Just what the hardcore ordered, Ghostface Killah’s 2010 effort is a return to the grimey soul and stream-of-consciousness street flow of the man’s best work, but without those final touches that made Supreme Clientele or Fishscale masterpieces. Odd artwork and a title that’s stolen from a Supreme Clientele track are the first clues that something is a little off here, and when a Pete Rock production previously used on the 2007 mixtape cut “Chunky” appears here under the title “How You Like Me Baby,” one begins to wonder if Apollo Kids is really a clearing house for homeless cuts, making way for Ghostface’s promised Supreme Clientele 2. Still, that Pete Rock cut is one wicked monster fans should revisit, as the rapper attracts the ladies with examples of his talent and sense of responsibility (“Cats like the way I write/Dressed like a superstar/Take care of family/So I don’t have stupid cars”) along with his craftiness (“Back in my reefer days/Sellin’ you parsley”). The trilogy of “Superstar” (“Blowin’ smoke at the Hookah Bar!”), “Black Tequila” (a spaghetti western sample and then Ghost yelling “Where’s my horse”), and “Drama” (“Had that ass swayin’ like TD Jakes/If you don’t believe it, ask your momma”) is killer, although the Wu-Tang snob might have trouble with the numerous guests artists on these tracks and elsewhere on the album, especially with so many coming from outside the Wu-niverse. Put everything on shuffle and the album has the same impact, and with no skits or interludes to link this short effort, Apollo Kids feels just the slightest bit unfinished. Approach it track by track and accept all the guest artists, and this is a no crossover, no compromise, straight-up victory.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries