Ghostface Killah's Twelve Reasons to Die LP was a standout collaborative effort between the hip-hop veteran and composer/producer Adrian Younge. The comic-based concept album follows the story of gangster Tony Starks in a 1960s Italy after he is murdered by a powerful Italian family and arises from the dead in order to enact his gory revenge. It is a highly cinematic experience brought to life by Ghostface's fantastical storytelling in conjunction with Adrian's nuanced live production.
I was recently given the opportunity to sit with Adrian Younge in order to discuss the upcoming Twelve Reasons to Die II LP and the process behind collaboration.
EARMILK: It's refreshing to hear an album with such a distinct narrative flair. How was the album's concept originally conceived?
Adrian Younge: The album and the comic book it's based off of are both inspired by a story that I originally conceived. It's always been a dream of mine to create work with the Wu-Tang in order to create something much more than just a rap album. I wanted the storyline of the LP to be as engaging as possible.
EM: How did this collaboration occur?
AY: For the first one, the A&R in LA contacted me and asked if I wanted to do a Ghostface album, and there was absolutely no way that I could have said no to that. The very idea of a collaboration captivated me so much that I wanted to turn the story into a series of sorts. Our chemistry throughout the creation has been nothing but amazing. I was even given an opportunity to back up Ghostface with a live band for a number of months on tour which was surreal.
EM: Where does the sequel pick up from the first?
AY: The sequel takes place a decade after the events of the first in a 1970s New York that is basically taken over by the descendants of the DeLuca family. The Ghostface Killah is resurrected by a rival gang leadernamed Lester Kane (who is played by Raekwon) after he collects the 12 vinyl records containing Ghost's spirit in an attempt to take over the city. The first one was more of a classic revenge story mixed with horror elements while the sequel is more influenced by the classic mafia/gangster movies such as Goodfellas & Carlito's Way.
EM: Do you feel as though the recording process was a lot more fluid this time around?
AY: Honestly when you're inspired, its always easy. It was a great experience and I was ready to start recording for the sequel as soon as we wrapped up the first one. Both of the albums felt so effortless because I felt like this story was meant to be told. On top of that, Ghostface has nothing else to prove in terms of his mastery of rhyme. He arguably has the best run of classic albums of all time. The fact that he's spitting as well he is in 2015 as he did in 1993 is still astounding to me.
EM: This is a far more grandiose project with a lot more in terms of collaborators. How was it working with Vince Staples and company?
AY: One thing about being a producer at this point is that I can work with people that I admire and people I enjoy working with. All the guest are people who I consider to be my friends so it all happened very naturally. As a producer, these people are experienced and know what to do on cue. They saw the vision and played their parts to perfection. To me this album is also ample proof that Ghost & Raekwon are the best duo in hip-hop history.
EM: The original Twelve Reasons to Die was also complimented by a series of graphic novel/comic books. Do you plan to release any addition multi-media with the release of the sequel?
AY: We are actually in the process of shooting a series of short films that using a combination of filming styles following the narrative of the album as opposed to traditional music videos. We also have a bunch of neat speciality packages such as 7 inches of all the singles.
You can now purchase/stream Twelve Reasons to Die II here !
Ghostface Killah x Adrian Younge
'Twelve Reasons to Die'
- Linear Labs
- July 10th, 2015