Fans who meet the news that Ghostface Killah [click to read] would be releasing an R&B-inspired album with surprise shouldn’t; the fact of the matter is, Tony Starks waxes about the fairer sex with greater mastery than just about any of peers. Yes, Ghost has weaved tales about love, lust and everything in between – so it’s only natural that he devotes an album to what may just be his favorite subject (all deference to cocaine).
“Lonely” shows that Ghost is uninterested in allowing Wizard of Poetry to be so limited as to explore only lust and infatuation. Here, GFK examines the consequences of not valuing his significant other: “Someone is sleepin’ in my bed, eatin’ my food / Usin’ my soap, layin’ up in my pool / Walkin’ around in his boxers, like everything’s cool / Gassin’ my chick for the whip, droppin’ her off at school / Under my covers and changin’ my channels / Playin’ my CDs in my robes, another man’s burnin’ my candles / My cologne’s halfway gone, a fake don / My old whiz fell for now she chose to park under his arm.” Ghostface carries the song with an obvious tone of regret, which is made even more effective when paired with Raheem DeVaughn’s gloomy hook.
Things don’t stay dreary for long, however, as “Stapleton Sex” brings the listener right into the bedroom. Over-the-top sexually charged Rap is rarely entertaining these days, but Ghost’s storytelling prowess here is in full effect. Kids – this isn’t one to play while the parents are in earshot. “Paragraphs Of Love,” with the help of airy piano keys and a soulful pairing in Estelle and Vaughn Anthony is on the opposite side of spectrum, and just as good. It would seem that the track order is meant to reflect the unpredictable nature of attraction, as the subsequent “Guest House” [click to listen] goes into a completely different direction, dealing with jealousy and revenge – complete with a great cameo by Fabolous [click to read]. Again, Ghostface stakes his claim as one of the game’s greatest storytellers on the track – this time over the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League’s trademark horns and keys.
Considering how consistent the Wizard of Poetry is most of the way through, it’s somewhat shocking how poorly it closes out. “I’ll Be That” is one of the few examples of terrible execution on the album, as production (courtesy of L.T. Moe) and hook sound like something Ja Rule [click to read] would be rapping on with Ashanti in 2002. “Goner” has a similar problem – this time suffering from B2K syndrome. “She’s a Killah” isn’t a bad track, per se, but is simply doesn’t fit the cohesive sound displayed in the previous cuts. Finally, baffling is the inclusion of “Back Like That (Remix)” on the album. Not only is the song three years old, but it was already included on Ghost’s 2006 effort, More Fish [click to read]. It may fit the subject matter, but you don’t see Raekwon [click to read] throwing “Incarcerated Scarfaces” on OB4CLII [click to read] for the hell of it.
The best way to describe Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry In Emerald City is generally well-thought out. Aided by a very fitting cast of guest singers, Ghostface effectively covers a myriad of matters and emotions – all the more impressive since, on the surface, it would seem that the project is very narrow in scope. While it won’t rank among his best works, Tony Starks’ latest solidifies his already impressive range as an artist, and hopefully serves as a notice that the combination of Hip Hop, love and lust need not produce a contrived and trite result.