Ghostface Killah - 36 Seasons (Review)

Ghostface Killah - 36 Seasons (Review)

"36 Seasons" is the latest album from hip-hop legend and Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah. The album features guest appearances from Kool G Rap, AZ, Pharoahe Monch, Shawn Wigs and others as well as production from Fizzy Womack (aka Lil' Fame of M.O.P.), The 45 King and Malik Abdul-Rahmaan, but mostly all production is handled by Brooklyn production team/band The Revelations. It is set to be released on December 9, 2014 via Salvation Music, Inc./Tommy Boy Entertainment, LLC.

1) The Battlefield (featuring Kool G Rap, AZ and Tre Williams) - The album starts off with Ghostface Killah returning home to Staten Island after being away for 9 years, with Kool G Rap playing a local drug kingpin named Future (I think) and AZ playing a police officer. The beat, by Fizzy Womack and The Revelations, is crazy, with some light chimes and pianos over aggressive distorted electric guitars that have me nodding my head like crazy. The energetic feel of the song reminds me of "Rivers of Blood" off of "The Man With The Iron Fists" soundtrack, which is a good thing. Very dope way to start off the album. - 4.5/5

2) Love Don't Live Here No More (featuring Kandace Springs) - Ghostface decides to head over to his girl Bamboo's house and finds out that she is with another man after having not heard from him for 9 years. The rhymes are vivid and the beat, by Malik Abdul-Rahmaan and The Revelations, is real soulful, which helps to flesh out the emotional aspects of the song. Oh and Kandace Springs kills it on the chorus while playing the part of Bamboo. Another dope track. - 4.5/5

3) Here I Go Again (featuring AZ and Rell) - The beat on this cut, courtesy of Fizzy Womack and The Revelations, is real smooth, with a beautiful piano loop layered over boom-bap drums. As far as the rhymes go, this song finds officer AZ convincing Tony to help him clean up the block by taking care of the dealers while AZ covers up for him -
"A badge and a gun that's legal is more lethal
Than any local dealer that's evil, leading peoples
The sequel, me and you could both split a loaf
Just need you a little close and you could squeeze off that toast
And knock off targets, starting with the hardest
By next year, my nigga, we be the largest
Felonies done with no charges."
The beat is banging, the rhymes are dope and the chorus by Rell is real soulful. - 4.5/5

4) Loyalty (featuring Kool G Rap and Nems) - Kool G Rap rhymes about running Staten Island for the past 9 years while Nems plays the part of one of his underlings over a darker instrumental full of falling strings and haunting vocals. I've never heard of this Nems guy before, but he sounds real nice on here. Anyways, the beat is fire and the rhymes are just as strong. - 4.25/5

5) It's A Thin Line Between Love And Hate (featuring The Revelations) - This song is kind of like an interlude to the story and finds The Revelations reworking The Persuaders classic track "Thin Line Between Love And Hate". The cut is meant to be a song on the radio (or on tape) in the story and it works pretty well for what it is. - 4/5

6) The Dog's of War (featuring Shawn Wigs and Kool G Rap) - Ghostface Killah and Theodore Unit emcee Shawn Wigs go after Future (Kool G Rap) over yet another crazy instrumental by The Revelations. The beat is appropriately dark, with some guitars and cinematic strings, to go with the story as Future gets killed by Ghost, but not before Tony gets himself blown up in the process. - 4.25/5

7) Emergency Procedure (featuring Pharoahe Monch) - Dr. X (aka Pharoahe Monch) builds Tony a mask that will allow him to breathe and thus saving his live over another energetic instrumental full of live instrumentation. The beat has a sort of comic book vibe to it and the rhymes are really dope, with Pharoahe especially killing his guest appearance. This project is fire so far. - 4.25/5

8) Double Cross (featuring AZ) - After getting all fixed up by Dr. X and helping to clean up his neighborhood by knocking off Future, Tony decides to go see whats up with Bamboo before he is arrested by the police. Turns out he was double crossed by officer AZ, who refers to Ghost as just another pawn in his chess game. Dope shit. - 4.5/5

9) Bamboo's Lament (featuring Kandace Springs) - This is another interlude sort of track, with Kandace Springs playing the part of Bamboo and wondering if she made a mistake when kicking Ghost out and helping AZ set him up. The production, by Malik Abdul-Rahmaan and The Revelations, is mellow and reflective as Kandace thinks things through. - 3.75/5

10) Pieces of the Puzzle (featuring AZ) - Ghostface figures out that AZ is actually the kingpin who was controlling Future over another darker instrumental with some ill guitars and stomping drums. Bamboo is there waiting for him when he gets out of jail and gives him some of AZ's cash to help him get out of town. I guess she came to terms with what she did on the previous track. Yet another very dope track. That beat is nice. - 4/5

11) Homicide (featuring Nems and Shawn Wigs) - Futures boy Nems is back and decides to take out Ghost's homie Shawn Wigs in retaliation for killing his boss over a hard ass instrumental from Malik Abdul-Rahmaan and The Revelations. The beat and rhymes are real aggressive as Ghost find's Wigs' body and decides it's time to finish this. - 4.5/5

12) Blood in the Streets (featuring AZ) - The story reaches it's climax as Tony uses the money given to him by Bamboo to buy an arsenal and proceeds to take out AZ and his gang. The beat, by The 45 King and The Revelations, is appropriately frantic and definitely brings the energy as Ghost ends up being the last man standing after the smoke clears. - 4/5

13) Call My Name - The final song on the album (before the instrumental outro) finds Tony making up with Bamboo as well as becoming a sort of "superhero" that is going to keep his neighborhood streets clean over another cinematic instrumental. The beat and rhymes are dope and act as a nice closing to the albums story. - 4.25/5

14) I Love You For All Seasons (featuring The Revelations) - Beautiful instrumental outro by The Revelations. - 4/5

I'm going to rate the album

4.25 / 5

because it's really good. The production is stellar throughout, with The Revelations (and company) delivering instrumentals that have that classic, gritty New York sound despite being totally made up of live instrumentation instead of samples. The beats greatly enhance the potency of the story, remaining laid back and mellow when the characters are thoughtful and becoming more aggressive and frantic during the action sequences. Speaking of the rhymes, they are just as crazy as the production, with Ghostface and all of the guests ripping the beats while skillfully playing their parts of the story. Every verse fits together with the others and everybody has a role to play, from AZ's corrupt cop to Pharoahe Monch's mysterious Dr. X. Overall the album is easily one of my favorites of 2014 and is yet another essential entry into Ghostface Killah's already outstanding discography.


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