Ghostface - The Pretty Toney Album
It is only fitting that yet again, Ghostface is breathing life into the Wu's limp corpse. Back in 1996 when the Wu could do no wrong, Ghost's "Ironman" was the last true classic to come out of the camp. When the incredible "Supreme Clientele" hit in 2000 Ghost was being hailed as the Wu's savior and the man to return them to greatness. Four years later it is clear that one man can't get eight others to step up their games, but he is still representing the W and making the quality of music I wish we could get from all of them.
Above all else, there is one thing that makes a Ghost record dope: Ghost. That may seem obvious, but unlike his one-time partner-in-rhyme who was only as good as RZA's beats, Tony has got so much style he can make anything work. For example, while most cats are employing the sped-up vocal sample to rock over, Ghostface just rhymes over the vocals as is. Just check the classic "Holla" as he spits his vintage lines over the Delphonics crooning; "I'm a family man, Clan mixed with Theodore/my boots hang over the telephone wires on Broadway/word to Medlife Tony got insurance on his mic/smoke mad shit and still got endurance when he fight/both hands crusty/bank account dusty/ever say my name again you pussy/like an angry crippled man don't push me/don't believe the kid just listen to me." The transition from those bars to the chorus must be heard.
The 70's soul vibe that is used in the above song dominates the album. This is evident from the outset with "Biscuits" and continues with "Beat The Clock," "Over" and the horn-driven "Metal Lungies." Rounding out the bunch is "Save Me Dear," which has Ghostdini telling tales as only he can over some dusty RZA-esque production. The Nottz-produced "Be This Way" is as dope for the beat and chorus as it is for Ghost's jewel-filled rhymes. Always one of the emcees other than Pac that can pull of some emotional shit without getting criticized, he does it again with the touching Musiq-assisted "Love." Perhaps why he can pull it off is because he precedes such a song with "Run." I still get out of breath listening to that shit.
The only song that doesn't really work for me is his radio single "Tush" with Missy. It has grown better with multiple listens but is the weak point of the album along with some useless skits. I can't say it really takes away from the overall album though because there is just so much good shit here. Similar to another album of the year contender in "Madvillainy," Ghost is not afraid to step outside the constrictive box that hip--hop stays in these days. He made the music he wanted to make, and luckily for us it happens to sound really fucking good.