By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated December 30, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST

Last fall?s uneven, R&B-dabbling Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City was a rare misstep in what is otherwise one of rap?s most consistently brilliant catalogs. The Wu-Tang Clan warrior goes back to basics on his ninth solo effort, Apollo Kids, reeling off jittery pulp fiction and zany free-associative zingers over scratchy soul, funk, and rock samples. Many of these tunes sound like they could have been recorded at any point in his 17-year career — and that?s great news for fans. A?

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