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Why Ghost Can’t Make It

Granted, Ghostface Killah’s new album won’t be out – in stores, at least – for another week or so, but I’m going to go ahead and assume it will fail miserably. It hit Internets file sharing networks late this week and I reviewed it on my own site yesterday.

Like I said in my review, I find it to be a pretty good album, falling in his catalog somewhere between 2001′s Bulletproof Wallets, definitely his worst album, and 2004′s The Pretty Toney Album, which was incredible.

Ghost’s albums ranked in order from best to worst:

  1. Supreme Clientele
  2. Ironman
  3. The Pretty Toney Album
  4. Fishscale
  5. Bulletproof Wallets

I wonder if people will beg to differ as far as those first three are concerned. I think an argument could be made for putting Pretty Toney number two, but I think (I hope) we can agree that Supreme Clientele is Ghost’s best album by far. He still does like 3/4 of it in concert, compared to like one or two songs from most of his other albums and maybe nothing from Bulletproof Wallets.

[Note that I'm aware that Bulletproof Wallets was severly hamstrung by sample clearance issues and other issues with Ghost's label. I'd still rather listen to 718.]

Of course most of the people at my site disagree, but then my site is frequented by assholes and idiots. Most (basically all) of them haven’t heard it yet, but the tendency is to want to believe that it’s even better than The Pretty Toney Album. After all, XXL itself gave it an XL rating, and they don’t just hand those out.

But regardless of where you think Fishscale ranks in the Ironman canon, I think it’s about obvious at this point the album is poised to fail commercially just like its immediate predecessor. The Pretty Toney Album wasn’t nearly as challeging a work, to use a euphemism, and that shit went wood like a mofo. You can’t help but wonder if this is the end of an era.

I don’t have the figures in front of me, but you’d have to assume that an album like Fishscale costs quite a bit to produce. It’s got like 23 tracks on it, and most if not all of them feature at least one, if not multiple samples. Part of Ghost’s problem with his old label Epic was that they didn’t want to shell out for so many samples. Maybe they knew something Def Jam didn’t.

I don’t know how many more albums Ghostface’s deal with Def Jam calls for, but I wonder how many more times he can put out an album like Fishscale before Jay-Z has Memphis Bleek leave a note on his desk (on a Friday, of course) telling him his services are no longer needed.

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