from ACRN: An Exploration of Love Through the Wizard of Poetry

As I listened to Ghostface Killah’s latest album Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City, I noticed he took a whole new approach to the rap game. Some would think he went all soft and lovey-dovey. Some would think he is trying to expand his craft from just talking about the drug game. Some would think he is doing what he does best -- exposing the world to the life he knows.

What kind of life is that? Obviously, if you listen to his album, he is diving into the field of love in the hip-hop community, an area often forgotten thanks to the violent and homophobic images portrayed by the music industry. With such popular hip-hop songs like Gucci Mane's “Wasted” and popular hip-hop groups with names resembling the slaughtering of animals/emcees (i.e. Slaughterhouse), one couldn’t help but ask: Where’s the love in hip-hop music? The moment we ask that question, we come to Ghostdini.

I believe Ghostface’s purpose with the album, and most agree, is to exalt the old school love in the Black community, especially the kind of love that was sung about in the '60s and '70s. His album pays homage to old school R&B from the “thick and thin, 'til death do us couples part” lyrical content, to the samples used, much of which came from the prominent R&B figures from the 1970s. If you listen to the samples used, you hear such titles as “You Can’t Stop My Love” by Norman Feels (in “Do Over”), “Stay A Little Longer” by Yvonne Fair (in “Stay”), “We Will Always Be Together” by the Whatnauts (in “Forever”) and more.

When I heard the album in its entirety, all I could think of was my family. I thought of my parents, who were together for about 30 years until my father passed away, and my grandmother and her “friend” who lived together as long as I can remember but never married because of the respect they had for my grandfather. Not to forget the complications my folks faced while together –- from money problems to trust issues –- reminded me that love was always something people can’t stray from, as much as they may try. And with Ghostface’s album, he brings love back into hip-hop, as much as the community tries to stray away. And the hip-hop community in Athens cannot help but agree.


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