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The Immersion: Fighting “Chinatown Wars” With Ghostface & MF Doom

Posted by Dharmic X on 03/14/13 | Filed under The Immersion, Ghostface Killah, MF Doom
The last few weeks have suggested that 2013 might be the year of the Ghostface Killah. Following a solid but somewhat disappointing Wu-Block album in 2012, the Wu-Tang member is returning to the table with a brand new collaborative album, "Twelve Reasons to Die". The producer for this project is the dynamic Adrian Younge, under the watchful eye of RZA, the executive producer. Needless to say, this project is shaping up to be a prime contender for album of the year.

The build up to "Twelve Reasons to Die" has reminded me of one of the forgotten gems of early 2009, a song that came and went, used for a video game on the little-used Nintendo DS portable device. Rockstar Games, as part of their push to maintain "Grand Theft Auto"’s edgy brand by injecting original hip-hop music content into their soundtracks, managed to secure a track from the enigmatic MF DOOM and the equally eccentric Ghostface Killah.

“Chinatown Wars” is unconventional, slightly bizarre, but ultimately, pure genius.

Ghostface and DOOM play off each other, both emcees dropping two verses. Ghost attacks the beat with lyrical agility, nimbly moving across Oh No’s distorted head nodding production while dropping vintage oddball quotes along the way. “I move like a porn star in charm school, I stick everything I see but I only take jewels and cash rules...” Who else could come up with that?

“Chinatown Wars” was to be my introduction to MF DOOM, and what an introduction it turned out to be. Doom takes the beat and simply devours it whole. It all begins with the opening line, “Clap on... clap off.” There is a power and confidence in DOOM’s voice that mesmerizes even as he jumps off beat within the first bar. He plays a trick on the listener, pretending to have no control over the beat before quickly restoring his vice-grip over it.

In his monotone, conversationalist, stream-of-conscious flow, DOOM paints a picture that is stunningly vivid and manages to fit despite the unorthodoxy of style. Each metaphor sounds like the click of a camera; when DOOM says “Had more fun with a crooked rookie, went for his gun, cracked his skull like a fortune cookie,” it is as if the listener is out there on the fictional battlefield with the masked rhymeslinger, battling thugs and dirty cops and busting their heads wide open. There is an insane amount of detail for someone who initially comes across as an unorganized mess.

This collaboration between DOOM and Ghostface is not the only collaboration between the two off-kilter rappers. In fact, naturally, the chemistry was so zany, so perfect, that the two had plans to come out with a full-length collaborative album. Naturally, years have passed and nothing has materialized yet, but Ghostface has begun to make promises that fans can expect something by Halloween time. As a critic of music, I’ve grown accustomed to (senselessly talking about "Detox") demonstrating time and time again that pipe dreams are merely that, pipe dreams, meant never to be taken seriously. But as a fan, I still await for "The Middle Passage" with bated breath. I’ve been beyond satisfied by "Only Built for Cuban Linx II" and "The Greatest Story Never Told". And I still plan on getting "The Nacirema Dream" when that comes out (hopefully) in April.

I have hope in DOOMSTARKS coming to fruition, and if "Twelve Reasons to Die" is any indication, I expect greatness.

2013 is the year of the Ghostface Killah.

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See Also:  The Immersion: Preparing for Slaughterhouse’s Onslaught
See Also:  The Immersion: Going “Loso’s Way” With Fabolous

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