Reelin’ In The Cheers
Ghostface Killah, the “body” of the Wu-Tang Voltron, has returned with Fishscale. With guest appearances including Cappadonna, “The Chef” Raekwon, and even the late great Notorious B.I.G., this is a must listen for all hip-hop fans.Deeply sincere and brutally honest, “Momma” and “Whip You With a Strap” lament Ghostâ€šÃ„Ã´s mother as much as they pay tribute to her, with “Strap” strong enough to be a single. The female chorus on “The Kilo” — “All around the world today, the kilo is the measure” — contrasts the male verses and complements the razor-blade-on-mirror background effects. “Back Like That,” featuring Ne-Yo, pays homage to the good old days in its lyrics but more so in its disciplined, vintage sampling.
The most impressive tracks are “Be Easy” and “Underwater.” Featured on HBO’s Entourage, “Be Easy” is a trunk-busting jam sure to get any dance floor jumping. The other end of the spectrum, “Underwater,” is what Ghost does best. A sensory journey of sounds, Ghost takes the listener on a mythic swim describing treasure chests, Noah’s Ark, and the lure of singing mermaids who hold the key to a secret submerged doorway.
Big beats, inquisitive and sometimes hilarious samples grounded with five-star lyrics are what we have come to expect from Ghostface Killah. With that in mind, “Three Bricks” feels out of place on this album. The over-emphasized piano and keyboard melodies and skinny drum line don’t sound like any other track on the record. “New” vocal tracks from deceased artists (Biggie, in this case) sound artificial and leave listeners with a sense of unease. This song is better left unheard. So are all the skits. Otherwise, Fishscale is truly a catch.