"Fishscale," slang for uncut cocaine, is just as fitting a description
for Ghostface’s euphoria-inducing, addictive delivery as it is for the
narcotics theme that is scattered throughout his 5th album. As a
hip-hop veteran, he shows no signs of slowing down and still has one of
the most versatile, creative flows in Hip Hop.
Anyone questioning Ghostface’s hunger of late should look no
further than “The Champ”. He rips the Just Blaze-produced banger to
shreds, evoking memories of his first album’s standout track, “Daytona
500”. The flashbacks continue with “9 Milli Bros”, reuniting all nine
members of Wu-Tang Clan over dramatic pianos that could have been heard
on "Forever", and with “R.A.G.U.”, one of five tracks featuring Raekwon
which gives listeners a nostalgic reminder of "Only Built for Cuban
Linx", arguably one of the best hip-hop albums ever released.
But is this trip down memory lane a positive? Despite the argument that
artists should be continually evolving and creating different music,
good music is good music regardless of whether it breaks new ground.
And, bottom line, this is good music.
Aside from the classic Wu-sounding tracks, the album has more of the
lighthearted, soulful sound that we have come to expect from the
Ghostface of the new millennium. “Kilo” is an infectious, funky ode to drug
dealers that plays on Scarface’s famous analysis of American girls with
“Whoever got the kilos got the candy man… Once you got the funds you got
the panties man”. “Big Girl” is a message to women urging them to stop
doing drugs and concentrate on the more positive aspects of life, over a
minimally manipulated soul song reminiscent of the "Pretty Toney" Album
Ghostface does break some new ground conceptually on "Fishscale":
“Barbershop” is a hilarious look at the rapper’s angst when barbers mess
up his hair. On “Underwater”, MF Doom provides the perfect atmospheric
production for a psychedelic journey through the deep sea where
“Sponge-Bob in the Bentley coupe bangin’ the Isley’s” and “Mermaids with
Halle Berry haircuts” co-exist. Even when Ghost keeps the subject matter
more standard (drugs, battle tracks, women), he always manages to come
across in a unique way that never fails to keep the listener interested.
This is true Hip-Hop. It is not because Ghost uses a certain
production sound, flows a certain way, or covers certain topics. It
is quite the opposite. This album is a lesson in individual creative
artistic expression. Ghost is able to vividly depict his true self and
his world through music. Although at times he may stumble, his honesty
is a breath of fresh air in an industry littered with formulaic artists.