We should have all seen an album of this nature coming from Ghostface. While Brother Starks has had his feet planted firmly in the Shaolin slums with legendary street tales, his catalogue has always featured a smattering of songs displaying the triumphs and tragedies of attempts to conquer the fairer sex. From the unrepenting “Wildflower” to becoming mesmerized by the likes of “Beauty Jackson,” Ghostface has been known for stacking his escapades with honesty and sharp detail. Going all in for the gusto, Mr. Coles’ latest endeavor, Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City, is a smorgasbord of R&B flavored tunes with that special Ghost twist.
The album truly shines as Ghostface uses his patented knack for episodic tracks and proves yet again that he can weave a story with the best of Hollywood’s writers. “Lonely” is a true gem as Ghostface spends four minutes driving himself crazy over the thought of another man moving into his old house with his old wifey: “Under my covers and changing my channels/playing my CDs in my robes another man is burning my candles/my cologne’s almost gone, a fake don my old whiz fell for…” Lyfe Jennings adds a superb backdrop as his voice never fails at conveying sheer agony. For the most part, the guest vocalists hit their marks as one would expect from singers like Raheem DeVaughn and John Legend.
Increasing the LP’s commercial stock, tracks like the “Let’s Stop Playin'” with a crooning John Legend riding shotgun and L.T. mOE-concocted “I’ll Be That” hit the radio-friendly tropes one would expect from Hip-Hop/R&B collaborations. And perhaps the most spotless of collabos comes in form of the age-old “Back Like That (Remix)” with Ne-Yo & Kanye West present for audio support. True, the mid-tempo jam already secured an appearance on More Fish, but its DNA is so akin to the rest of WOP, fans shouldn’t seem to mind much.
But Ghostface is a man’s man and simple Rap/R&B ditties are for mere mortals. Turning up the heat, “Stapleton Sex” is as vivid of a depiction of…well…sex you’re going to hear on wax with enough detail to make Uncle Luke blush. Paragraphs of Love,” complete with cinematic interaction between Starks & Estelle and “Guest House (co-starring Fabolous & Shareefa), are a one-two punch of excellence with swooping horns adding to the drama of each scenario. Not to ruin the story, but the detail and paranoia from “Guest House” oozes through each bar, creating an edge-of-your seat adventure as only Ghost can provide.
All in all, Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry makes its mark as Ghostface’s most idealistic album furthering its distinction against Ghost’s previously renowned offerings. While the thought of a whole R&B-flavored album can lead to horrendous results, it’s a testament to Ghost’s mastery of his craft that he is able to provide such a varied and stellar project.