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Album Review

Ghostface Killah, 'Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry In Emerald City

September 28, 2009

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Hip-Hop
Ghostface Killah Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry In Emerald City
Def Jam
ESSENTIAL “Let’s Stop Playin’ ’’

What happens when one of the great street poets in pop decides to turn to matters of the heart? It makes for one of the most bizarre hip-hop curveballs in recent memory. Here Ghostface Killah goes for a set of songs about relationships, and he brings in some of R&B’s best young vocalists to help him out. Let’s be frank: The MC is better at narrating claustrophobic scenarios of stark violence than he is talking about baby formula (the Auto-Tune-driven “Baby’’). This is essentially an R&B record with Ghostface sounding a bit like Barry White on a bender. Tracks such as “Let’s Stop Playin’,’’ featuring a typically lush John Legend, are very good, with Ghost’s lyrical skills as fluid as the track he rhymes over. His power of narration is especially evident on “Paragraphs of Love’’ and “Guest House’’ with an equally cunning Fabolous. What hardcore Wu-Tang fans, though, are going to make of this stuff is anyone’s guess. One song, “Stapleton Sex,’’ is so raunchy it makes R. Kelly seem like Pat Boone. When Ghost says he loves you, be prepared. The MC has never taken the predictable route, and here he heads to the chapel of love. For gritty hip-hop fans, it may be a house of horrors. (Out tomorrow)

KEN CAPOBIANCO