Calling Ghostemane multi-dimensional is an understatement. While his experimental style is quite literally synonymous with his name, his personal facets are just as vast. In a real Harvard dropout-like tale, Ghost chose to forego a job in astrophysics to create the music that he wanted to hear. Nevertheless, humanity’s position within the stratosphere and its surrounding theory is a realm that Ghost has not completely abandoned when it comes to his artistic approach. He puts his money where his mouth is in terms of knowledge of different philosophies and musical styles yet doesn’t cling too closely to any one in particular.
While the South Florida rapper has already had a busy year, having dropped Dahlia I with regarded DJ Getter, new album N/O/I/S/E is set for release this fall. Offering a glimpse into the record’s sound, Ghost offers the visuals for his most recent track, “D(r)ead.” Aesthetically, the video encompasses a macabre merry-go-round of horror favorites – haunting dolls sitting pretty, long black nails reaching for knives, poisoned insects coming back to life, and poignant glimpses of vacant individuals in bondage. While these shades of darkness immediately take no prisoners, Ghost starts his performance steadily with a cool and jaded groove. After his demonstrating his signature adaptation of quintessentially super-fast flow, he shapeshifts to the role of frontman, as accompanied by Travis Barker. The instrumental choice of live drums— also employed by friend and colleague Pouya during live performances—helps the rhythmic style of hip-hop congeal with more abrasive hardcore elements.
Lyrically, the track also takes a few jabs at the current era of experimental music, as well as the preconceived notions around it. Ghost runs on the strength awarded by overcoming the challenges of doing things your way – not because you consciously decided to, but because you could never fit into the shape of conventional life (and conventional music). Lines like Pussy mothafuckers wanna be bad/they wanna be mad/they try to be sad/but never had a reason to cry hint a response to the appropriation of depression in music. Seeking out reasons to die seems disingenuous. Rather, when you’re being bombarded with demons you’re scraping up reasons to try to live. Of course, mental health is a contentious subject and it can be a bit of land mine to try to interpret others’ stance without a shadow of a doubt. Nevertheless, with this perspective on the main verse in mind, the intro’s repetition of “I’ve got a noose around my neck” takes on a new layer of gravity.
When it comes to N/O/I/S/E, it looks like we can expect attention to stylistic detail and substance behind the brutishness. Ghostemane’s style cannot be compartmentalized within the context of a flat earth, but that quality is what seems to be striking a chord with the kids, who, if born a bit earlier, would have been of the Manson/NIN tribe. By surpassing boundaries, Ghost continues to carve out his greater purpose in a musical sphere that was seemingly running finite.