Monday, March 11, 2013

The Ghostface Killah Project Part 3: Bulletproof Wallets

"Bulletproof Wallets" is one of the most unique album titles I've ever seen, and I still find myself wondering what Ghost was aiming for with this title. I guess I shouldn't (continue) to put additional thought into it. Either way, I anticipated this one a lot and was a little surprised to see him dropping another one a year after the seminal "Supreme Clientele". I bought this album the week it was released (Friday, November 16th, 2001 to be exact, along with my first DVD player, lol). And unfortunately, the original pressing of this album had an incorrect tracklist and sequencing, as a few of the songs that were listed were clearly not on the album. Ghost would later leave Epic Records as a result, in addition to other things (more on that later).

Release date- November 13, 2001

We get the opening with Rae and Ghost. Ghost notably points out some of the trends that he pioneered, specifically the "wallabee" shoe, one of his trademarks.

Maxine (Featuring Raekwon, Produced by The RZA)
The album starts off with a bang, no question. "Maxine" is the obvious subject of this ongoing story over a lively RZA track. 4 out of 5

Flowers (Featuring Raekwon, Method Man, and Superb, Produced by The RZA)
Very good collaboration here, with all four MCs flowing nicely over another lively RZA track. 4 out of 5

Never Be The Same Again (Featuring Raekwon and Carl Thomas, Produced by Lilz & PLX)
This wouldn't be the first time that Ghost attempted commercial success. Another Wu-Tang styled song meant for the ladies. 3 out of 5

Teddy (Skit)

Theodore (Featuring Trife and Twiz, Produced by Mathematics)
It just hit me that the reason behind the title of this track is the dawning of "Theodore Unit", which Ghost would later name his crew, along with Trife and Twiz as additional members. The song here is pretty dope too. 4 out of 5

Ghost Showers (Featuring Madame Majestic, Produced by Chris Liggio & Tally Galbreth)
This song was MADE for the radio, but instead, at this point in 2001, the only time this was heard on the radio was during one of the mix shows on one of the respective stations in my area. Ms. Majestic sounded different (and better) on here than she did on "Cherchez La Ghost", but it worked. 5 out of 5

Strawberry (Featuring Killa Sin, Produced by Mathematics)
Killarmy's Killa Sin appeared on this song, which comes off as more of an interlude. Not sure what the purpose of this was. 2.5 out of 5

The Forest (Featuring Raekwon, Produced by The Alchemist)
Ghost's storytelling is at the forefront again, as he uses selected cartoon characters in a lyrically creative way. 5 out of 5

The Juks (Featuring Superb and Trife, Produced by The Alchemist)
Very dope here. Trife completely steals the show here, and yes, he did it on a song with Ghost. 4 out of 5

Walking Through The Darkness (Featuring Tekitha, Produced by The RZA)
Again, not sure of what the purpose of this was. 2.5 out of 5

Jealously (Skit)
The name of this says it all.

The Hilton (Featuring Raekwon, Produced by Carlos Broady)
Another track where the chemistry between Rae and Ghost is displayed, and its done so over this Carlos Broady produced banger. 4 out of 5

Ice (Interlude)
Those familiar with Cam'ron's "Come Home With Me" (its title track) will recognize this beat, produced by the Heatmakerz. Not sure what happened that made both MCs get the same beat, but it's all good.

Love Session (Featuring Ruff Endz, Produced by Underdawgz)
We get the second song aimed at the female audience, as this was more or less a continuation of "Never Be The Same Again". 3 out of 5

Street Chemistry (Featuring Prodigal Sunn & Trife, Produced by The Alchemist)
Good God, if there ever was a song that was TOO short but should've been a little longer, it's this one. This is one of my favorite Alchemist beats, and all three MCs kill it completely. And JUST as you're getting into it, the song abruptly ends, smh. 4.5 out of 5

Overall, while receiving considerable less buzz than "Supreme Clientele", this was an excellent album from Ghost. And speaking of that buzz, that's essentially what led to Ghost's departure from Epic Records to Def Jam, as there was literally no promotion for this album in addition to the lack of buzz. Also, "The Sun" (which featured Slick Rick and Raekwon), "The Watch", and "Good Times" didn't make the album for various reasons (probably sample clearance) and had those songs been in place of "Never Be The Same Again", "Love Session", "Strawberry", and "Walking Through The Darkness", the rating would be different. As it stands, it still receives a solid 4 star rating from me, and it's Ghost's most underrated effort.

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