The Wu-Tang Clan is legendary, no argument there. The argument does arise when we’re discussing who are your fave spitters from the (originally) nine-man Staten-Island outfit. Method Man, regardless of solo-success always seems to get a pass and Chef is universally accepted as one of its greats – but I think it’s impossible to not praise GFK for his innovation and sheer work ethic. He recently blessed us with his 10th solo effort 36 Seasons, a gorgeous conceptual album released on Tommy Boy Records.
Conceptual albums are no small feat – and few have really done the format as much justice as Price Paul and Raekwon; although, GFK does a great job weaving a lyrically strong story that follows his return home after a nine year prison sentence. He finds it hard to stay away from the game (especially after learning his girl has moved on with another man) and returns to a life of crime only to be set-up. The story, which plays out over 14 songs features a supporting cast of characters played by AZ, Kool G Rap, Tre Williams, Pharoahe Monch, Rell, Kadence Springs, Shawn Wigs and The Revelations.
Standouts for us were Emergency Procedure, which sees Ghostface being saved after the botched heist by a Doctor played by Pharoahe Monch, and Blood In the Streets, which sees Ghostface out for vengeance against the man who double crossed him (played by AZ). The one maybe ‘con’ of this project, if you want to call it that, is that many of the songs seem wildly out of context outside of the album – which should be a better reason to give this a front to back spin. It’s also an inescapable by-product of this format.
A playful mix of introspective soul and gritty hiphop, Ghostface’s 36 Seasons is all of the creativity and wordplay that we’ve come to expect from GFK – too bad we didn’t enjoy the A Better Tomorrow as much as this one!
It’s available now everywhere you can cop music – a MUST LISTEN.
Note: This top 5 is solely that of Riley “Special” Wallace and doesn’t explicitly reflect the view of all aboveaveragehiphop.com’s staff and writers.