Ghostface Killah fields questions from reporters on the intro to The Pretty Toney Album, the rapper's first under the just-Ghostface moniker and his first on Def Jam. According to the intro, the Wu-Tang are doing fine and waiting for the right moment to drop their next album, and it's none of your business why Pretty Toney took so long to come out. That's about all Ghostface wants to say about any of the drama surrounding the album. With tracks this good, who can blame him for the "let's get to it" attitude? The Pretty Toney Album has a lack of Wu-related references on it. It's Ghostface's album entirely and all the better for it. It's partly a party album like 2001's Bulletproof Wallets, but freer, more inspired, and tempered with pure street tracks that were missing last time round. Perhaps feeling the lack of hood interest for his last album, Ghostface puts a handful of Pretty Toney's hardest tracks at the beginning as if he's ready to prove something right away. The best of the lot, "Metal Lungies," could be the theme for any aspiring mack, but the rest are very good, suffering a bit from being laid out one after another. The sleazy "Bathtub (Skit)" has the repeat-play value of a porno movie, but it brings on the lighter and more rewarding part of the album. "Save Me Dear" is a bumpy and fun Ghostface production and another great singalong from the rapper. Don't expect a ton of chemistry between Ghostface and Missy Elliott, but their "Tush" is a hedonistic, club-aimed highlight with both in top form on their own. Jackie-O connects much better with the man on "Tooken Back," one of two great productions from Nottz and first of the three solid tracks that finish the album. The chaotic "Run" and the sentimental laundry list of beloveds on "Love" finish the album on a high note, but there's something missing. Rumor has it Def Jam wouldn't pony up the dough and clear samples for the tracks that didn't make the album. Songs the rapper has posted on his own website and mixtapes like DJ Kayslay's No Pork on My Fork, Vol. 1 or the MC's own Pretty Toney (The Lost Tracks) (released under his original Ghostface Killah moniker) tell the whole story. Get them all and you might be able to piece together a classic Ghostface album. Pretty Toney comes close, very close, and puts the man's solo career back on solid ground.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries