Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Ghostface Killah: Bulletproof Wallets [Epic, 2001]
With the Wu so cash-poor it's concocting best-ofs from two-album catalogs, Ghostface remains rooted enough to rhyme as both Dennis Coles the insecure project kid and Tony Starks the tough guy with an eye. His high wail intimating banshee and crybaby, he tells a pathetic tale of small-time violence, lets sex get to him, and launches song-and-dance routines that bespeak his deep commitment to show business. Limited partner Raekwon pulls no more weight than the up-and-coming second-raters who provide alternative raps because this album is where Ghostface really steps up. Sure RZA's the man when he chips in, as in "Walking Through the Darkness" (ignore the booklet and go to track 11). But every beat belongs to the man with his name on the slug line, and that's all most of them need. A-