Adrian Younge presents:
12 Reasons To Die II
starring Ghostface Killah
Release date: July 10th 2015
“Let me tell these n!&&@$ something god, I don’t want n!&&@$ sounding like me… on NO ALBUM, you know what I’m saying? Because I’ll approach the n!&&@…” Ghostface Killah, ‘Shark N!&&@$ (Biters)’, 1995
We are fast approaching the 20th Anniversary of perhaps Wu-Tang’s most critically acclaimed album. That skit where the quote came from, had artists on notice. Somewhere between then and now the no biting rule in Hip Hop has broken. Not only was it broken, it was destroyed. Abused. Mutilated. Victimized. Emasculated. Artists came out sounding like Biggie (Shyne), Nas (Your Old Droog) and Ghostface Killah (Action Bronson). It may seem like a co-incidence, but when Twelve Reasons To Die Part 2 Hit stores, Bronson appeared on ESPN and threw shots at Ghostface. The Supreme Clientele Champion took to YouTube, threw the killing plate at Bronson and put him on blast. Don’t call it a beef, call it an inevitable rivalry.
The album’s executive producer – The RZA described Ghost as ‘The Powerful One’ in the Wu-Tang Manual. He’s back people!!! The Return of the Savage!!! And the album thriller begins! As you look at the track listing, there is a striking difference – the Wu clansmen who were predominately featured in the first instalment are all exchanged for Chef Raekwon (who plays Lester Kane) who appears on 5 of the 13 tracks. RZA returns as the album’s narrator. Seems like a new hobby that the Abbott has adopted since he really immersed himself into movies.
The ongoing battle to be the King Of New York is different to the one described in this sequel. This is about Kane Vs Luther Luca, the head of the remaining members of the DeLuca clan. Soon time for Tony to Rise Up once again… featuring Scarub, there’s a difference between biting one’s style and actually paying homage to a classic hot line: “The Luger’s rain, man, ain’t nothing but purp b!tch/That’s the cane clan, they ain’t nothing to f**k with/My tools say blam, change man to chump bits/Fools gonna lay in the Hudson or some ditch…”
Something interesting occurs in the ‘Daily News’… Clan rivalry killings hit the headlines, but the track is cut short… Ghost’s last bar tells Shawn Wigs of Theodore Unit to tell the priest how it went down… but alas, no Wigs to be seen…an unfinished track due to time restraints? Was Wigs’ verse not good enough?
Maybe Wigs couldn’t ‘Get The Money’, but Def Jam’s Vince Staples was able to! Staples plays the role as one of Lester Kane’s men in the war against the DeLucas over an intense Adrian Younge beat.
RZA continues telling the story, as Lester closes in on Luca, and discovers a few things…there she is, Logan – the woman who caused all this mess, and a child…who happens to be Starks secret son…that could change everything.
Death’s Invitation sees Scarub, Lyrics Born and Chino XL attack the beat in an unorthodox style and it’s all poppin off…but Adrian Younge’s beat may overpower the MCs lyrics in places so the listener cannot catch everything said, but they get the idea of what is going on.
We come to the album’s highlight.. ‘Let The Record Spin’ sees Raekwon’s character summons he who has the Wu-Tang-ClanGhostface killing plate by doing just that. The DeLuca clan are in trouble now! They know what happened last time they went up against him. Lester finds himself sealing the deal in exchange for his life…
This flows nicely into ‘Blackout’, Lester now has the power of the Ghostface Killah. This is a two-minute assault with Ghost & Rae going tag team mode, they could have went another minute at least… so enjoyable, head nodding screwfacing, and boom – it’s all over, now it’s Resurrection Morning, which sees a different, more haunting Bilal appear on the track, not the smooth soul of Bilal that we know and expect. Time for Lester to seal his deal and he’s a man of his word…but Ghostface instead takes the soul of his son in ‘Life’s A Rebirth’, and finally puts an end to the woman who started it all.
The end of this album is clearly saying that this is a trilogy of events, so expect a 12 Reasons To Die Part 3 in the next year or so, or at the rate of albums that Ghost is going in, the next few months!
In the space of 8 months, Ghostface Killah has released 3 albums, all of them conceptual, all consistently good. Recall another MC who has done that. Right – NONE. Even though Wu fans would prefer to see RZA rhyme in the album, his role as a narrator fits perfectly. Ghost carries on tradition of giving fans an instrumental version of the album, however it’s a shame that Apollo Brown wasn’t available to put his version of the events this time round (Here’s looking at you Cylent Assassin – accept challenge?) As good as these short, movie like albums are, fans are really crying out for the Supreme Clientele: Blue & Cream. When Mr Bronson can at least match Ghostface’s consistency in 8 months, then there is a conversation. One thing is for sure, fans of the STILL reigning, defending Supreme Clientele Champion will enjoy their summer.
(Michael Grant of RePPiN 4U)