Review: Ghostface Wears A Different Hat

Wrong In So Many Ways
Wrong In So Many Ways

Baseball season is over.  For the Red Sox, it was over one month ago today, the Red Sox were exposed as the subpar franchise that they are in a season-ending sweep by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  Although largely unchanged from championship teams of years past, this Red Sox team lost the talent and the spark of other years- while gaining a steroids scandal (in David Ortiz) and a washed up relief man (in Billy Wagner).  So, while Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester munched Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, watched The Notebook, and cried themselves to sleep, the New York Yankees of New York, New York rampaged their way through the World Series.  They finished off the defending World-Series Champion Phillies in six games, never really giving them any hope.

So, I ask, why was Ghostface Killah sporting a green and red Boston Red Sox New Era cap at his Blind Pig performance on Monday night?  Ghostface Killah, man of the Stapleton housing projects of Staten Island, NY.  Take the Staten Island Ferry to the 4 train to Yankee Stadium.   Or, if you have to, even take the Staten Island Ferry to the 1 train to the 7 train to Shea Stadium (or the new Citi Field).  But, come on Ghost, you have to paddle across the river Styx to get to Fenway Park.

Although my barber, Bob, has explained to me on multiple occasions that the handshake and first 20 seconds of meeting someone new is the most important part of a good relationship, Ghostface quickly redeemed his horrendous first impression.  At 39 years old and over 15 years after the Wu-Tang Clan debut, Ghostface still has an intense and demanding stage presence.  Perhaps he is no longer the perpetually high, in your face, attention grabber of the 90’s, but as hip hop has grown, so has Ghost.  He still coaxed the audience to scream in support of their love of weed and conducted a vote of the crowd’s alcohol preference: Hennessey vs. Grey Goose.  But that doesn’t seem to be Ghostface’s gimmick anymore.  He still holds the crowd with his intricate word plays and boasting banter but he no longer seems to need to hold a blunt to connect with his audience.  With the tracks from the new album, he has also let some catchy hooks grab the audience as well.

Despite a bit of a persona change from Ghostface, the crowd remembered exactly who he is.  He could (and on a few occasions did) let the beat drop and let the sweat-soaked, cigarette-drenched crowd do his bidding, reciting every line to his fast paced stories.  He commanded an even greater response for the Wu-Tang hits (including “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing To Fuck With” and “C.R.E.A.M.”.

Not that Ghostface has never been sentimental – because he has- but it marks a different path when his best-known song is a track about his love for his pregnant girlfriend, complete with a light-hearted R&B loop.  As was apparent by his on-stage demeanor and set choice, Ghostface is content with the maturing of hip hop, the development of the Wu-Tang Clan, and his own, highly regarded status.

(Also, in my concert-going experience openers are generally not worth mentioning.  However, worth mentioning is local local, DJ Chill Will was on the ones and twos in between sets.  Chill Will has a show called The Prop Shop every Saturday night from 9pm-midnight on 88.3 WCBN– a show that I would very highly recommend to any dabbler in the art of hip hop)

Preview: Ghostface Killah- aka Ghostdini, Wizard of Poetry In Emerald City aka Tony Starks aka Ironman aka Pretty Toney- aka the Greatest Wu-Tang Solo Artist, Visits The Blind Pig

Yes, Hes Doing What You Think Hes Doing, Sort Of.
Yes, He's Doing What You Think He's Doing, Sort Of.

Ghostface Killah, founder and foundation of the Wu-Tang Clan, a rap crew from Staten Island, brings his solo act to the Blind Pig tomorrow evening, November 9, in support of his new album, ‘Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City’.

The Wu-Tang Clan gained world fame in 1993 with the release of “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)”.  A raw, innovative work of genius, ’36 Chambers’ continues to rank as one of the greatest rap albums of all time (with hits such as ‘C.R.E.A.M’,’Method Man‘, and ‘Protect Ya Neck’).  Since, the Wu members have continuously released Wu-Tang albums and collaborations as well as their own solo work.  Ghostface Killah, I declare after an extensive and ongoing internal debate along with a very public and popular debate, has had the greatest Wu-Tang solo career. Topping the list of solo albums is his year 2000 masterpiece, “Supreme Clientele” (featuring the hot tracks ‘One‘ and ‘Apollo Kids’, among others).

Ghostface has recently toured with Ann Arbor-born Mayer Hawthorne (Ghost professes his love for Mayer in this New York Times interview) and now brings his solo-act to the Blind Pig tomorrow night.  In support of the new R&B and soul savvy album, Ghostface will bring the motherfuckin’ ruckus as he has done throughout his career.

Blu & Exile, Fashawn, and Skyzoo open the show. Blind Pig @ 208 S.First St. Doors at 9:30.  Cover: $23 (Surcharge free tickets available at 8 Ball Saloon, Underground Sounds, and Vault of Midnight.  Or you can let the internet scam you for all you’re worth).

Video below is from the new album.  It is Ghostface at his grossest.  Enjoy.  (Potentially Not Safe For Work.  But I guess it depends where you work…) (Update: Video removed due to venturing “too far into porn and misogyny area”. Track is called Stapleton Sex, if you so have a desire to find it yourself. I don’t think it goes too far to say that “porn and misogyny” is a large part of the current state of rap music. Although, as a culture, we claim to reject porn and misogyny, hip hop is the largest art form in the world today. I think this is a topic for a post of another day, but it is one worth thinking about. Who is responsible for misogyny in hip hop? Why does it still exist? Where does hip hop go from here? Where does our culture go from here?)

Here’s a different video from the new Ghostdini album-a track called Baby. This one shows a pretty different side of Ghostface.

(Very unrelated but check out the new J.Dilla/Michael Jackson mix from J.Rocc. Pretty unreal)

Bennett. ‘No Shirt, No Radio’ Wednesday Nights, Midnight-1:30am WCBN