Twelve Reasons to Die

This "groundbreaking concept album" (as the press release calls it) tells the story of an internecine mafia war, which erupts when Ghostface Killah's alter ego, Tony Starks, an aspiring member of the Deluca crime family, falls in love with a woman from the Delucas' circle – and I'm falling fast asleep trying to recount the ludicrous plot. Focus instead on Ghostface, whose shaggy, breathless flow remains one of pop's most transfixing sounds. ­Composer-producer Younge combines breaks with live instruments, for blaxploitation soundtrack-style stuff – a touch dull but not intrusive enough to detract from Ghost's riveting presence.

From The Archives Issue 1183: May 23, 2013