Known for his clever wordplay and creative approach to authentic Hip-Hop, the Ironman also known as Ghostface is back with his fifth solo album, “Fishscale” on Def Jam Records. For those of you who don’t know, Ghostface is one of the nine original members of the legendary Hip-Hop group, Wu-Tang Clan. Hailing from Staten Island, the groups’ first release in 1993, (enter the Wu-Tang:36Chambers) gave fans raw images of what life was like growing up in New York’s inner city. Since 93′, group members have skillfully intertwined Buddhist perspectves, urban life, and martial art practices, coupled with dirty beats to create a sound all their own.
On “Fishscale,” Ghostface, who was once referred to as Ghostface Killah (adopted from a 1979 movie called “The Mystery of Chess Boxing”) continues to take courageous strides in his own lane.
Despite lackluster guest appearances and bizarre skits, Ghostface delivers a solid album that picks up right where the “Pretty Toney” album left off.
On “Whip You with a Strap,” Ghostface samples a simple, but soulful melody from Luther Ingram’s “To the Other Man.” This gives the youngsters of today an honest look back at what discipline use to be like when he was growing up in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. “Nowadays kids don’t get beat, they get big treats, fresh pair of sneaks, punishment’s like ‘have a seat.'” On “Barbershop” Ghostface walks a fine line between skit and an actual song where he relays a detailed description of being in a barbers’ seat when the shop is suddenly raided by cops.
“Shakey Dog,” the first song on the album, is reminiscent of the opening track “Bulletproof Wallets” with the opening scene in “Pulp Fiction” as its blueprint. In true Ghostface fashion, he rips through a stick-up scene gone awry, successfully attempting to pack as many details into one line as possible. With “9 Milli Bros,” Ghostface manages to gather all the members of Wu-Tang Clan (even the late ODB) for a long awaited collaboration track.
On tracks like “Underwater,” MF Doom’s reinterpretation of classic RZA production, coupled with Ghost’s awkward imagination, have a tendency to leave audiences confused rather than entertained. On this flute induced beat, Ghostface chronicles what life would be like underwater. “Pearls on the mermaid girls, Gucci belts that they rock for no reason, from a different world.”
Following the formula for mainstream air play with the albums first single, “Back Like That” featuring R&B crooner Ne-Yo, the album as a whole is anything but mainstream. Hopefully, the single will open the door for audiences to come inside Ghost’s world and experience why at age 35 Ghostface has managed to keep his fan base of ‘Supreme Clientele’ wanting more.