Kudos to musicians with a lot to prove. Having to outdo your last critically acclaimed album would induce enough anxiety to buy your therapist another condo, but anyone in reach of a MiDi cable with the iron balls and rise up to the challenge can rhythmically pat them selves on the back with 120 BPM tempo.
Case in point? Ghostface Killah’s 12 Reasons to Die II.
Quick rundown: Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah collaborated with Black Dynamite composer Adrian Younge for a concept album set in the 1960’s about Ghostface Killah‘s alter ego, Tony Starks (Iron Man reference, holla). 12 Reasons to Die was all Italian crime and mob bosses, which might sound like an outrageous feat, but it actually resulted in a really fun and clever album.
12 Reasons to Die II is the sequel; Part 2 of the gripping saga. But unlike every over-saturated franchise in Hollywood, this particular sequel holds up.
Younge’s beats are funky and ruthless; on point at all times, and reminiscent of a score you’d expect from a Tarantino film. Whereas the first installment was filled with guest verses almost to the point of clutter, this one mainly consists of Raekwon and RZA, and are utilized to fuel the narration. Think of them as the star-studded cast that isn’t solely hired to just be eye candy.
And then of course, there’s the album’s track”Get the Money” featuring Vince Staples, one of the released singles of the album and a quintessential example of how easy this album sounds. Even when rapping about #CRIMES, and the prowess of mafia bosses, the music is smooth in its composition and sharp in its delivery.
By no means is it the best in Ghostface’s extensive discography, but it certainly packs a punch and deserves multiple listens. Like Toy Story 2. Or Iron Man 3. Or Jurassic World (are we still arguing about where this one stands? All right, I’ll sit this one out).
Arguably, it’s best heard when someone owes you money, or robs you of your kingpin daughter’s lover. Watch your back out there.
12 Reasons to Die II is out this week. For songs already released, check out Linear Lab’s Soundcloud.