Ever since signing his name on the Def Jam Contract, It seemed that Ghostface has become less passionate about hip hop. Perhaps it was the direction that Def Jam anointed President JayZ was taking at the time is what fueled it. Def Jam was focusing more on Southern Rappers such as Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and building the careers of R&B/Pop prospects Rihanna and Neyo. The results were them throwing long time Def Jam veterans such as Redman, Method Man, DMX, LL Cool J and the newly signed Ghostface Killah at the time in the back-burner.
Ghostface’s debut album titled Fishscale was Ghost at his most creative and darts proving to still be visibly sharp. But throughout the later years, You can sense that Ghost grew more uninspired musically which is heavily evident on albums such as Apollo Kids(Which was full of mostly throwaways), Wizard of Poetry(Which was a horrible attempt to make a R&B album and attract more commercial fans) and Big Doe Rehab which was a pretty good effort but saw disappointing soundscan results which led to Ghost displaying his disappointment among his fans for lack of support.
It seemed that the death of ODB along with the critically disappointing 8 Diagrams killed the spirit of Wu Tang. The music market was changing and people looked at Wu Tang as a has-been or a thing of the past. But when Raekwon released Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2. It was the shot of adrenaline that the Clan needed to get their foot back into the game and stellar releases later followed including this new album from Ghost.
Now free from the Def Jam Contract, Ghostface now don’t have to worry about compromising his creative mind to please fickle audiences. He can now paint pictures and supply the hip hop that his true core will appreciate and this release titled 12 Ways to Die is the perfect step to the right direction.
The Sound construction this time around may throw die hard fans out because Ghost is using more of a live instrumental, Italllian mob Orchestra sound but it fits the theme perfectly of the mini movie
Since RZA crossed over into doing movie scores for films, He seemed to have given Ghostface that similar direction as Executive Producer for this album. One of my worries was that the whole vibe was gonna hurt the sound similar to 8 Diagrams. But the difference here and that album is that the Wu are on the same page, more focused, and more unified. Ghostface still sounds animated as than ever on the mic and you get the impression that he can probably rap until he’s 80. He brings element on solo tracks such as Beware of the Stare, Rise of the Black Suits and Rise of the Ghostface Killah which is a mini movie of a video in its own right:
The Wu members themselves show that they can still hang in 2013. Many may be a tad disappointing that Rae, Meth, GZA and RZA aren’t featured but thats all good because Cappadonna, Masta Killa, and Inspecdah deck carry their own weight and deliver stellar verses. Especially on Murder Spree and Blood on the Cobblestones which sound like the Wu is resurrecting 95 with a new fresh sound.
Ghostface himself sound more live than ever. People may complain about the fact that it’s too short but its short, sweet and to the point without filler. There are instances where you may want to yearn for that hardcore punch you in the face sound that was evident on Cuban Linx II. But Ghost still delivers the good and show that Wu Tang have cemented their legacy further into the soil of hip hop.
Vic Rating: 9.0 outta 10