Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City (released September 29, 2009)
What was Ghost smoking when he came up with that title?
Anyway, a few months back I noted Ghostface’s desire to create an R&B album, which initially freaked me out. These days R&B = auto-tune and y’all know by now that when I hear auto-tune I automatically tune out.
Thankfully, The Wizard of Poetry is more about soul than synthesizers. By now it’s no secret that Ghostface is a fan of soul. It’s not uncommon for him to spit over the classics (remember “Holla,” where he rambled over the Delfonics’ “La La (Means I Love You)?”) but this is the first time that he’s committed himself to an entire album of R&B.
And you know what? For the most part, it works.
Ghost gets all mushy on “Paragraphs of Love,” getting butterflies when he meets a young lady who, unfortunately, is already in a relationship. “Stay” will probably be most familiar to Wu-Tang fans, as the chopped up sample brings back memories of the early 90s. “Forever” sees Ghost dropping sharp, yet sensitive lyrics – telling his woman that he’s not bothered by her “stretch-mark fat” and letting us know “she carries my left rib/therefore we pray together.”
Awww, ladies love a God-fearing man.
Let’s not forget, this is the Ghostface Killah. He doesn’t stay soft for long. “Stapleton Sex” is one of the most graphic songs I’ve EVER heard. I’m talking “Lil Kim in 1996” graphic. Keep out of reach of children. But my favorite is unquestionably “Guest House,” where Ghost goes on a frantic hunt for his missing lady. I won’t spoil the tale for you but it features some of the best storytelling I’ve heard all year.
There are a few speed bumps though. Ron Browz, the man to blame for the horrible “Pop Champagne” and “Arab Money” songs, goes 3 for 3 and absolutely ruins “She’s a Killah.” “I’ll Be That” isn’t bad, but it’s kinda creepy to hear Ghostface kickin’ game to Adrienne Bailon of 3LW/The Cheetah Girls. And I have no idea why he felt compelled to include the remix to “Back Like That” which was already 6 months old when it appeared on his 2006 album More Fish. The song’s not that great anyway.
Wu-Tang Clan fans will probably balk at this album but they should really give it a chance. It’s nowhere near the level of Wu teammate Raekwon’s latest release but there’s still enough love to go around.
Best tracks: “Guest House,” “Forever,” “Paragraphs of Love”
4 stars out of 5