Who else slides down in their seat and sighs one of those good sighs of relief/relaxation when they hear Ghostface Killah on the mic? It can’t only be me. He has one of those voices that was made for rapping. His flow is so controlled, and the new collaboration with BadBadNotGood’s “70’s gloom funk was a perfect fit to lay under Ghostface Killah and bring him back to what he does best. Plus the instrumental version of this album is going to make a lot of SoundCloud-bound demo-tapers lose their minds trying to get their turns in. He may not be crooning sweet nothings here, but Ghostface has finally made that soul record.
After 20 years, the Roots have slowly got the world accustomed to the idea of hip-hop being sound-tracked by real instruments. But Toronto based BadBadNotGood are a different kind of band – a young jazz student outfit with a taste for hip-hop covers helped to fame by Tyler, the Creator; they have since moved on to collaborations with Odd Future, performing with Tyler, covering Bob Dylan with Frank Ocean and accompanying Earl Sweatshirt. Thanks to the help of producer Frank Dukes, they found Ghost. Here, Ghostface Kilah, age 44, draws away from girls and glocks, and talks more on mortality and shows some maturity. It’s a classy album when you really get down to it, yet thug motivation pervades throughout the project, and old habits die hard. As Josh Kennedy of Billboard put it, “age can wear you down, but Ghost remains as strong as ever.” The presence of BadBadNotGood and some show-stealing guest verses from MF Doom & Elzhi are reason enough to face the prospect of Ghostface in second gear.