Ghostface Killah :: Ironman :: Razor Sharp Records/Epic Street
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Well, if you want to avoid buying all the soundtracks that have the good shit Ghostface has done, buy this album. Don't buy it for the new stuff though or you will be sorely dissapointed. Most Wu-Tang solo albums manage to _sound_ solo, but despite showing ample talent on other Wu-Tang releases Ghostface gets heavily shown up on his own album; which is really the weakest of all the solo releases anyway.

Things do start our fairly well with _Iron Maiden_, which has Raekwon and Cappadonna as well -- Cappadonna turning in the star performance. The beat on this one is pretty good; not the bombest by any means but a credible Wu-Tang type track. The end result on this one though is a commercial for Cappadonna's album; it really does nothing for Ghost.

_Wildflower_ should just be considered a throwaway. It's got a decidedly average beat and a highly misogynistic message, even for the Wu. This one is just awful; I can't remember anything dipping this low since Ice Cube's _Cave Bitch_.

As for _The Faster Blade_, try to explain this one. For all intents and purposes this sounds like a Raekwon LP throwaway; especially since Ghostface has nothing to do with this song at all.

The intro from _260_ is easily recognizable; it's the same joint that Common rocked for _The Bitch in Yoo_. This song is interesting, but the lack of a hard snapping beat really throws me for a loop. I keep thinking "it's coming in now..." and it never arrives, they just let the whole thing ride like this.

_Assassination Day_ is the first track besides _Iron Maiden_ that really opens this up as a Wu-Tang album. Inspector Deck, The RZA, Raekwon, and Master Killer (who is for some reason uncredited) each drop jewels on the really rugged sounding track. Why is it that everytime I hear RZA or Master Killer, I think about the solo albums that _should_ be...

A lot of people have been hearing _Poisonous Darts_ on underground mix tapes as "Water Technique", and while it's an OK song it's not mindblowing. Ghost talks about drugs, vocal laser beams, and cash money ruling -- it's really not impressive. "Fucking Jet magazine bitches with wild pussy holes"; so what? And what's an "onion-head nigga" anyway?

After this you've got _Winter Warz_, which although it was criticized as a Wu throwaway at the time is to me one of the best songs on this album. Cappadonna proves that he is the album's show stealer time and again; and I have the feeling this should have been a Cappadonna album with _Ghostface_ cameos. In fact, Cappadonna has to this point proven himself to be a lot better MC than I gave him credit for.

_Box In Hand_ is another _Assassination Day_ type song that manages to capture the Wu feel; with a really ill beat and appearances from the rest of the crew -- Method Man in particular gets really ill on this piece: "Who want that pressure, about to get smacked silly, like a fat bitch in spandex Free Willy, be on some milli, check the joint."

_Fish_ is the only song on the album not produced by the RZA, instead it's rocked by a new head called True Master. Ironically, this is one of the best songs on the whole album, and once again Cappadonna outshines Ghost and cohost Raekwon: "Don't make me blast one, I'm cold like Eskimo flow, Cap the villain stay chillin".

Everybody's heard or seen _Camay_ by now as the next official single after _Daytona 500_. Headz probably didn't realize that Motherless Child was gonna be the first song for real; since soundtracks tend to usually be the side projects to hype an album or the throwaway cuts. I have to again point out how ironic it is that the soundtrack cuts are in fact the best songs on this album; and unfortunately RZA and Ghost's _Who's the Champion_ is the only one NOT included and could easily replace a lot of the weaker songs on this album. _Camay_, AGAIN, has Cappadonna showing up Ghost with his "she elegant, pretty eyes, glasses, intelligent" flow which really gives you the impression of a Camay smooth honey, while Ghost is reduced to saying "You sexy motherfucker! Damn what's the recipe? You make a nigga wanna, god damn!" which isn't even a flow, although he tries to make it appear like it is one.

I didn't believe it could be possible, but they actually fucked up _Daytona 500_. They put some stupid-ass singing at the beginning, and cut the ending short -- in fact, it's cut so short you go directly into _Motherless Child_ before you realize what's going on. If you've got the _Daytona 500_ white label 12", KEEP IT. And you already know _Motherless Child_ is fat, so I don't even need to speak on it.

_Black Jesus_ is right for all the wrong reasons. This is not Ghostface's joint to shine, U-God is the one who rips the mic here. They even skipped the obvious "check out the rap kingpin, the black jesus" sample you WOULD think they'd have used from Raekwon's album.

_After the Smoke is Clear_ was probably supposed to be the bomb, since The Delphonics are on this cut; but it really sounds wack to me. The beat is simplistic and the wailing in the background does nothing to support these lyrics -- only the uncredited support from the rest of the Wu-Tang crew saves this one. The same can be said of _All That I Got Is You_ featuring Mary J. Blige, and _The Soul Controller_ featuring Force MD's. What's going on here? RZA and Ghost have recruited a gang of R&B talent, but this has no place on a Wu release. If you want to have some singing, call Blue Raspberry and have her do ONE cut.

The only saving grace is that this album finishes on _Marvel_, a raw duet between Ghost and RZA -- where AGAIN Ghost is outshined by his fellow MC, as RZA plants some real deep lines about heads getting lost in the fertile soil of the womb; leaving Ghost to rap: "most niggaz would light the lord over this broad".

I'm sorry, I originally started out rating this album as a 4 out of 6, but after listening to the whole thing again I've got to downgrade it a notch just because of Ghostface's weakness. At least on Raekwon's album, Rae got to shine, GZA on his own shit, etc. Ghostface here is clearly outclassed by the cuts other Wu-Tang MC's are on, which is the complete contradiction of what a solo album should be. The best tracks on this album should probably have just been saved for _Wu World Order_ and the rest scrapped. Buy it only so you don't buy the soundtracks.

ORIGINAL HEADz UP! score: 3 out of 6 (converted to
TOTAL Vibes: 5 out of 10

Originally posted: November 1996
source: HEADz UP!