Track Review: Ghostface Killah
“You Know I’m No Good [Feat. Amy Winehouse]”
from “More Fish”
A lot of rappers spend their time rhyming about their life and past, trying to garner respect for their rough childhood and the hustling they (used to) do, as if the only thing that mattered was their own before-after scenario and how much they embody that classic rags-to-riches story we’ve all become so painfully numb to. Ghostface, he’s above all that. He’s a storyteller. He’s a creator and navigator of nascent narratives. He’s the village griot from thousands of years ago, back to kick your ass and beat his flow into your maladjusted head. It’s not about him, it’s not about what’s real—it’s about being lead around by his imagination like a dog on a leash.
“Fishscale”, though it was around a half hour too long, only reinforced the power Ghost’s soapbox fabrications. I expected much the same from “More Fish” and, for the most part, got just that. The one exception, however, is “You Know I’m No Good”; this is a rare glimpse of Ghostface, a song that could very well be entirely true and, as an exception to the rule, is so much the better for it.
The track kicks off with one of Amy Winehouse’s jazzy breaks that never fails to remind me of James Bond—schmoozy and classy to the point of no longer being either. The beat is smooth but unoffending, like a track playing from a public radio station out of a stereo in the other room, but these are the beats that suit Ghostface best, that give him the space to move around and the chance to be the focus of the song, as he more often than not should be.
But, like I said, this song stands out because Ghostface kicks down the wall he’s built up between him and his audience. The song’s about a girl, but not just any girl—this girl’s got Ghost all torn up, to the point of sounding panicked about halfway through. He regrets, he drinks, he questions—it’s so delightfully human it’s hard to believe that it could be another one of his stories. The usual high energy Ghostface maintains while he raps is, at points, almost doubled, and the result is impossible to ignore.
And, just as about he sounds like he’s about to explode, Amy Winehouse kicks it down a notch with her barroom vocals and the listener is caught in the emotional rollercoaster that Ghost himself seems to have endured to painfully.
Ghostface Killah - You Know I’m No Good [Feat. Amy Winehouse]
- Dominick Duhamel -
Tags: Ghostface Killah, More Fish, Amy Winehouse, mp3