Ghostface Killah – Fishscale

On his new album, Fishscale, the Monster of Don a.k.a. Ghostface Killah does what he does best—spitting crack tales in vivid details. To illustrate that he is still the hardest-working dopeman in the business, Ghost chucks out the hooks and pushes 64 bars straight in “Shakey Dog” right off the bat. He sounds hungrier than ever. Packing words into the beat like a crack dealer stuffing his cocaine into a bag, Ghost’s energy brings a filmic experience to his narration: “Frank pushed me into the door / the door flew open / Dude had his mouth open / Frozen, stood still with his heat bulging / Told him, ‘Freeze, lay the fuck down and enjoy the moment.’ / Frank snatched his gat / Slapped him, asked him, ‘Where’s the cash, coke, and the crack?'”

If I need a recipe for making cocaine, no need to look further than the crackmasters in “Kilo.” With Raekwon who is also a descriptive lyricist joining him, Ghost lays down the process of manufacturing coke like Emeril prepares his favorite soup: “Big heavy pots over hot stoves / Mayonnaise jars and water / With rocks in ’em / Got my whole project outta order / Kilo is a thousand grams / Beige, gold, brown, dirty, fluffy, tan / Extract oil come from Cuban plants.” Another flavorful collaboration between these two Wu-Tang members is “R.A.G.U.,” a violence scene in which Ghosts finishes with, “Yo Lord! I knocked out his teeth / Now he’s rocking those false joints like everything’s peace.”

Fishscale’s productions are tight, but what drive the recordings are Ghost’s dynamic deliveries. In “The Champ,” Just Blaze’s orchestration is crazy—hard beat fused with chaotic guitar and harsh horns arrangement—Ghost’s flow is crazier, and he lets nothing overpowered his voice. On the sentimental “Whip You with a Strap,” the late J Dilla sampled Luther Ingram’s “To the Other Man” and provided a soulful beat for Ghost to reflects on his childhood memory in which he was belted by his mother for his rudeness: “Mama shake me real hard / then get the big gat—that called the belt. / ‘Help me,’ as I yelled / I’m in the room like ‘huh, huh, huh’ with mad welts / Ragged out, bad belt / Yes her presence was felt.”

With a solid release filled with aesthetic qualities, Ghost has proved that he still stands strong in the hip-hop community at the age of thirty-five while many of his peers have gone. He has not only maintained his style, but also improved and refined his techniques over the years. Fishscale confirms that Ghost is keeping the game on lock.