Ghostface The Pretty Toney Album

For the past few years, the consensus among discerning heads has been that the only original member of the Wu-Tang Clan who has best adhered to the witty, unpredictable style the Wu-Tang pioneered while evolving artistically has been Ghostface and this release does nothing to harm that rep. Ghostface’s best asset is his trademark energetic delivery and is wisely fore-grounded in the mix while he rhymes as if his life depended on it over soul-powered tracks and classic breaks supplied by a variety of producers. In comparison to his recent efforts Ghostface’s lyrics are fairly intelligible and there are less of his peerless non sequiturs, yet he’s still prone to illogically throwing a fit over missing banana nutriment. An unabashed ’70s soul baby, Ghostface doesn’t just rhyme over isolated breaks, in the case of "Holla” which taps the Delfonics’ "La La (Means I Love You)” he rhymes over the entire record and sings his own modified chorus with the, ahem, vocal prowess of ODB. For most artists this would be an exercise in cheesiness, but Ghost gets away with it because of the vulnerability and sincerity in his rhymes. It’s apparent the track genuinely mirrors his own feelings and he’s not using soul samples because they’re currently back in vogue. While there is a definite play to the Pretty Toney theme of the album with the Missy Elliott assisted "Tush” and "Ghostface,” yet another ill-advised attempt to recreate the quirky accessibility of "Cherchez Le Ghost,” it’s the arresting visuals and beats of "Be This Way” and the RZA-helmed "Run” that capture Ghost and invariably recent Wu-related material at its best. (Def Jam)