Wednesday, February 13, 2008

DJ Chong Wizard - American Ironman (Shawn Carter vs. Tony Starks) Mixtape - (2008)

Imagine what a typical day might be like for two of the games most revered emcees, Jigga and Ghost. Now picture what it would be like if both men switched identities and lived for a minute in each other’s worlds. Hip-Hop Trading Places if you will. Over at the “Wu Mansion” in Staten Island, Jay is chilling in his 3-piece tux struggling to make out the time on his Cartier piece through his bloodshot eyes; while over in Manhattan, Ghost is arguing with security at the 40/40 Club explaining that his fresh mint green Wallys do indeed fit the dress code.

DJ Chong Wizard’s (who hails from the west coast of Canada, Vancity to be exact) latest mixtape, American Ironman, is the aural equivalent of the aforementioned strange scenario. It is the latest (and freshest) in a recent string of American Gangster-related mixtapes that gives the heads out there the opportunity to hear Jigga’s rhymes over some other artist’s music. This latest installment mashes Jay-Z’s lyrics from American Gangster (2007) over beats from Ghostface’s classic, Ironman (1996) and vice versa.

The melding of Jay’s laid back, grown man bars over smoky, off-kilter soundscapes crafted by the RZA equal automatic reloads on “Ignorant After The Smoke” where Jay-Z and Beanie Siegel drop knowledge from “Ignorant Shit” on top of Ghost’s “After The Smoke Is Cleared”. Hearing Hova spit “They’re all actors / Looking at themselves in the mirror / Can’t even face themselves / They don’t fear rappers” over RZA’s haunting backdrop creates 2008’s first smoker’s anthem.

Ghost sounds equally comfortable slinging his lyrical nonsense over “Success” a blaxploitation-style key frenzy that No I.D. and Jermaine Dupri produced. The quality of the track (including a few others) are not top notch but yet again the pairing feels as comfortable as Tony Stark’s bathrobe.

On this memorable and unique mixtape, DJ Chong Wizard shows us what the “Best of Both Worlds” should have sounded like the first time around minus Kells. Staten Island and Marcy Projects’ finest need to build on this mixtape and make an official collaboration, because this mixtape can best be described in Ghostface’s own words; it’s comparable to “Plush robes made from suede/And knitted by virgins”; or something like that.

Rating: 8.5/10

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