Rolling Stone (12/12/96, p.82) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...After defining the music's rhythm in his dusted, offbeat, signature style, RZA emphasizes simple, precise percussion and bass thuds that are augmented by moody traces of lush strings, baroque riffs and samples from '60s soul records..."
Spin (2/97, p.90) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Ghostface raps a more explosive variant of the chippy, Wu-Tang rhyme combinations....This guy just sounds mean--brutal, skilled, and unpredictable....As usual, [RZA] provides awesomely dark and eccentric backdrops for the MCs' dark maneuvers..."
Entertainment Weekly (11/08/96, p.69) - "The latest from the Wu Tang Clan member finds Ghostface talking vehemently about sex, politics, and sexual politics..." - Rating: B+
Q (6/00, p.123) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...More about lyrical finesse than anything else. 'Daytona 500' is a maginifcent, fast-paced testing of skills with Raekwon and Cappadonna....everything is delivered with tongue-twisting Wu-Tang virtuosity that untangles with every listen..."
The Wire (10/01, p.46) - "...A masterpiece....Raekwon and Ghost raise the slang bar quickly, analogizing various mysterious practices to various foods..."
Vibe (12/96, p.186) - "...Ghostface bangs out sarcastic, street-camouflaged wildness....If ONLY BUILT 4 CUBAN LINX...had you open, prepare for another gaping wound."
The Source (12/96, p.124) - 4 Mics (out of 5) - "...introspective lyrics, haunting melodies and intense emotional moments....[T]he RZA does another masterful job, topping himself in terms of sonic diversity..."
Rap Pages (1/97, p.25) - "...yet another tangled web of expectations-bashing yarns; an exhilarating listen...with moments to inspire both cardiopulmonary palpitations and contemplative nods....IRONMAN is the Wu-banger to challenge your demands and ultimately win you over..."
NME (Magazine) (12/21-28/96, pp.66-67) - Ranked #29 in NME's 1996 critic's poll.
Personnel: Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Cappadonna, Method Man, The RZA, Inspektah Dek, U-God, Masta Killa, Street (rap vocals); Mary J. Blige, The Delphonics, Force MD's (vocals).
Producers include: The RZA.
Recorded at Mystic Studios, Staten Island, New York.
Audio Mixer: True Master.
Recording information: Mystic Studios, Staten Island, NY.
Illustrator: Ron Croudy.
Photographer: Michael Levine .
Arranger: True Master.
IRONMAN is the first solo album by a member of the Wu-Tang Clan in almost a year, and rap fans waited a long time for it. The previous year, after all, yielded four of them, all largely produced by Wu-Tang mastermind RZA. IRONMAN is an RZA production, too, largely a masterpiece in its own right. It's likely to raise the level of anticipation, if that's possible, for the full band's follow-up to the 1993 landmark ENTER THE WU-TANG.
IRONMAN is as singular an album as any of the individual Wu-Tang releases. Within its raw, basement sound are so many separate elements that it's sometimes hard to believe they're actually coalescing into a single song; it's as if the songs are defying the laws of physics. Lyrically, Ghostface's rhyme style is more complex than it first appears. Whether shouting his creed ("Daytona 500") or romancing an older woman ("Camay"), Ghostface speaks to his listeners in a private slang, and it often takes more than one listen to pick up on his metaphors. Most of the other Wu-Tangers make cameos here; Ghost's sidekicks Raekwon and Cappadonna are all over this album.