Ghostfunk pairs one of my favorite hip-hop artists, Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah, with vintage African funk, high-life, and psychedelic rock music.
From the first second of track one, Make It N.Y., Ghostfunk hits hard. You definitely get the vintage African funk vibe right out of the gate, and it doesn’t let up. The entire album is Ghost’s hardcore, stream-of-conscious storytelling in his in-your-face style, mixed with a lot of that vintage African funk sound, as well as some distorted guitar solos, adding that bit of psychedelia. All of these elements come together perfectly to show us how hip hop is supposed to sound. If all hip hop sounded like this album, I would be a pretty big fan of the genre. The vocals have heart. The music has heart. They’re mixed together seamlessly.
If you’ve read a couple of my reviews, you’ve no doubt noticed that I have a pretty solid disdain for the Black Eyed Peas. Less publicized is my disdain for Nelly and Kanye. I don’t like most hip hop that’s out there today. Indeed, I kind of hate a lot of the hip hop I hear today. I loved a lot of what was going on in the rap game back in the late 80s and early 90s. You know, back when I was still playing with G.I. Joes and wearing a towel as a cape. I haven’t heard much worth getting excited over in the past few years, as far as hip hop is concerned. But, if you saw my review of Atmosphere, then you know that I still have the capacity to love rap. I love a lot of the elements that originally made up hip hop. I love heavy drums and bass. I love old funk and R&B. I love slam poetry. I love storytelling. Why do I hate so much current hip hop? It’s garbage. It’s useless pop fluff with no heart or soul.
But, with Ghostfunk, I’m starting to think that I may have been too quick to judge. Granted, this is a remix. It doesn’t sound like the original Ghostface recordings. That in mind, I did a little reading on my favorite academic resource, Wikipedia. I knew that Ghostface Killah was a member of Wu Tang Clan, and I’ve always enjoyed Wu Tang. What I didn’t know, though, was that Ghostface’s solo stuff tended to be more heavily influenced by old R&B. I didn’t know that Ghostface has been acclaimed as one of the greatest rappers of all time. I’m out of the know, people. This is why I started this project to begin with. I fear that, in my judgment of hip hop based on the merits of Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West and Nelly, I may have discounted an entire genre of music that has a lot to offer.
The thing is, if you don’t like hip hop because of the lack of soul that you hear nowadays, it’s probably because record companies have found it easier to market soulless, heartless bullshit that’s heavily electronic and heavily autotuned. The same is true for pop, rock and country. And it’s valid. Honestly, if I were a record executive, I’d push the stuff that would make the most money, too. It’s just good business. But it alienates those of us who want something real. All you need to know, fellow music lovers, is that the good stuff is out there. You just have to dig a little deeper than the top 40. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
ALSO! I almost forgot. I got this fantastic album from Max Tannone’s website, totally free. You can download it here.
Next week, in keeping with the theme of free music, I’m going to talk about all four of Ben Kenney’s solo albums, which I downloaded for free from his website. You can get those here. I’ll repost the link next week if it’s still active. I suggest everyone go take advantage now. Also, I’m gonna do another chopping block. I think I’ll go with Korn.