It has been, 13 long years, since Ghostface Killah worked closely with RZA on an album project…. and that album just happened to be Supreme Clientele, which still stands today as arguably his best album. Since then Ghost has been consistently dropping quality material under almost as much aliases as fellow clan member Method Man. You heard him as Tony Starks, Pretty Toney, even Ghostdini – some fans wasn’t keen on his trip through Emerald City when he went the R&B route but kept it gully at the same time. But we haven’t really heard the true aura of the Ghostface Killah. Together, Ghostface, RZA and music composer Adrian Younge take you on a murder revenge journey thriller. If you thought Ghostface was all about getting ‘Back Like That’ with Ne-Yo, this album ain’t for you!! Get ready folks, this is a story of one man who people tried to kill, but then when he finds you one by one and throws his Ghostface killing plate at you…. that’s yo’ @$$!!!!
The album starts with a haunting theme sung by a female vocalist in ‘Beware Of The Stare’. This gives you fair warning that Ghostface is the Baddest Man Alive…. it gives you that intro that if done visually, shows random images of sadistic killings. In fact that is the idea of this album, made as if it was a film…. Vintage RZA traits shown by Mr Younge.
In ‘Rise Of The Black Suits’, Ghost goes in ‘Fishscale’ mode, as he tells the story of how he got brought up in a life of crime and then goes on to start his Wu-Gambinos… Younge keeps with the Wu-Tang sound on this one, either that or RZA lent a helping hand on the production….and because the Jay DeLuca’s did him wrong, Masta Killa is sympathetic to Ghost as he cries ‘I Declare War’ as they head to battle for supremacy. Only three tracks in, and Masta Killa hits the nail on the head when he describes the clan’s abbott as ‘RZA Tarantino‘.
Younge turns up the flow as Ghostface, Inspectah Deck & U-God spills ‘Blood on the Cobblestones’. U-God’s flow is as ferocious as it ever was, whereas Deck is more of a torturous type… “So the DeLuca’s want Tone, nah not today/cock and spray, side with him and ya got to pay/Don’t even kill him, just make him feel a lot of pain/Stake out his wife and his seed at the soccer game…”
In ‘The Center Of Attraction’, Love is blind… even if your name, is Ghostface Killah. So in love with his significant other it seems, that even Cappadonna can’t convince him that she is setting him up for his own demise. Now it seems that there are ‘Enemies All Around Me’ in Ghostface’s mind… even doubting his own clan. Then the sh!t hits the fan when he gets ‘An Unexpected Call (The Set Up)’ when that same woman he loved, who he thought loved him, the same woman Cappadonna warned him… had indeed set him up and was in cahoots with the Delucas, and left him for dead.
RZA does a great job in narrating the story just like he did in his film ‘Man With The Iron Fists’ (which is also reviewed in RePPiN 4U,) the DeLucas wasn’t ready for what would come next… Toney puts the mask back on and brings back the true aura of the Ghostface Killah, while DJ Mekalek drops the good ol’ cuts. If you are a fully pledged Christian, the video below is not for you! ‘The Rise of the Ghostface Killah’ doesn’t bust his gun. Instead he will use knives and other sadistic ways to murder his victims. Even the spirit of the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard is felt here in this track.
‘Revenge Is Sweet’ is that demented Alfred Hitchcock psycho piano music. The spine chilling vocals of Saudia Mills and Loren Oden will have the most notorious gangs shook. While Killarmy’s Killa Sin laughs at his prison sentence he may receive with assisting the Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa brings his machete to the dance… “Yes, but what they didn’t expect/a hundred goons from the projects/Armed and masked with flame throwers and gas/I blast anything/ hung him by his tongue ring/Until he gave the info/on how he find his kinfolk…”
…then in what is arguably the highlight of the album, the clan cut ‘Murder Spree’ has Ghost, U-God, Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck & Killa Sin doing just that. Consider this a taste of what is to come on the new Wu Album coming later this year. In fact consider it the clan’s revenge to the wack hip pop dominating the radio. Even the might of the Slaughterhouse was short-lived especially when Joe Budden tried to go against the clan… that’s career suicide.
‘The Sure Shot’ gives you that ol’ school boom bap flava. Younge takes another note out of RZA’s production book by switching beats halfway through the track. Ghost finally gets his hands on the woman who set him up for dead, contemplating her end, perhaps a fate worse than death…“Got Logan still to deal with/should I kill her?/Throw her f**k!ng @$$ in the cage with a gorilla/Or let her live, then treat her like, scum of the earth…” The last track, “Twelve Reasons To Die”, has the people who heard the tale think twice about double-crossing someone like this, and encourages you not to weep for the dead, in this case the DeLucas. Younge lets the piano ridden track ride out to the end. You can imagine the credits going up as the tale reached its climax. What more can I say about Ghostface Killah? He just took his storytelling to a new level, coming with a concept that actually fits the true aura, and telling a story with start to finish, staying with one producer who has learnt well from ‘RZA Tarantino’, and kept the guest appearances purely clan affiliated. The Deluxe Edition includes an instrumental version of the album, and even producer Apollo Brown has created his version of the event entitled ‘The Brown Tape’, which is equally as good, his version of Murder Spree is absolutely amazing. So with this, Masta Killa’s ‘Selling My Soul’, and Allah Mathematics ‘The Answer’, why have Twelve Reasons To Die when you can have Twelve Reasons To Live to see A Better Tomorrow? (See what I did there??)