July 27, 2009

Reader Review: Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele (Canadian Version) (January 25, 2000)

(Here's something completely different. Instead of re-reviewing Ghostface Killah's sophomore opus Supreme Clientele, Greg tracked down the rare Canadian version (rare outside of Canada, I assume) of the album, which features an altered tracklisting, rare songs, and other bizarre traits that will probably lead you to purchase the slightly more accessible U.S. version. But you should read his review anyway.)

As most diehard Wu-Tang fans will no doubt be aware, Ghostface Killah's sophomore release, Supreme Clientele, was delayed numerous times and went through several incarnations before finally debuting in January of 2000. Early track listings included such songs as "Cobra Clutch," a Mathematics-produced track that wound up on 1998's Wu-Tang Killa Bees Present The Swarm, and "Iron Vacation," a Wu-Tang tribute song that was recorded in anticipation of Ghostface's upcoming prison sentence for attempted robbery (gee, I wonder why this album was delayed). At any rate, the album was released in two versions: one for the U.S. and Europe, and in an odd turn, a separate, alternate release for Canada.

There is evidence to suggest that the Canadian release is actually an earlier version of the album, as it contains two songs that were lost in the sample wars. Or perhaps Ghostface has a soft spot for Canucks. Whatever the case, the Goateed Spock version of Supreme Clientele is an interesting listen.

Let's begin!

Yes, you read correctly. All of the Iron Man cartoon interludes are absent from this version of Supreme Clientele, meaning that you can listen to Ghost and Rza destroy this track without having to sit through the obligatory rap album intro. Nice.

2. ONE
An early tracklisting for this album listed this song as the introductory song, which may explain why Ghost yells, "Yo! New Ghostface!" and such in the beginning. This track is unchanged from the U.S. version, meaning it's still awesome.

Here's where things get kooky. At the end of "Saturday Night," the program is interrupted to bring the listener "one of the illest verses of all time." The song then jumps to Ghost's verse from Wu-Tang Forever's "Impossible." (Heaven forbid we forget that Ghost snagged a Hip Hop Quotable in The Source.) After this verse, we get a slightly longer, slightly more militant version of the "Iron's Theme" intermission, bringing the track time to about five minutes.

The song that was replaced by "The Grain" on the U.S. version. Ghost takes The Dramatics song "In The Rain," and more or less raps over the whole song, a habit that would come to a head on The Pretty Toney Album. Given this song's subject matter, the preceding "Impossible" verse makes more sense, but that still doesn't make this song as satisfying as Ghost and Rza killing a breakbeat.

Sounds like this was mixed differently than the U.S. version. Other than that, it's still "Mighty Healthy," so it still demands your undivided attention.

Ghost and Chef attack the track, as per usual (rather, it was usual, before Raekwon decided to shoot up before each studio session). The song morphs right into the "Clyde Smith" (Curtis Jackson-baiting) skit, so we get a lot of Raekwon on track six.

The centerpiece of the album. This track lasts nine minutes on the Canadian version because it is immediately followed by "Stroke of Death” (featuring Solomon Childs and The Rza). Although it's a shame that one can't skip right to this ear-splittingly awesome track, no one in his right mind would want to skip "Buck 50" anyway, so I guess it works out. Following "Stroke of Death" is the second marathon skit, "Woodrow the Basehead," which sucks.

After the nine minute suite that is the Canadian "Buck 50" is "Stay True" (also known as “Deck's Beat”, for reasons that will become clear in the next sentence), which is 1:39 long. Crazy sequencing aside, Ghost takes Inspectah Deck's "Elevation" beat and actually does something with it.

Featuring the original beat (which was also used for “Bastards” by former Wu-affiliates Ruthless Bastards), which, while simpler than the U.S. version, kicks more ass.

Same as the U.S. version. Not bad for a "message" song.

I always thought Rza should have given Carlos "6 July" Brody some credit on Digital Bullet's "Show You Love," which is essentially a more basic, digitized version of this beat. Both songs are pretty good. After this song we are treated with another lengthy skit, "Who Would You Fuck?", which, like all of the skits on this album, sucks.

Unlike the U.S. Version, the Canadian version of “Child's Play” features no beat change, making this one of the more grating songs on the album. On top of that, it's a full minute longer than the U.S. version, featuring more of Ghostface reminiscing at the end of the track.

The main problem with "Cherchez La Ghost" and every subsequent radio-friendly Ghostface song is that they only create frustration. The Ghostface fans who buy his albums for songs like "Mighty Healthy" and "Stroke of Death" get frustrated by the poppy diversions, and the people out there who actually buy the albums for the radio-ready singles (those people exist?) get frustrated by every other song. In the context of the album, this song sticks out like a green hat with an orange bill. The only thing it has going for it is that it adds to the overall weirdness of an already strange album.

Pretty good closer. This version is missing Ghostface's second verse, fading out after Masta Killa. The track then fades into "Iron's Theme (Conclusion)", which raps up the album.

FINAL THOUGHTS: With different sequencing, alternate songs, seven fewer tracks, and a slightly longer running time, the Canadian version of Supreme Clientele is a peculiar listen, but it's still more or less the same album. This is, of course, a good thing, as Ghost's sophomore effort is better than any of his fellow clansmen (except the Gza's, technically, but we'd all like to forget Words from the Genius. Why has no one remixed that album?)

BUY OR BURN? If you don't have the regular version of Supreme Clientele, go buy it now and worry about this later. This version is strictly for the curious, but if you happen across it, you may as well buy this one, too.

BEST TRACKS: “One”; “Mighty Healthy”; “Stroke Of Death” (hidden track); “Ghost Deini (G-Dini)”; “Buck 50”

- Greg

(Questions? Comments? Leave them in the space below. And here's a link to my original write up for (the U.S. Version of) Supreme Clientele. Read it for the introductory paragraphs alone.)


  1. Holy crap, do you have psychic powers??

    I just got home from purchasing THIS album at my local HMV (I live in Ottawa). And yes, it is the version you've just analysed. I turn on my laptop to see what's cooking today, and .. woah, spooky.
    No regrets (why would there be, it's a classic anyway). A little disappointed by the absence of 'The Grain', it's one of my favs .. but other than that, it's all great stuff as most of us know.

  2. AnonymousJuly 28, 2009

    shit i love the ironman skits , it holds the album together.

  3. Matches MaloneOctober 13, 2009

    That "Who would you fuck" skit is a classic! It's a throw back to the skits from back in the days, the golden age of hip hop. This is the type of shit all dudes be pulling when they smoking and drinking - talking about which famous chicks they'd bang out. Reminiscent of the De La Soul Skits (who coincidentally have the best skits on their albums)

  4. I prefer this over the US release. I like Child's Play, Mighty Healthy and Ghost Deini MUCH better and In the Rain is great. The entire album was mixed and mastered with more care. It is quite obvious. Everyone should hunt this down.

    One of the best hip-hop albums ever released.

  5. I think Apollo kids would have been much better without raekwon, I know the duo goes way back to can it be all so simple on 36 chambers and ob4cl but I feel this track belongs to ghost and the chef falls out of place with ghosts energy, anyway my 2 cebts

  6. Is it just me (or my computer), or is the front cover pic of this post a picture of the MMORPG game runescape, specifically the part in the game when you defeat another player in the Al-Kharid fighting arena? Huh, weird.

    1. Guess it's just me (or my computer) then.

    2. AnonymousMay 21, 2014

      I see it too

    3. It's because he hosted the image on tinypic.com which has a habit of purging old images then reusing the same filenames for new ones. This can lead to some really awkward occurrences.

  7. I find it disturbing that the author and other wu-stans seem to like this atrocious track Stroke of Death so much. And also when this album came out I thought Cherchez Le Ghost was easily one of the best songs on the album, the author hated it for some reason. But anyway I think this Canadian version would be better as Ghostdeini original was excellent, and the remixed US version was terrible (Ghost's singing on the hook literally made you want blow your brains out on newer version)

  8. Hey guys. Been looking for this version. I used to have it. I had the cassette my sister's now husband had the Canadian version. I lost my mind it was awesome. The track listing was American on the CD s back cover. I thought it was a mistake and got lucky when I first heard it. I learned it was the Canadian version 2 years ago. Been looking for it since. Anyone have a bootlegged copy ??