60.) Ghostface Killah - Fishscale (2006)
Ghostface Killah is my favorite rapper.
There you have it. No one, to me, is as adept at creating what could be cinema with his rhymes. I've often thought of Ghost as the Martin Scorcesse of rap. I can see his stories play out in vivid pictures in my head when I listen to a great Ghost track and Fishscale is chock full of them - what he calls on "The Champ" "verbal street opera".
Ghost's shit is grimy, never pretty but it's also wonderfully offbeat and witty. The samples and beats are good, but they take a sure-fire backseat to Ghost who is always the star of the show as he should be. He's got a way about him. He's a star. He can be scary as shit, but he's also lovable as hell. Ghost has a sense of humor and is one of the few rappers unafraid to be vulnerable - a truly ballsy thing in the very dick swinging world of hip hop.
Ghost is absolutely nuts on Fishscale. "Kilo" has a sing-along alphabet-like chorus that explains how to measure coke for distribution. "Shaky Dog" is an absolute masterpiece - the story of a robbery gone bad that concludes with Ghost warning the listener that it's "to be continued" and I'm still waiting for the sequel. There's "9 Milli Bros" - the best Wu Tang track since their first record. There's "Back Like That" a Ne-Yo guesting slow jam that shows the softer side of Ghost and of course "Underwater" wherein Ghost sings about fucking a mermaid long before The Lonely Island and T-Pain did.
One of the most unique things about Ghost is his love of and subsequent use of soul music in his recordings. It gives Ghost's records a timeless feel and it's all over Fishscale. The shades of music past are present and it makes for a better and more interesting listen than most hip hop full lengths released this decade, that it's not even the best record he released in the 2000s is almost impossible to believe...but it's true.
Posted by Pat Driscoll