In my musical upbringing, Ghostface Killah is an oddity. Back in 2006, I was a senior in high school and my iPod was almost exclusively filled with classic rock tracks (thanks parents) and Rage Against The Machine (thanks teenage angst). There's no reason that Ghostface Killah's absolutely amazing Fishscale should have been anywhere near my radar.

But we were introduced by a friend of a friend, and it's been love ever since. To this day, I can still perfectly recite "The Champ" from that record because I practically burned the lyrics into my brain by endless repetition. In fact, let's give it another listen.

Eight years later, I still wait patiently for every new Ghostface Killah LP. So, of course, this week I've been exclusively streaming 36 Seasons via NPR First Listen—and it is soooo good. Every single second of this album's 40 minutes is just fun. With a mixture of rap, soul, hip-hop, R&B, and maybe even subtle doo-wop influences sprinkled about.

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With that staggering list of genres jammed into one album, 36 Seasons jumps from a biting opener with "The Battlefield," reminiscent of Fishscale at its absolute best, and transitions to slower numbers like "It's a Thin Line Between Love and Hate."

It's a shame that so many music pubs have pushed out their "Best of 2014" lists because 36 Seasons could've easily been a contender, maybe even The Champ. [NPR]


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