Fishscale

Studio Album by released in 2006
Fishscale's tracklist:
The Return of Clyde Smith (skit)
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Shakey Dog
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Kilo (feat. Raekwon)
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The Champ
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Major Operation (skit)
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9 Milli Bros. (feat. Wu-Tang Clan)
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Beauty Jackson
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Heart Street Directions (skit)
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Columbus Exchange (skit) / Crack Spot
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R.A.G.U. (feat. Raekwon)
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Bad Mouth Kid (skit)
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Whip You With a Strap
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Back Like That (feat. Ne-Yo)
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Be Easy (feat. Trife)
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Clipse of Doom (feat. Trife)
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Jellyfish (feat. Theodore Unit)
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Dogs of War (feat. Raekwon & Theodore Unit)
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Barbershop
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Ms. Sweetwater (skit)
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Big Girl
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Underwater
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The Ironman Takeover (skit)
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Momma (feat. Megan Rochell)
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Three Bricks (feat. The Notorious B.I.G. & Raekwon)
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Fishscale review

Ghostface Killah is still starving for respect, understanding, and acceptance

As one of the original members of the seminal '90s rap crew the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah (aka Tony Starks) made an impact before he released his debut album, Ironman, late in 1996. Like all members of the Wu-Tang Clan, the rapper used the group as a launching pad for a solo career, which was assisted greatly by other members of the Clan, particularly producer RZA. More than 12 years after he emoted all over the first verse on the first track on the first Wu-Tang Clan album, the now 35-year-old Ghostface Killah is still starving for respect, understanding, and acceptance. Hypnotically restless, the East Coast purist has homed in on a rap palette full of vivid hurt and strafing alarm – and bursting forth with some of the most potent yarns, barbs, and production of his remarkably consistent career, Fishscale is the choice outcome of a creative mind using experience as a compass en route to triumph. Though Ghostface Killah’s veteran status informs much of his fifth solo album, his father-knows-best pose is led by breathless rhymes, not nostalgia. The album's grimy, sample-fueled production comes off as an inspired homage to Wu-Tang Clan mastermind RZA; Ghostface Killah’s emotionally charged stream-of-consciousness flow is as off-the-wall and amazing as it's ever been.

Ghostface Killah was wise to select productions that are best-suited for him

Since no active MC sounds better over obscure-'70s soul samples, Ghostface Killah was wise to select productions that are best-suited for him, no matter how bizarre or un-pop. Just Blaze, Lewis Parker, MoSS, Crack Val, Pete Rock, Doom, the late J Dilla, and several others supply Ghost with a tremendous round of productions. Underwater is the loopiest of all, even by Doom standards; its balmy Bobbi Humphrey flute and slippery beat, aided by burbling water effects, backs a hallucinatory journey in which Ghostface Killah swims with butterflies, casts his gaze on numerous riches and bumps into a Bentley-driving, Isley Brothers-listening, girlfriend-smacking SpongeBob Squarepants before hitting spiritual paydirt. Back Like That, featuring Ne-Yo, is the lone apparent crossover attempt, and it hardly compromises Ghostface Killah's character the way Tush did in 2004. Another completely unique track is Whip You With a Strap, where Ghostface Killah recalls the pain of being whipped by his mom with more than a hint of misty-eyed wistfulness. Also listen for the tough-as-nails mix-tape hit Be Easy and the amped-up Wu-Tang Clan reunion 9 Milli Bros. How many other MCs are capable of making you feel nostalgic about leaking welts you never had? More importantly, how many MCs entering their late-thirties have made an album as vital as any other in his or her career?

Another worthy release to the Great Wu-Tang Best Solo Effort debate

When arguments are made for the best Wu-Tang Clan member solo release, GZA's Liquid Swords and Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (both from 1995) regularly rate the highest endorsements. Considering the abundance of Wu-affiliated albums that have come out in the now decade-plus since those stellar works (including Ghostface Killah’s impressive 1996 debut Ironman and his 2000 high water-mark Supreme Clientele), the pressure on Wu-Tang Clan members to top the power-packed work from the collective’s early years is obvious. Both 2004’s The Pretty Toney Album and 2001’s Bulletproof Wallets failed to live up to the promise of Ghostface Killah’s initial solo efforts. The good news: Fishscale has more in common (memorable hooks, clever raps and sharp, soulful beats) with his early work than the uneven post- Supreme Clientele material. Ghostface Killah stands ready and willing to carry the Wu Tang's burden and return rap to its proper course. Fishscale reiterates with cinematic verve that the most vital current Wu-Tang Clan member's storytelling can match Notorious B.I.G.’s in both excitement and humor. The album earns its street-cred stripes and adds another worthy release to the Great Wu-Tang Best Solo Effort debate.