Showing posts with label ghostface killah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ghostface killah. Show all posts

Friday, July 17, 2015

video review: 'twelve reasons to die ii' by ghostface killah

I honestly expected this review would have more to it, given how long it took going through Ghostface's discography, but eh, it happens.

Next up... actually, not quite sure. Fair few number of projects have accumulated, between Jason Isbell, Alan Jackson, LMNO & Mr. Brady, Chemical Brothers, Tame Impala... yeah, I got my hands full. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

album review: 'twelve reasons to die ii' by ghostface killah

Let's talk a little bit about sequels. Specifically, the sequels to concept albums, because especially in hip-hop, the album 'sequel' is nothing all that special, and rarely has anything to do with the actual original piece. Now concept albums are rare enough in hip-hop, but sequels to them are even rarer - and for the most part, not exactly an idea of which I'm all that fond. After all, isn't the point behind a great concept album is that it's self-contained, managed to tell the entire story within the confines of the record? Don't you undercut some of the story's original punch with unnecessary sequels?

And in this case, it makes a little less sense than usual. When Ghostface Killah set out to make his exploitation homage record Twelve Reasons To Die with Adrian Younge handling all of the production, I was initially really intrigued, being a long-time fan of 70s exploitation flicks and of Ghostface Killah, a rapper who has dropped more than his fair share of outright classic hip-hop records both with Wu-Tang Clan and on his own. Seriously, go back and relisten to Supreme Clientele and Fishscale, the man is seriously talented as a wordsmith and rapper, with the sort of versatility and intensity you love to see in great rappers. But more than that, Ghostface was a storyteller, and he had a knack for the hyper-stylized tales of crime and debauchery that'd add a lot of colour to this sort of gangsta parable, where Ghostface is betrayed and killed as a crime boss before rising to slay his adversaries in increasingly gruesome fashion.

And yet I wouldn't say Twelve Reasons To Die is in the upper tier of Ghostface records. For one, Adrian Younge production captured a lot of the eerie vibe but always felt a little too slick and lacking in texture to really nail the grimy, blaxploitation vibe. If I'm being honest, I might like Apollo Brown's soul-sample remix a little more, because even though it doesn't have the same operatic theatricality, it feels more authentic to the era or at least to Ghostface's flow. But the larger problem is that there really wasn't room for a sequel - it's a quick, gruesome, self-contained tale that doesn't really have the overloaded plot you would expect out of most exploitation films of the time. So it begged the question what additional stories Ghostface Killah could tell - or maybe he was just hunting for quick name recognition as he continues to flood the market with project after project. But hey, Ghostface is nothing but imaginative, and I was curious where he'd take this - does Twelve Reasons To Die II hold up to the original?