The DeLucas pressed Tony’s remains
Into 12 vinyl records
One for each member of the family
But little did they know
He would return…”
Bang bang. Somebody shot Tony Starks down. But he wouldn’t give up the Ghost.
FACT: There is no artist in any genre who has constructed a more compelling mythology for themselves than Ghostface Killah. It’s beyond wordsmithery or a compelling flow or great concepts or that voice that would command attention while reading the receipt from your last visit to the grocery store. It’s all that and more. The fact that one of hip-hop’s most engaging online editorial voices adopted the Ghostface identity and voice for their writing pretty much sums it up. How could anyone else top that high-quality imitative flattery?
Side bar – imagine if Ghostface got together with Quentin Tarantino to bang out a screenplay. You couldn’t pay me to stay away from the theatre on that opening weekend.
So aside from the titular man, what do we talk about when we talk about The Rise Of The Ghostface Killah? Atmosphere, for one. This bad boy is absolutely drenched in it. With the snares tuned loose and the cymbals lightly splashy, the drums provide a rickety bedrock. The choir of female voices that open the track bring the drama right quick. It’s all about that guitar tremolo though. Really, the production on the song, courtesy of Adrian Younge, is a marvel in and of itself.
Of course, this is a track from Pretty Tone so wordplay must be discussed. Ghostface has put out concept tracks and albums in the past, but The Rise Of… is high concept even for a dude who is used to writing the script and casting himself in the lead role. Our hero is a newly minted supernatural being – ex-mafioso, whacked by his employers – hell bent on vengance. There is much to mine here.
Tommy guns are irrelevant, I’m bulletproof now
I could fly through the air and duck your chick-a-pow
Black superhero, crime boss arch nemesis
Good vs. Evil since the first book of Genesis
Battle to the end that’s the way of the thriller
And Starks is reborn as the Ghostface KILLAH
No one could get iller.”
By the way, that “getting ashes pressed into vinyl records” that RZA is going on about in the intro is actually a thing that anyone can do. Try not to feel like a don when you put this on.