Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Ghostface Killah: Ghostdini Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City [Def Jam, 2009]
Aware that maybe his true crime mode is getting tired, he makes the potentially ridiculous switch to love man. Anyone who's witnessed his ramshackle Delfonics shtick onstage is forgiven for forgetting the courtly "Camay" and the violently pornographic "Wildflower" from way back in 1995. But rhymewise, this is original work. Eschewing oily sexual details, luxury purchases, and vows of generalized devotion, Ghost mines the same kind of specifics that juice his gangsta repertoire. He doffs paisley pajamas, offers a pregnant honey sauteed shrimp, jots down his regrets while riding to Riker's, carries her groceries up when the elevator goes out. He likes women who read; he praises stretch-mark fat and thick legs; he amplifies his apologies by noting, "I appreciate your concern and support for me." Yes, he shoots the cuckolding cable guy and adds to "Wildflower" the YouPorn special "Stapleton Sex." And, yes, he does occasionally offer a prospect glimpses of hog heaven. But he really seems to like women, which in a love man you gotta love. A-