Ghostface Killah Apollo Kids

Ghostface KillahApollo Kids
On his ninth album, Ghostface Killah tunes into generic thug mode over thumping, dusty beats. Now, Ghost is too unique to ever be truly boring ― he boasts about drinking jasmine tea with Mandela on "Purified Thoughts" ― yet the Wu-Tang member sounds like he's going through the motions here, his trademark storytelling and pathos scarce. But when Ghost pairs with the right production and complementary rappers, he kills. The elegiac soul wails of "Thoughts" unite Ghost with GZA and Killah Priest for a lyrical showcase. Black Thought's vivid recounting of '80s Philly livens up "In Tha Park," while "Troublemakers" brings verses from Method Man, Raekwon and an on-fire Redman over a hammering Jake One beat. If the album is never exceptional, mediocre Ghost is still better than most. Apollo Kids is best appreciated as a mixtape, a palate cleanser after R&B concept record Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry. Let's hope the next album is a bit more substantial. (Def Jam)