December 19, 2008

My Gut Reaction: Ghostface Killah - GhostDeini The Great (December 16, 2008)

Since it's December, it must be time for another Ghostface Killah album release from Def Jam. This year we're blessed with Only One More Album In My Contract To Go!, also known in the industry as GhostDeini The Great, which is an awkwardly-titled collection of tracks that can't decide if it's supposed to be a greatest hits compilation (as the Def Jam press release refers to it as) or a sampling of Ghostface songs from all of his previous discs (which is what it actually appears to be). The label also included some newly-unearthed remixes of some of Pretty Toney's more popular songs, with some of the most surprising guest spots to appear on a Wu-Tang Clan member's solo album since that time David and Goliath verbally sparred with Inspectah Deck, Maury Povich, and Tina Fey on Uncontrolled Substance.

For good measure, the label has also seen fit to include a bonus DVD featuring concert footage (which is always of poor quality anyway, so I'm not even bothering with it) and what appear to be two new songs for Ghostface fanatics: "Slept On Tony" and "Ghostface X-Mas". (A third new song, "Computer Love", which leaked to the Interweb a few weeks back, apparently failed to make the cut. Also, "You Know I'm No Good", Ghostface's wholesale song-jacking of Amy Winehouse, doesn't appear on here, even though it prominently appeared in Def Jam's crappy press release. The tracklisting on said press release was also completely off.) The inclusion of a holiday carol is obviously a ploy to take up the airtime previously occupied by Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto" (also featuring Dat N---a Daz, Nate Dogg, Tray Dee, and Bad Azz, for those of you two that are paying attention). Because nothing will ever bump Run DMC's "Christmas In Hollis" from its spot.

Nothing.

1. KILO (REMIX) (FEAT RAEKWON & MALICE OF CLIPSE)
I always liked the original version of this song, and combining the coke raps of Rae and Ghost with those of the brothers Thornton sounds like a no-brainer, on paper. Then you realize that Malice's verse is tacked on at the very end of the original song, thus somehow constituting a "remix". Pretty fucking lazy, right? Well, brace yourselves, you two: Ghost will be doing that shit all night long.


2. THE CHAMP (REMIX)
The Fishscale version of "The Champ" remains one of Just Blaze's best beats ever (even though that song isn't the original incarnation of the track; the very first version of "The Champ" can be found on the Interweb rather easily, though). This "remix" barely alters the beat, but it does go out of its way to delete all of the dialogue from the intro and from between verses. Which is too bad, since all of that ridiculous posturing actually helped tie the original room together.


3. TONEY SIGEL A.K.A. BARREL BROS (FEAT BEANIE SIGEL, STYLES P, & SOLOMON CHILDS)
Last year, when Ghost's most recent album The Big Doe Rehab dropped, I thought it was strange that Styles P would appear on a song called "Toney Sigel", which was ostensibly named after its stars, Ghostface "Pretty Toney" Killah and Beanie Sigel. Then I found out that Holiday Styles was removed from the album version. (Solomon Childs appeared, but only in a limited capacity, so much so that he apparently doesn't warrant a credit anywhere except for inside the liner notes). GhostDeini The Great attempts to rectify that mistake by including the original version of this song, although the original version of this song is the one that leaked to the Interweb several months prior to The Big Doe Rehab's release, meaning that everyone probably already has this song. As it is, it's alright, but it wasn't worth all of this trouble.


4. SLEPT ON TONY
One of two new tracks to appear on GhostDeini The Great. This isn't so bad, although it manages at once to sound both fresh and dated, and I'm talking "archaeologists finding this shit in the tombs of King Tut" dated. This type of song may have helped The Big Doe Rehab sound a bit better. As it appears in the context of this hodgepodge, it's alright, but it's not real.


5. RUN (REMIX) (FEAT JADAKISS, RAEKWON, LIL' WAYNE, & FREEWAY)
This quote-unquote "remix" is a fucking hot tranny mess. It starts off the same as The Pretty Toney Album's original ("original" being a relative term, since the very first version of "Run" allegedly died in the sample wars, according to some older Rza interview I read at the time), but instead of switching to Jadakiss after Ghost completes his, um, run, there's an incredibly noticeable dip in sound quality as Raekwon's mixtape-like verse plays. Lil' Wayne, who also appeared on a mixtape remix of this track back in the day, seems to have been included just so Def Jam can justify printing his name on the sticker that is affixed on the outside of this disc's packaging (right next to the word 'featuring'), and I don't know why Freeway is on here at all, although it's debatable whether this guest spot will garner him more attention than that new-song-a-day stunt he currently has going in Blogland. This so-called "remix" makes other remixes look bad. The fucked up part is that Def Jam is actually sitting on a valid "Run" remix: when Ghost dropped the video for this song, there was a verse by unknown rapper Comp (who also appeared in Def Jam Fight For NY) that I remember liking, if only because he starts to panic about being caught by five-oh because his mom is making spaghetti for dinner. Where the fuck is that song?


6. BE EASY (REMIX) (FEAT ICE CUBE)
Yet another ridiculous "remix". The idea of hearing Ice Cube spit over some Pete Rock production may sound good, but ultimately fails in its execution. Here's how poorly put together this remix is: Ghost has an all-new first verse (with an admittedly funny line about how, before he eats out, he "blow[s] on a bitch['s] cartridge"), and O'Shea takes second (with a boring-ass verse that nonetheless manages to reference his family films, so I guess that in and of itself is amusing), and then the first two verses of the original "Be Easy" start playing, which only draws attention to how different Ghost sounds today when compared to two years ago when Fishscale dropped.


7. MIGHTY HEALTHY
One of those tracks in the Ghostface canon that usually gets dragged out whenever someone wants to prove that Ghost is nice with his. I'd be willing to bet that this song was the reason that so many folks bought Supreme Clientele, but if you still care enough about Ghostface Killah to read this write-up, that would mean that you already own this song.


8. IT'S OVER
I'm a fan of David Porter's "I'm Afraid The Masquerade Is Over", but I'm still not sure why any rapper would even bother sampling that song when The Notorious B.I.G. already murdered that shit (I mean that in a good way: "Who Shot Ya?" is a fucking brilliant song.) Also, I don't know anybody that owns The Pretty Toney Album that really loves this particular song. Maybe it's one of Ghost's favorites; who knows?


9. APOLLO KIDS (FEAT RAEKWON)
I liked "Apollo Kids" when it appeared on Supreme Clientele for two reasons: Ghost's robe-and-giant-bird-on-his-wrist getup, and the fact that my wife found this 12-inch single while away on a trip and thought of me. That was nice of her. I still like this song, but at this point, I've noticed that every single Ghostface Killah album seems to be represented on GhostDeini The Great, all except for Bulletproof Wallets. I guess that even Def Jam disagreed with my write up and felt that particular disc is without any merit. (Seriously, people, Bulletproof Wallets is actually pretty good, and my two readers probably won't realize that until after Ghostface is dead and gone. The awesome "The Hilton" would have been a perfect fit on this album.)


10. 9 MILLI BROS. (FEAT WU-TANG CLAN & CAPPADONNA)
With five songs either inspired of directly lifted from Fishscale, you would be forgiven if you were of the impression that Fishscale was Ghost's most successful album. (Not by a long shot.) While it's still nice to hear the entire Wu on one song (even if The Rza's intro was actually sampled from a Prince Rakeem solo song), we've still already heard this shit, as well.


11. WALK AROUND
One of the better efforts from The Big Doe Rehab, especially from a storytelling perspective, but it still sounds out of its element on this disc, regardless of how poorly this album was put together.


12. STREET OPERA (FEAT SUN GOD)
I have a feeling that Ghostface recycled this More Fish track as an early Christmas present to his son, Sun God, as this track is a father-son duet. Awww, that's so sweet!


13. ALL THAT I GOT IS YOU (FEAT MARY J. BLIGE & POPA WU)
Admittedly, this is one of Ghost's best-known songs, and here it is, lifted straight from his debut, Ironman, with Mary J. Blige still in tow. I assume that Def Jam had to pay both Sony (Ghost's former label) and Mary herself a pretty penny to include Ghostface's ode to his mother on this bizarrely-sequenced pile of uselessness. The song's still good, though.


14. BACK LIKE THAT (REMIX) (FEAT NE-YO & KANYE WEST)
Pretty sure that this only appears just so that Def Jam can advertise Kanye's presence on the same sticker that Lil' Wayne's name appears on. Especially since this remix already appeared on More Fish, a Ghostface album that I hadn't actually gotten to writing about yet.


15. CHERCHEZ LA GHOST (FEAT U-GOD & MADAM MAJESTIC)
Def Jam couldn't be bothered with "The Hilton", but they found room for this shit? The opening verse sounds very dated now (but no less awkward as it did back in the day, with a sung verse about Tommy Mottola's divorce from Mariah Carey), and U-God is, well, you two already know. This may have been a hit song for Ghost, but that's still no excuse.


16. GHOSTFACE X-MAS
Um...yeah. The other new song on this collection song is cheesy as fuck, and I've once listened to actual blocks of cheese perform holiday standards in an elementary school cafetorium. Although Ghost's voice toward the end is very fucking creepy: "Ghost knows when you've been sleeping"? You have to laugh out loud, lest the idea of Ghostface peeking in through your bedroom window causes you to have a panic attack.


THE LAST WORD: GhostDeini The Great made me pretty fucking angry, and that hasn't happened during one of these write-ups in a good long while. The music presented here is good, but I already own most of these songs, and I would bet that you do, as well. As for the "remixes", they're of such poor quality that my soul started to weep. I've heard deejay mixes that have more credibility. I'm surprised Ghostface signed off on this release without changing his name to Alan Smithee. (Seriously, nobody could be bothered to clean up the sound on the "Run" remix? That track sounds like fucking amateur hour.) This isn't supposed to be a greatest hits album (because if it were, Def Jam did a piss-poor job), nor is it a hand-picked selection of Ghost's favorite songs, so exactly what the fuck is GhostDeini The Great? A waste of my valuable time, that's what. I'm actually so angry that I urge all of my two readers to bootleg as many copies of this shit as possible and flood your neighborhoods, apartment buildings, workplaces, schools, and the like, as Def Jam just proved that they feel justified in releasing any old bullshit and still earn your money. When you're done fucking with Ghostface's sales, go buy the Wu-Tang Clan's 8 Diagrams instead, since that disc has actually held up nicely since 2007.

-Max

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More Wu for you two.

7 comments:

  1. The album cover did it for me.
    I'm surprised Ghost signed off on that. Wow.

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  2. This album would've been worth it if they'd ponied up the money for Ratatat's remix of Run. Check it out Max and let me know what you think.

    I'm glad you pointed out the truth about this album. I heard "remixes" and almost it'd be worth checking out (aka putting the pirated version on my iPod).

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  3. agreed on nuthin toppin' Run DMC for best Christmas rap track. Heard that Players Ball was originally a Christmas song on a leface comp...
    keep the reviews coming.

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  4. AmpGeez a.k.a Black GeezusDecember 21, 2008

    Frisbee anyone?

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  5. Hey max, I realize it has become sort of a running thing, you hating U-God. I don't like the guy either but recently he hasn't really bothered me when I was listening to mystery of chessboxin or other songs on which he appears (by the way his verses are usually very short. my solution is just to look at him more as an instrument than a rapper. just ignore the actual words and consider him a guy that just throws in some bass once in a while. then he's not so bad, after all he is part of the clan...

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  6. Max, I would argue that Ghost's take on "The Masquerade Is Over" outshines BIG's. I really like "Who Shot Ya?" but I can't be the only one who feels that the song is RUINED by Puffy's constant "whacha gonna do" looped in the background, as well as his inane bullshit like "AS WE PROCEED TO GIVE YOU WHAT YOU NEED", looped indefinitely.

    Big's rap on that track is killer, but as a song, its a bloated busy mess that is 2 minutes too long. They should have had an engineer who WASEN'T stoned out of his mind do some final editing on that track. There's a reason it didn't make the cut of the album (vinyl doesn't count).

    Ghost's first 4 bars are absolute FIRE on "Its Over", and he manages to be hard, sympathetic, and hilarious all at the same time. "There goes the car, the house!" ROFL

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  7. The part about Tommy Mottola is not about his divorce. It is taken verbatim from the original version of the song from the 70's "Cherchez LaFemme".

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