Yesterday I purchsed the new Ghostface album, which is his self described grown man R&B record. Regular readers to this site are well aware that Ghostface Killah is my favorite MC of all time.
After 1 listen to Wizard of Poetry, this is my favorite Ghost album since Pretty Toney. Sure, there are some clunnkers on here, but I find Ghost to be most fascinating and exciting when he’s treading waters in unchartered territory for the first time. Ironman, Supreme Clientele, and Pretty Toney are not only 3 of my favorite albums of all time in any genre, but I rank them as Ghost’s best work because each marked a new style, a new canvas for Starks to go wacko on.
Ironman was pure Wu-Tang fury, a continuation of Cuban Linx and the first lead role for P-Tone . Clientele was a vapid mind trip made by a guy who, unshockingly, buried a bucket of fried chicken in Brett Ratner’s backyard. And Pretty Toney was the soundtrack to a block party deejayed by your favorite drunken uncle.
Wizard of Poetry, with all of Def Jam’s R&B chips on the table, shows restraint.
Case in point: “Radio”. If Raheem Devaughn didn’t gratuitously autotune the hook, “Baby” might be my favorite rap single of 2009.
There’s something very funny and sincere about Ghostface on this song. He sounds very settled as a grown man being in love and understanding what needs to be done with a baby on the way from a woman he respects and cares for. Even though it’s the lead single for the album, it’s probably the first radio song he’s made this decade that didn’t sound horribly forced on his end. Those are my favorite Ghost songs–when he’s not trying to make the charts (“Back Like That”) or purposely be weird (much of Fishscale/More Fish) to impress his core audience. Like Sach said today about “The Rain”, whenever Ghost just stumbles upon something raw and sincere, he’s the best writer alive.