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'Apollo Kids,' Ghostface Killah 

Ghostface talks a lot, but he's hardly all talk.

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If macho hip-hop full of cash-money, bling, Mercedes Benzes and auto-tuned cock-of-the-walk-ery is your thing, it’s possible that Apollo Kids will not be your thing. Ghostface Killah, on his ninth solo record, is no saint. Hell no. But the key difference between him and the mainstream superstars of the hip-hop biz is that Ghostface’s streamof-consciousness lyrics are believable. When he says he sold parsley to people who thought they were buying weed, it’s not for shock value. You believe that he has truly done that.

Behind his hyperactive, honest flow, the Wu-Tang member samples with a genius touch. “In tha Park” and “2getha Baby” expertly use crackly vintage funk and rock to build atmosphere. On “Ghetto,” samples further enforce a message. He answers Marlena Shaw’s brassy, desperate cries of yesteryear — ”How do you make your bread in the ghetto?” — with honest, machine-gun-fast flows. You sell crack, Marlena. You shoot somebody for somebody else. That’s how. He knows because he’s been there.

DOWNLOAD: “In tha Park”

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