Ghostface Killah

Fishscale (Def Jam)

Phases and Stages

Ghostface Killah

Fishscale (Def Jam)

Street for Peruvian flake, Fishscale won't freeze your face like a cocaine ice flow, but its fast, cheap high proves worth a snort or two. GFK's fifth solo drop outside the Wu-Tang shogunate crystallizes fast disappearing lines – tight tracks, verses, production – plus skits, of which "Bad Mouth Kid" is pure Bernie Mac. Primetime patents Ghost's sincere whine, spilling verse after verse of the opening take-down, "Shakey Dog," before paranoid cookbook instructional "Kilo" weighs in. Killah and Raekwon get their "sniff-on" – a literal riff – while a sisterly chorus ("All around the world today, the kilo is the measure/A kilo is 1,000 grams – easy to remember") smokes rock. Reprise of sorts "R.A.G.U." is a half-serving in light of the Sly Stonian "Dogs of Wars." The JB horn blush/blast of "The Champ" highlights MF Doom, Pete Rock, and Madlib all co-habitating Fishscale's corner, as does the WTC on "9 Milli Bros." And when the former Dennis Coles plays it straight on R&B J Dilla pulse "Whip You With a Strap," he's big daddy smooth, which eases the Ne-Yo radio coo of "Back Like That" next. A pair of Trife cook-ups keep the action simmering. Fishscale's tail-end reeks ("Jellyfish," "Big Girl," "Momma"), but then first cuts are always the deepest.

**

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