By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
After brushing off The Pretty Toney Album, his big huff Def Jam debut that moved an underwhelming 60,000 units in first-week sales last April, Ghostface Killah took a cue from fellow Clansters RZA and Masta Killa and crept out into the indie brush to introduce his second-generation posse Theodore Unit. The low-budget studio-to-stereo system seemed to be a good look capable of producing a brisk string of mixtapes stamped with industry cred.
Online buzz around Theodore Unit's 718 has correctly marked it as a pet cemetery of sorts for black-market staples such as "The Drummer" with Method Man, and "Guerilla Hood," a code orange industry indictment, that were inexplicably taken off the official release of The Pretty Toney Album, presumably in favor of an unloved single called "Tush" and a bathtub skit best forgotten. These key cuts are used up early as bookends for "Punch In Punch Out," a so-so solo cut from Ghost's apt understudy Trife that counterfeits the beat from the Diplomats' "Dipset Anthem," and the breakbeat sampling madness of "88 Freestyle," jinxing 718 with the same top-heavy sequencing that plagued Ghost's last solo album.
But this time, instead of playing catch-up himself, Ghost puts Theodore Unit's other members on the floor. From the rambling, belched non sequiturs of Solomon Childs on "Mama Can You Hear Me," to fourth-stringer Shawn Wigs anointing T-Unit the "new Sammy Sosa" on "Daily Routine," there are mass casualties in the proceeding avalanche. Arguably more irrelevant than Raekwon's American Cream Team, this charity work leaves Ghostface staring down at the low-light of a prolific career.