When it’s all said and done, Ghostface Killah [click to read] will likely go down in history as one of the most innovative Hip Hop artists of all time. The undisputed lynchpin of the Wu-Tang Clan, the flamboyant emcee has delivered good music for over a decade, at times outshining his more popular brethren and often keeping the Wu name relevant.
Throughout his decorated career, Ghostdeini consistently dropped superior albums spotlighting his vibrant personality, engrossing street tales, emotionally fueled lyrics or provocative storytelling. It is these same talents that has granted him an enormous amount of respect within the music industry, and is perhaps why despite somewhat underwhelming sales he has remained on Def Jam Records as an elder statesmen of sorts, and continues to drops albums such as his latest, Ghostdeini The Great.
Rather than an album of all-new material however, Ghostdeini The Great is a compilation of rarities, remixes, b-sides and classics from Ghostface‘s storied catalog showcasing some of his finest moments, punctuated by two previously unreleased tracks. Powered by blaring horns, “Slept On Tony” is pure Ghostface at his finest, channeling his inner superhero/playboy persona rhyming, “6’6″ in metal and gold/Playboy industrialist/Face of a ghost/mind of a technologist/Specialist, modern day speed-slang therapist/Specialize in weapons, I can blow off terrorists.” Flipping the script, Iron Man weaves a Yule Tide-inspired tale on “Ghostface X-Mas,” complete with a Saint Nicholas sample.
While these two unearthed gems are welcome additions, the majority of Ghostdeini The Great is loaded with tracks that, while heavy in verbal darts, have already seen the light of day elsewhere. “Mighty Healthy,” previously found on Ghost‘s Supreme Clientele, is still as brilliantly confusing as it was when it dropped eight years ago: “Inhale break beats of Hell, A-alike propel parallel/Duracell night, you flash a burnt cell.” “9 Milli Bros.,” of Fishscale fame, is quite possibly the last great Wu-Tang songs ever, his heartfelt ode to his mother, “All That I Got Is You,” is the undisputed blueprint of matriarchal dedications and “Cherchez Laghost” remains his one, truly commercially successful single.
The rest of GhostDeini… are remixes that are hit or miss. Beanie Sigel‘s [click to read] complete, unbridled rage, which was curiously faded out on The Big Doe Rehab, highlights “Toney Sigel a/k/a Barrell Brothers,” while Malice of the Virginian duo Clipse [click to read] sounds right at home on the rehashing of Fishscale‘s “Kilo.” However, the Ice Cube [click to read] pairing on the Pete Rock-produced remix to “Be Easy” proves needless, while “Run” – which was a fast-paced, hundred-miles-and-running face off between Ghostface and Jadakiss [click to read] from The Pretty Toney Album – has bloated into a six-minute marathon with Raekwon [click to read], Freeway [click to read] and Lil Wayne [click to read] that is sorely missing the high-energy chaos of the former.
Ghostdeini The Great isn’t an album than it is a reminder of the indelible impression Tony Starks has carved in his career. Unfortunately for those who already own most of Ghostface‘s archives, heads may avoid this one.