Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge – Twelve Reasons To Die II
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Coming hot on the heels of Sour Soul, Ghostface's collaborative album with Toronto jazz band BadBadNotGood, this second 2015 LP reunites the Wu-Tang rapper with film composer Adrian Younge and acts as a sequel to the pair's critically acclaimed 2013 release, Twelve Reasons to Die. "Here's twelve more reasons to die!" Ghost declares on "Return of the Savage," giving up the album's alternative title, although Younge's music alone would alert fans that this is the sequel, as '70s funk and that era's Euro-slasher film soundtracks continue to frame the rapper's story of Mafioso warfare. The gritty electro found on "Powerful One" and the eerie-crossing-into-indie sound of "Resurrection Morning" widen the spectrum ever so slightly, while most everything else sounds like Curtis Mayfield and Ennio Morricone were genetically spliced together, and judging from Ghostface's enthusiasm and heightened inspiration, that's just what the rapper ordered. What's new and improved this time out is guest star Raekwon, who "plays" Lester Kane on the album, a mob boss gunning for the Killah's Tony Starks character with the aim of becoming his arch rival. The two bosses meet, Kane trumps Stark, and then Stark takes a personal journey before a rematch ensues -- with all the rest being spoilers, but the important thing is how well these two Wu brothers play off one another, sounding more in tune than on recent official Wu-Tang efforts. Fine choices like Vince Staples, Lyrics Born, and Bilal fill in the middle bit, while RZA drops in with some comic book narration whenever the story needs to speed up. Like the films Superman 2 and Aliens, the concept LP Twelve Reasons to Die II meets, and for action junkies exceeds, the high standard set by its predecessor.