Either you love the man or you hate him, but without a doubt Swizz Beatz has had his share of hits in the industry. Blowing up on the scene with the Dmx classic "Ruff Ryders Anthem", Swizz soon became the toast of the industry. Every artist hoped on the bandwagon and elevated Swizz to one of the biggest names in the industry. From Dmx, to Noreaga to Jay-z, the name Swizz Beatz was literally one every album that came out in the late 90's. However, as the industry started to embrace Swizz, fans and critics all over started to realize that Swizz's production was very simplistic, boring and repetitive. After numerous hits, Swizz Beatz quickly became the fad producer of our times. His synthesizer-produced tracks soon became utterly simplistic in nature and down right unoriginal. With rumors circulating that Swizz even stole some tracks off of a Casio programmed keyboard, the industry which once embraced him soon shrugged him off as a gimmick.
After taking some much-needed time off, Swizz started to make a comeback in the production area the last few years. Slowly but surely, Swizz has now reestablished himself as a legitimate producer in the industry, no matter the criticism still floating around. However, its was on the horrific "Ruff Ryders Vol. 2" where we saw Swizz make the biggest change, and it had nothing to do with his production. Swizz was rapping! Numerous producers have tried to switch the script and make a successful career not only producing but also rapping, however few have succeed. However, Swizz looks to change all of that with his debut album "Ghetto Stories".
While Swizz may be a decent producer at best, as an emcee he is even worse. Following in the footsteps of every other producer that has failed as an emcee, Swizz doesn't bring anything new or innovative to the table and is more or less using his popularity as a producer to sell albums. Lyrically Swizz is below average, as his topics include the same tired old tales of the industry. While he does pack a good flow, nothing else will even keep your attention. However, most of "Ghetto Stories" is thankfully filled with guest appearances to cover up the fact that Swizz can't rhyme. The only problem is most of these tracks arent any good either, minus a few memorable experiences.
The Ruff Ryders family shows up for a couple tracks on the album as expected. "Big Business" featuring Jadakiss and Ron Isely is one of the few hits on the album thanks to some nice production by Swizz and Kiss's lyrical performance on the mic. Swizz also adds the huge summer hit "Goodtimes" by Styles to the album, as the track is definitely one of his best works behind the board. However, that ends up as the only Ruff Ryder highlight on the album as the other two tracks "Island Spice" featuring Eve and "Let Me See You Do Your Thang" featuring Yung Wun and Baby are horrible.
Also showing up for this train wreck of an album are LiL Kim on "Gone Delirious", and Shyne and Noreaga on their self titled tracks, all of which end up as your average, run of the mill type tracks. However, it does get worse for Swizz, as the Ja Rule & Metallica track "We Did It Again" tinkers on insanity. Describing such a track would not only be a waste of time, but a disservice to everyone reading this. Some tracks should just be left alone; this is one of them.
There are a couple of nice tracks featured on "Ghetto Stories" though. "The General Remix" featuring Nas, Fat Joe & Cassidy features some nice street enthused production by Swizz that is heads and tails above the original. The only solid solo track "Ghetto Stories" succeeds due to one of the better production moments on the album, no matter Swizz's incoherent lyricism. "Endalay" featuring Busta Rhymes, "Guilty" featuring Bounty Killah and "Ghetto Love" featuring LL Cool J & Mashonda are also solid tracks worth a listen or two.
No matter his popularity, nothing can cover up the fact that Swizz Beatz simply isn't a good emcee. Some people should just stick to what they are good at, and Swizz is definitely one of them. While "Ghetto Stories" features a couple of solid tracks, most of it contains your average filler type tracks that you would expect. While the production is solid at parts, Swizz still remains inconsistent, and has never been able to put out quality work at a large rate. It is now evident why Swizz's record company has shelved this album for almost a year. Swizz has to get back in the studio and come up with some better material if he want's to even be considered as a respectable emcee. And no matter how many guest appearances he clutters on his album, nothing will cover up for the fact that deep down Swizz Beatz shouldn't be rhyming.