Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Ghostface Killah: Fishscale [Def Jam, 2006]
With the crack trade making its hip-hop comeback, Ghost fashions a trend record that ranks with any Biggie or Wu CD. Morally, it's a retrospective--there's no attempt to convince us that he's still in the game or wants to return. But neither will he countenance doubt that he knows whereof he speaks. The stories are as vivid, brutal, and thought-out as any noir, with details that both encompass and surpass the wisdom of "pyrex scholars." This is a guy with a bald spot who likes cranberry Snapple, Larry King Live, and women who work for JetBlue. When he asks his boo to turn the flame down a little, he says thank you. His high wail renders extreme anxiety beautiful. And before the music settles into a powerfully souled and sampled Clan-type groove, its screeching intensity has a Nation of Millions feel. A+