Ghostface Killah, “36 Seasons”
Self-appointed superhero voice of the downtrodden, Ghostface Killah promotes his eleventh album in the wake of Wu-Tang’s abysmal return by doing nothing more than what he’s always done: limning bleak realities with a wonderful mess of Technicolor word diarrhea.
And so, 36 Seasons chronicles Ghost’s return to Staten Island, where he must take on the role of vigilante to save his ’hood from corruption. It’s a true Hero’s Journey, including death and mutilated rebirth (c/o Pharoahe Monch, definitely welcome), a rampant shifting of perspectives, violent stand-offs, and a “Gimme the Loot”–like tag-team retelling of tragedy (“The Dogs of War”), all spread liberally across production by the Revelations, Malik Abdul-Rahmaan, and Fizzy Womack—no strangers to the Iron Man’s typical puree of soul samples and heady funk. A testament to his continued relevance, 36 Seasons at least saves one member of the Wu from the villainy of A Better Tomorrow.