Charli Baltimore f/ Ghostface Killah – “
from Cold As Ice Unreleased LP (Untertainment, 1999)
Unlike many of the “lost classics” I cover on this site, I don’t really think Charli Baltimore ever deserved to release an album. Yeah, she fucked Biggie. So did a lot of people. I guess she was a fairly competent femcee when backed with the right ghostwriter, but really, anybody could do that job. It’s a case of a hanger on who was almost in the right place at the right time, but then wasn’t. She don’t even look all that good (imho).
But even hangers on can make great records on occasion. If the BIG affiliation didn’t make this apparent, Charli had sense enough to surround herself with the right people, and “Stand Up” is the perfect example of this. One of the last great Wu Tang records, it’s sort of a “Bitties In The BK Lounge” meets “Wildflower”, bringing in Tony Starks for a violent, yet playful male/female cat and mouse tag team collabo. She offers sexual favors in exchange for publishing while Supreme Clientle era Ghost demands she put her money on his “priceless, stainless dick” while spitting the bizzaro imagery you’d expect from him (“short range salt water taf’ / iron man bubble bath / nuclear split the atom in half”). All this over a post digital RZA beat that still sounds all too analog with his trademark 36 chamber piano loop slop steez. (edit – and how could i fail to mention the very soulful call for all proud brothers and sisters to stand up and blow their whistles? anybody know what record that’s from? it’s on the tip of my tongue.)
But yeah, Cold As Ice got shelved permanently. I guess the little she was getting a little buzz from that Cam’ron cut with the night court beat and that “Money” cut just wasn’t enough for the suits (I also remember the appropriately grimey video for this track getting much burn on the box (r.i.p) , but I don’t know if that ever counted for anything). Plus her man Lance “Un” Rivera was having his own issues what with the Jay-Z stabbing incident. It’s probably a shame, too. I never heard the whole thing, but by all accounts Charli actually wanted to make a street record. The promos were boasting not only this joint but also a (few?) DJ Premier cuts. Plus it supposedly had Lady of Rage & Gangsta Boo ON THE SAME TRACK! And like I said, backed with the right production and ghostwriting, she’s tolerable. But it was not to be. Untertainment went Un-der and the she put the nail in her own coffin by linking up with those (Murder) Inc. clowns. There she was shelved once again. And with Gotti’s current legal troubles, that’s probably where she’ll stay.
But yeah Ghost still makes great records. And RZA wrote a pretty interesting book.