Wednesday, May 10, 2006

But does his name mean he kills white people?


  • Ghostface Killah "Shakey Dog"

  • I'm going to precede this by saying that i'm not a hip hop afficianado. I've been a big fan since it's inception; 'King Of Rock' was the first tape I remember inheriting from a sibling. Butt this is not a hip hop blog. The deepest I've delved so far has been Pants Pants Pants. The reason being is most rap on MTV these days is just plain garbage; interchangeable rhymes, beats and characters. However there are those who rise above the rest. Rappers with unbelievable cadence, storytelling skills, creativity or just plain bad-assness. In my opinion, Kool Keith is hands down the greatest MC of all time, and if you keep reading this website i'm sure you'll hear me singing his praises over and over again. But this is about what's on the top of my playlist right now, and currently it's Ghostface Killah's 'Fishscale'.

    'Fishscale' opens with "Shakey Dog", a detailed story about a Scarface type one sided drug deal. Ghostface tells an engaging story with plenty of twists and turns, perfectly delivered with serious depth. The woman in the hallway with the shopping cart (that holds a concealed shotgun) looks to be about 77. She got in her boss' good graces by murdering his brother in law at a wedding, so she may be a threat. This tale is all about the little details. The story ends with a 'to be continued' that will leave you dying for part 2.

    I know that Ghostface is an alumni of the Wu-Tang Clan (I forget how many there are, I can name Ghostface, RZA, GZA, Raekwon, Cappadonna, Ol Dirty Bastard (R.I.P.), Inspectah Deck and Method Man off the top of my head. Who did i miss?). I know that he's the one who has gained the most critical acclaim for his solo work. I also know that Method Man and Redman have to be totally gay for each other. I mean, come ON, those dudes are inseparable. Anyway, this is the first Ghostface solo effort I have picked up, and I have to say I think this guy is a genius.


  • Ghostface Killah "Back Like That"

  • I listen to a fair amount of hip hop. There's a LOT of bullshit that I just write off and don't even bother with (the aforementioned MTV shit). Generally I listen to what's known as "intelligent" hip hop. Stuff like MF Doom, Hieroglyphics, Busdriver, Sir Menelik, Mr. Lif and The Roots. I'm not saying Ghostface isn't "intelligent", far from it (were you reading? I just called the guy a genius). But he's definitely got more of a street feel to his style.

    Songs about being the biggest baller on the block can get pretty old pretty quick, but Ghostface always keeps it fresh and interesting. Kool Keith has this thing where you never really know what he's gonna say next (although a good guess would be that it's going to be about peeing on someone). Ghostface has that same thing, but it's almost alway in the context of a story. Like the girl who you broke up who starts coming around with yr worst enemy just to spite you (it's a universal concept, every man knows this story), or the little kid who you think might be growing up a little too fast because he didn't get the same kind of discipline yr parents gave you, or even the old pop music standby, dream interpretation.

  • Ghostface Killah "Underwater"

  • Dreams are kind of an off topic for most hip hop, but it seems like it should be a great assignment for the kind of stream-of-consciousness art form that rap ultimately is. On "Underwater", Ghostface spins a yarn about being underwater, hand in hand with a mermaid, describing what he sees. The imagery is vibrant, but just like in anyone's dreams, there's a few things that he just can't explain. It's a tall task for a rapper, someone who's whole act is based upon description of events, to admit that there's some scenes that just can't be put into words.

    I'm just realizing that this is probably the most mainstream thing I've written about so far, and that makes me happy. Ghostface is an original and refreshing voice in a stale hip hop scene. Hip hop is formulaic but it doesn't mean you can't work within the boundaries and make something fantastic. If MTV force fed more stuff like Ghostface Killah, E-40 and Clipse down the youth of America's throat, I would feel better about the future of music.

  • Ghostface Killah Official Website

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