I remember picking up "Bulletproof Wallets" around the time it dropped in 2001 and feeling generally dissapointed in the otherwise so consistent Ghostface's latest offering. Besides being one of my favorite MC's of all time and hailing from my favorite crew of rappers of all time Mr. Coles always had a great ear for beats and a knack for putting together cohessive albums that flowed from start to finnish. If you look at the good 'ol Wu-Tang classics ("Tical", "36 Chambers", "Return to 36 Chambers", "Liquid Swords", "Wu-Tang Forever", "The Pillage", etc.) you'll see that Ghost was always enlisted as an executive producer for the project together with RZA. That's the main reason his third album catched me a little off guard; it had a lot of the right elements, excellent guest features, nice production and somewhere in there you could almost sense a nice summer type of vibe to the tracks, but it just wasn't stirred and mixed right in my opinion. The thing is that "B.P.W." should have been a much tighter album if it wasn't for Epic Records who according to Ghost wasn't willing to pay for many of the sample clearances on the album, making bangers like "The Sun", "The Watch" and "Good Times" being dropped while joints like "Flowers" were remixed to almost unlistenable result. An original tracklisting has never been properly confirmed but the songs has been made available and this was something I felt I needed to put together to make me able to see Ghostface's true intentions with the album he recorded in 2001. The tracklisting on the back of the retail CD originally had a different tracklist than the actual CD (including songs like "The Sun") and clean vinyl promos for radio was also sent out by Epic. These sources, together with my common sense, is what I have based the compilation below on and I think it's pretty safe to say that this is much closer to how GFK had intended his listeners to experience the LP. Personally I think it's so much better I was actually pretty damn suprised the first times I listened to it. Hopefully you'll get the same experience and start viewing it a little differently (The Source gave the advance promo 4.5 mics from what I've heard).
Last but not least a little background info on the recordings that became "Bulletproof Wallets"; As the follow-up to the critically acclaimed "Supreme Clientele" it was done in a similair fashion. Ghostface Killah and RZA got beats from various producers they felt would fit the vibe of the project and produced and arranged the album together (RZA also has 6 beats on here). It was mostly recorded out in Miami and had a lot of guest apperances by Raekwon, this album was for a while supposed to be the original sequel to "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...". My guess is that the vibe of the songs started straying too far into a new direction, Other producers on here include Alchemist, Allah Mathematics and Carlos Broady amongst others. By the way, I think "Street Chemistry" was an late addition since none of the tracklistings I followed it had it listed, they both ends with "Strawberry".
01. "The Sun" (Ft. Raekwon, Slick Rick & RZA)
02. "Never Be The Same Again" (Ft. Raekwon & Carl Thomas)
03. "The Forrest"
04. "Theodore" (Ft. Trife & Twiz)
05. "Interlude #1" (Ft. Raekwon)
06. "Flowers" (Ft. Raekwon, Method Man & Superb)
07. "Ghost Showers"
08. "Maxine" (Ft. Raekwon)
"The Watch" (Ft. Raekwon)
09. "Walking Through The Darkness" (Ft. Tekitha)
10. "Interlude #2: ICE"
11. "Teddy Skit"
13. "The Juks" (Ft. Trife & Superb)
14. "The Hilton" (Ft. Raekwon)
15. "Good Times" (Ft. Raekwon & Superb)
16. "Strawberry" (Ft. Killa Sin)
17. "Street Chemistry" (Ft. Prodigal Sunn & Trife) [*]'