Free Download: Jay-Z and Ghostface Killah, 'American Ironman', by DJ Chong Wizard
Mixtape Name: American Ironman
Created By: DJ Chong Wizard
Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Reviewed by: Raj Lovesoul
Real hip-hop heads are massively underserved by the current mixtape DJ’s of choice. I haven’t got anything that moves me from DJ Clue, Whoo Kid, Kay Slay, or any of the oversized cap wearers who like to scream a lot. Sure, we get great tapes from Talib Kweli, Mick Boogie and Little Brother, but straight up decent concept mixtapes are few and far between. So I was more than pleased to come across Vancouver’s DJ Chong Wizard, and the best mash-up tape I’ve heard for a minute, American Ironman.
As the name suggests, this is a sophisticated mash-up of primarily Ghostface Killah’s 1996 CLASSIC ‘Ironman’, and 2007’s heavy hitting offering by Jay-Z, ‘American Gangster’, inspired by the film release of the same name. Wizard chooses select adlibs and vocals from the wider catalogues of Tony Starks and J-Hova, mixed in with some skilled scratching, making this tape a very original, skilled piece of work. The effort is easy to appreciate and the concept is highly applaudable, although a bit of beat breaking, sampling and looping would’ve scored more points.
This is an important mixtape, and you should hear it right now. Here are the reasons:
Ghost’s Ironman album is one of the most beautifully produced hip-hop albums of all time. The crafting of the soul samples knock harder than the P Diddy co-exec production on American Gangster, and actually improve on Jay’s overall sound by offering that harder knock. Check in particular Track 2, ‘Black Super Hero Music’, Track 4 ‘Black Day ‘Em’, Track 6 ‘Is This What Success is all About’ and the extra grit that Ghost adds to Track 8 ‘Success at The Apollo’.
Some records look like the pitch and finishing could have been improved on, like the great idea behind ‘Ignorant After the Smoke’. Overall Jay’s vocals land better on Ghost records than vice versa. But this is because Tony Starks pours more emotion into the vocal, and into the intricate crevices of the beat, which isn’t easy to transfer… that’s probably why more people sample Jay’s quirky lines. Chong Wizard also exposes Jay-Z’s concept nature. Re-listening to Jay’s verses makes you realise that American Ganagster was not the ‘concept’ album it claimed. It was basically a hustler album, with some back references to the movie so it could duck in on the dual promo. Some usage of ‘Roc Boys’ or ‘Daytona 500’ would’ve probably produced a few more classics, but either way, as an overall tape, DJ Chong Wizard is damn good and has left us with some finished tracks that are absolute keepers.
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