Ghostface Killah – “Ghostdini: The Wizard Of Poetry In Emerald City” – @@@

When talking about the most consistent MCs of the last five years
or so, Ghostface Killah has to be up near the top of the list. While
Wu-Tang’s fortunes fell, Ghostface pushed it along with a series of
invigorating releases (The Pretty Toney Album, Fishscale, The Big Doe
Rehab). Whether or not you dig his style, one thing you have to say
for Ghostface is that he hasn’t been phoning it in – he’s one of the
more creative lyricists in the game.

With Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City, he’s made an
R&B album with guest singers on almost every track. That may give
some pause, but at the same time it makes a kind of sense. Much of
his earlier work has been steeped in dusty old soul tracks (Supreme
Clientele, The Pretty Toney Album) and it’s worked to great effect.
What’s surprising about Ghostdini is how much of it sounds like a
typical modern R&B album – a bunch of flaccid love songs – that just
happen to have Ghostface rapping on them. You would have expected
something more innovative from someone with Ghostface’s unique
talents.

“Not Your Average Girl” featuring Shareefa and “Let’s Stop
Playing” featuring John Legend are just generic mid-tempo jams.
Legend, the R&B genre’s foremost purveyor, is wasted here as he
predictably croons, “All I’m saying, come here lady, let’s stop
playing…I got no patience, I hate waiting…let’s get naked…”
Honestly, it’s yawn worthy. The Marvin Gaye sample only makes it
worse – if you’re this uninspired, please don’t kick some more dirt on
Marvin’s grave while you’re at it.

Making matters worse, some of this material sounds dated – “I’ll Be
That” featuring Adrienne Bailon and “Back Like That (Remix)” featuring
Ne-Yo and Kanye West (which was also included on Ghostface’s More
Fish) recycle lines we’ve already heard from R. Kelly and Jay-Z.
“Homie-lover-friend” is not a term you would think someone as verbally
creative as Ghostface would employ.

There’s a couple auto-tune joints (“Baby” featuring Raheem “Radio”
DeVaughn and “She’s a Killah” featuring Ron Browz) on here too that
just make you cringe a little, knowing they’ve already gone stale
before even being unwrapped. What makes them somewhat forgivable,
though, is that Ghostface knows they suck. If you check out the
Wikipedia page for Ghostdini, you’ll find a link to video of a
dejected Ghostface talking about how Jay-Z’s “DOA (Death of
Auto-Tune)” killed “She’s a Killah.”

“He smashed my shit with that shit,” Ghostface says, as he
half-hearted promotes the single. He’s a good sport about it, and
while it’s great to see “DOA” having a much-needed impact, it’s a
shame it had to happen to the well-meaning Ghostface. The admission
is really classic Ghostface. On his song “Love” off Pretty Toney he
acknowledges the previously unsuccessful Bulletproof Wallets: “Love my
last album, though the joint went wood.”

Ghostface does manage to keep this project afloat. It’s not
awful. Like a lot of R&B albums, it’s listenable. Ironically, the
highlights on Ghostdini come when he relies on samples rather than
guest appearances (“Stay” and “Forever”). There’s also plenty of the
lyrical mischief we’ve come to expect from Ghostface and he doesn’t
slack on tales of infidelity (both perpetrated by and on Ghostface)
and unwanted pregnancy (“of course, she knows now, I didn’t use no
bag”).

It seems reasonable to guess that Ghostface knows Ghostdini isn’t
up to par, but maybe this will make him that much more hungry on his
next album. He rarely has two poor outings in a row. – Stefan
Schumacher

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