By Kwase Lane, Contributor
Key Tracks: “Done It Again” “I Think I Saw A Ghost” “Saigon Velour Remix”
Ghostface Killah has returned, and back to his old tricks in The Lost Tapes, but that may not be a good thing. GFK’s unwillingness to take risks on his projects have left the songs on his newer albums stale. The best tracks on Ghostface’s 13th studio album are the ones where he leaves his comfort zone. Hearing him rap over more experimental beats and take a more tender approach give the listener a peek at how much greater Ghostdini could be if he just took more risks.
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GFK takes his time on “Done It Again”, rapping over a light, soulful beat. The contrasting delicate vocals on the track further emphasize his rough voice while highlighting the vulnerability in his lyrics. Even if it does come off as flexing, Ghostface offers his time and money to a woman he has just met. “Even bake you cookies, throwin’ frosting on the cakie / Gucci bags, mad flavors, steppin’ outta Macy’s, yeah”; it’s a side of him his audience doesn’t get to see often and he doesn’t even have to sacrifice his detached persona for the lovey-dovey lyrics. The opposites coexist and combine into something even greater than they could have been on their own.
“I Think I Saw A Ghost” is an all-out brawl between a myriad of subjects all gunning for your attention. These competing elements push Ghostface to be more dynamic than he is usually, or risk losing his song to one of the many other stars that compose it. GFK’s grimy delivery is accented by a screeching electric guitar that serves as an auditory playground for his slick lyricism.
Snoop Dogg, E-40 and Tricky join Ghostface on the star-studded track “Saigon Velour Remix”. The production is wonderfully lush and it feels as if one could fall back and the music would catch. Hearing these seasoned veterans pass the beat back and forth is truly breathtaking. The whole thing feels historic, like one day your kids will come and ask you “Where were you when Ghostface dropped The Lost Tapes”, but that probably won’t happen.
All in all, The Lost Tapes is a fun listen. Ghostface fills the space with his usual lyrical skill and features come in to give the listener a brief reprieve so they don’t get tired of his style. This is far from Ghostface’s best, and while it’s nice to see him do some things different the majority of the album is dreadfully uniform. Ultimately, the success of a Ghostface album is based overwhelmingly on his production. Without a musical genius to support him this album pales in comparison to past projects, but if you like Ghostdini, this album is definitely worth a listen. Ghostface’s status as a rap legend isn’t enough to save him from fading, and neither are second-rate projects like this.