Ghostface Killah, "Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City"

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In the past decade, Ghostface Killah has moved away from the esoteric beats of his Wu-Tang Clan cuts to explore buttery soul rhythms. On his new album, "Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City," the rapper dives head-first into R&B and the results are more mixed than his hip-hop output but nonetheless intriguing. On the first single, "Baby," Ghostface spits come-ons between a soaring chorus by Raheem DeVaughn, while "Guest House" showcases a moody tale of betrayal with Fabolous popping up as the other man. As always, Ghostface's penchant for storytelling is the main attraction, with each verse displaying impeccable detail and confidence that commands attention. While the album's softer instrumentation and thematic preoccupation with romance may initially frustrate some diehard rap fans, its silky hooks begin to sink in with repeated listens. "The Wizard of Poetry" represents a curious departure in Ghostface's discography, but after his heavy-handed past work, the set is an entertaining breather.-Jason Lipshutz