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Monday, March 2, 2015

[Review/Stream] GHOSTFACE - "SOUR SOUL"

There's been some serious lack of updates over here at The Lost Tapes which I apologize to my trusted readers for. Sometimes life just gets in the way, you know, and I always want to give you the best. For those who know me or follow the site, you might be familiar with my top three all time great emcees - which are none other than Rakm, Ghostface Killah and Nas. Not only are they great writers, or have memorable voices, but they all have the total package - from the flow, to the writing, from the cadence, to the delivery, from the catalouge to the live shows, to the originality, and so on. As legendary they are they have never either felt the need to do what is expected from them. Albums like "Wizard Of Poetry", "The Seventh Seal" and "NIGGER" might not have been what the fans expected from these guys at the given time, but nontheless it was what was on their respective minds as artists and therefore they should have all the credit in the world for expressing that to the fullest. But this post is about Ghostface Killah, and more specifically about his new collaboration with young Canadian jazz trio BadBadNotGood and producer Frank Dukes which dropped last week.

I kind of view "Sour Soul" as the third installment in a trilogy that begun a couple of years back when Ghostface teamed up with LA multi-instrumentalist Adrian Younge and his band Venice Dawn for "12 Reasons to Die". Barely a year later The Masked Killer unleashed a full-length project produced and performed by Brooklyn based live band The Revelations who, under the supervision of RZA and Lil' Fame, did an excellent job in producing "Chamber Music" and "Legendary Weapons". Both aforementioned albums was plot driven albums that told a story from point A to B, and especially on the latter you could hear that Ghost didn't feel as excited or free in creating his lyrial poems. The result was an album with a decent storyline that lacked any real suprises or slanged out goodies which in turn made the replay value real lacking. Listening to "Sour Soul" for the first time it's easy to see that "36 Seasons" was a small mistep in the wrong direction. Instead of the imitation type '70s soul and funk beats we got on the latter, BBNG and Frank Dukes takes mad inspiration from the type of gritty, psychadelic funk that was all over blaxploatation soundtracks of its heyday - back when Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye created cinematic masterpieces to screen over bad ass flicks like "Super Bad" and "Trouble Man". This is the type of powerful shit the quintet has cooked up for the duration of the LP, and trust me when I say that it's not boring for a second.

The lenght of the album, clocking in at only 32 minutes at 12 tracks, and 9 songs featuring vocals at that, might have knuckleheads screaming foul and "EP hustle!" but they are completely missing the point. This is how it used to be done, cut all the fillers, make sure there's a red line running throughout the disc, and if it doesn't fit - no matter how good - save it for another project. I got to give props to the quintet involved here for doing just that as this plays exactly like an album in its truest sense and unlike "36 Seasons" it is truly a worthy sequel to the equally brilliant "Twelve Reasons to Die". Over dark, agressive funk with soul vibes, Ghostface sounds rejuvinated; ditching the predictable gangster slang for psychadelic rainbow slang and ghetto alien speak. In other words there's plenty of rewind worthy material throughout, and it's kind of funny that three very young Canadian caucasians brings some of the darkest, most afro-centric, jazz fusion blues that Ghost has sunk his teeth into for quite a few years. There's horns, Fender basses, vibraphones, kicking drum patterns, strings, and guitars - and all without the use of samples. Yet, Frank Dukes, who has a great track record with Ghost, clearly knows how to get that crisp sound imitating a sampler. And there's no question about it - these gentlemen were having a hell of a lot of fun recording this gem. Last but not least, it's a collaborative effort in every sense of the word - it's just as much a BadBadNotGood / Frank Dukes album as it is a Ghostface album, and I think everyone involved should get the highest props for their hard work on this. I can only hope this is the first of many volumes to come. "Sour Soul" is another highlight in Ghostface's catalouge - a discography that is quickly becoming perhaps the finest in all of hip-hop. Personally I'd rate this album four out of five.

Stream the entire album below to get a taste of what to expect, but you should of course grab it on either iTunes or better yet a physical copy and support the real. Grab it @ iTunes or UGHH.

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