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Seventies Soul, Comic Books and Ghostface Killah

It’s surprising someone hasn’t done it sooner. On April 16, Ghostface Killah is releasing Twelve Reasons to Die — a companion album to a comic book of the same name. 

Given the exaggerated, cartoonish bravado and gritty, urban crime-world motifs of hip hop, the pairing makes perfect sense. And the online trailer for Twelve Reasons to Die is full of noir, Tarantino-style atmosphere referencing classic Blaxploitation films. 

The accompanying Ghostface album roughly follows the plot of the book, a “brutal tale of gangsters, betrayal and one vengeful soul.” In the story, Ghostface Killah’s ashes are pressed into a record after 12 mob bosses murder him; each track is his revenge on those who wronged him. 

Ghostface and RZA conceived the project, both former members of seminal ’90s hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan. While hugely influential, Wu-Tang is sort of the Saturday Night Live of hip hop; former members of the large group going solo with varying degrees of success. Ghostface is no different. While prolific, he’s never become quite the household name like his one-time collaborator Kanye West. 

Also involved in the 12 Reasons project is producer Adrian Younge. Younge, who recently revived the career of Philly soul legends The Delfonics, is known for producing cinematic, neo-soul that revives classic sounds of the ’70s — perfect for the stylized aesthetic of this concept album. 

Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge’s Venice Dawn play 8 pm Tuesday, April 9, at WOW Hall; $20 adv., $25 door.