently reigning hip hop to feel hopeful and proud. Boom bap circa 1993. And with its head held high.

David Broc

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Ghostface Killah - Ghetto{youtube width="100%" height="25"}sy4e2IeiqeM{/youtube}

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