Apollo Kids

Ghostface Killah is so charismatic, he can brag about being an old coot and make it sound badass. "New rappers need to skip town/This is East Coast music, Grandpa Ghost is around!" Ghost, now 40, raps. His ninth album is a return to gritty form after an uneven 2009 R&B experiment, Ghostdini: On track after track, he blows dust off some dirty-soul loop, with boasts as inspired as ever ("Catch me in a little hut in Benin, village-style, feeding the children") and street-crime storytelling as vivid as ever ("It was the night before he got popped/Big jars of haze, Cheech and Chong bong in the spot/Tropicana, strawberries, diced bananas . . ."). Get the guy a "Hip-Hop's #1 Grandpa" T-shirt.

Gallery: Ghostface Killah's Guide to Life

From The Archives Issue 1120: December 23, 2010