The Ghostface Evolution: Streets to Sheets

Even if he hadn't made his name rapping about kilos and capers, Wu-Tang MC Ghostface Killah's longform flow would still be described as straight dope. But Ghostface - AKA “Tony Starks”, “Ironman”, “Pretty Toney” and now “Ghostdini the Wizard of Poetry” - did gain a reputation from swaggering through tales of the uncut slums. So his latest album's turn toward mellow, R&B-backed stories of sensitive playas and sexcapades at first seems as bugged-out as a fiend from one of Ghostface's narratives about hittin' the fishscale. (And just wait till you see the Emerald City cover theme.)

It's not unprecedented for Ghostface to detour from streets to sheets; he's just never done it for more than a couple cuts off each album before, while mixing it up with some candid childhood reminiscence. On his new release, Ghostface brings the same eye for itemized detail to tales of hittin' skins and cheating wives that he does to those of grindin' in a more entrepreneurial sense: making tracks more about females than watered down for females. The material isn't as anxious, fiery, and righteous as previous albums, but Ghostface's latest does feel more appropriate for a man close to entering his 40s. Ghostface is still at the top of his game, but now it's more about expanding a man's legacy rather than just extending his reputation. Catch Ghostface at Revolution Live (200 W Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale) Wednesday night at 8, when talking about his new joints still means hot tracks and not hip replacement. Tickets cost $19. Call 954-727-0950, or visit jointherevolution.net.
Wed., Oct. 7, 8 p.m., 2009

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Tony Ware