Ghostface Killah | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Ghostface Killah 

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After the paranoid lyrics and sluggish tempos of 2004's The Pretty Toney Album, Ghostface Killah's new Fishscale (Def Jam) comes on like a shiny party record. The lead single, "Back Like That," is big-budget bounce slicked up with multitracked R & B ooohs and romantic piano, with Ghost sounding rough and hurt, hollering about his ex-girl swallowing the kids of her new man. It might be the most linear narrative he's ever written: the press release for the album notes that Ghost's been "free of intoxicants" for two years, which might explain why his hallucinatory flow now sounds so focused, especially in comparison to older tracks like "Nutmeg," which boasted strings of lines like "Scooby snack jurassic plastic gas booby trap." The production--from MF Doom, Just Blaze, Madlib, and J Dilla (R.I.P.)--is heavy on vaguely psychedelic 60s soul samples, with lean beats that leave plenty of room for him to work. On tracks like "Kilo," featuring Raekwon, and the Pete Rock-produced "Be Easy," he finally sounds like a man with an objective. Lupe Fiasco and M-1 (from Dead Prez) open. Fri 3/10, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $23 in advance, $25 at the door, 18+.

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