Sunday, December 23, 2007



I wrote about this before, but I think I've got a better grasp on what went wrong here.

Ghostface has done something I never thought possible before. He's managed to make his skits more interesting than his songs. Hiring the Rhythm Roots Allstars was an inspired choice for a Tony that's been more Montana than Starks these past couple years. And when the At The Cabana Skit builds up after a brief intro, it's easy to get caught up in the momentum and start salivating at the thought of Ghost wrapping a crazy tale around the beat. But, just as the first drop of spit is about to fall, you discover that he's not going to spit at all. Instead, he comes hard on a tired funk loop. But, at least he does come hard until he doesn't and Beanie Sigel and someone else who seem intent on proving how boring the track is.

Things improve greatly with Yolanda's House. Even if the soul sample sounds overly familiar and overused, Ghost, Raekwon and, especially, Method Man use that familiarity to craft expert word stories. It's the sort of beat they can work in their sleep, but they don't. Unfortunately, this leads into We Celebrate, using a rocked-up Rare Earth sample that is both obvious and dull. Ghost tries to elevate the beat into a crossover showcase, but he runs out of ideas quickly. The less said about the list chorus and Kid Capri's shouting, the better.

Walk Around is a return to Supreme Clientelle/Fishscale Ghostface with an appropriate sample and a barrage of raps. Yapp City sounds like a More Fish track, which is fine and would be a great album track if the rest was awesome. White Linen Affair is fun once the actual song starts (about a minute in) but breaks down into lame list rap and awful skit bridges. Supa GFK is another attempt to return to classic Ghost, but he seems to be fighting the lame sample that just plays straight through. Ghost sounds a bit tired on Rec-Room, but the track is almost saved be a reinvigorated Raekwon until U-God shows up to bore you again.

The Prayer by Ox. Why is this on the album at all? Did someone decide the album wasn't long and annoying enough? Or was it meant to make us forgive the dull list rap and tired sample of I'll Die for You? Paisley Darts is a posse rap with a big cast and a terribly annoyingly looped sample before drifting into a pointless concert outtake. Shakey Dog would be a perfectly acceptable album track. It's not exciting, but it's not offensive either. Unfortunately, there's already so much filler on Big Doe that it sounds more like space filler. ! is another reminder of just how good this album would be if Ghost rapped over the strongest beats instead of relagating them to non-segue skits. Killa Lipstick is just a misguided attempt to court critics impressed by 'meaningful', 'deep' ballad raps. As a pause in between amazing tracks, it would seem fine (and you could excuse the weak showings by Meth and Masta Killa), but it's been a half hour since anything sounded impressive at all. Slow Down is better than Lipstick, but it leaves you waiting for something better to follow it instead of leaving the album strong.

The itunes version comes with a remix of the Gym Class Heroes single, Clothes Off!. Am I the only person who can revel in nostalgia without treating it like its own genre? Ah, Chic. It's time to do a reunion tour, I think!

Ugh. This is not making the list. Truly unfortunate, considering Ghostface is one of my favorite rappers of all time.



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