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CD Review: Ghostface Killah

Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry (Def Jam)

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Here's where anyone who thought Ghost was an indistinguishablethug learns a thing or two. Offering to make up a plate of cheese and crackers for a pregnant woman, noticing "your neck smell good," and imploring his baby mama to give his own big belly a rub, he confirms that no one in rap has a finer eye for details. What we didn't know was how tender he could be: In the X-rated "Stapleton Sex," he uses the word "love" almost as many times as "shut your mouth like you under arrest." Billing Ghostdini as his R&B album was more than a cheeky way to acknowledge taking Auto-Tune commissions. It's a backdrop for his new theatrics, catching cheaters in his guest house (and treating them far kinder than he did on 1995's "Wildflower"), and casting Estelle of last year's "American Boy" fame as the aforementioned mother-to-be, wishing her well as she turns him down to rendezvous with her husband. Giggle ironically at the ridiculoid cover or album title at your peril: This 39-year-old is a wizard, transcending his Wu-biquity for a solo identity more funny, visceral and thoughtful than anyone else in the game. And he'll charm — not steal — your woman. — Dan Weiss

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