Ghostface Killah: The Big Doe Rehab

Ghostface can’t lose. While the Shaolin rapper’s sales fail to parallel the critical adoration that revolves around his Marble cake dripping steez, Tony Starks nevertheless continues to pad his already impressive discography. In ’06 he dropped not one but two solid albums, Fishscale and More Fish, and before old man winter can get a fresh ’08 Timb to the rear, he drops The Big Doe Rehab (Def Jam). Ghost’s seventh proper album finds him at his emotive best, keeping his eye on his circa ’88 era fly ni**a aesthetic while making his music hard boiled enough for new age Hip-Hop aficionados. After opening with a Latin horn flavored skit finding Ghost beefing with and stealing some Spanish cat's wife, you’re in for another journey through a detailed world of crime, violence, double crosses and whatever whatever, all through the eyes of Ghost Deini. “Barrel Brothers” finds Beanie Sigel joining in on the verbal hardrock posturing. Quickly followed up by the smoother “Yolanda’s House,” the Ant-Live produced track features a rejuvenated Method Man (he shines on Wu-Tang Clan’s 8 Diagrams) joining in on a narrative involving Ghost walking in on Meth and a naked broad looking for a gat while hiding in a closet and somehow Raekwon inquiring about some birds to flip. Hey, it’s all family, like Wu-Tang (Method Man, Raekwon, Cappadonna) and Theodore Unit (Sun God, Trife Da God, Cappadonna, again) repping lovely on one of the best titled songs ever, the stirring “Paisley Darts.” And they say Hip-Hop has no imagination. That may be Ghostface’s greatest asset, his creativity. On “White Linen Affair (Toney Awards)” he saves a rather subdued Frequency beat by relaying shouts outs to anyone worth mentioning in the Hip-Hop game. “Shakey Dog,” featuring Raekwon, does not pack the intensity of the OG version on Fishscale but is nevertheless another intricate crime tale revolving around that white powder. Along with cuts like the solemn, string pulling “Walk Around” and the heartrending “I’ll Die For You,” Tony Starks recites lyrical screenplays on the former while delivering darts from the heart on the latter when he spits, “I die for you, die for my brother, die for the babies who can’t eat with bare feat who need their mother.” Then, of course, Sun God’s pop’s success rate when it comes to choosing tracks to rock over is almost flawless. LV and Sean C—ya know, the Bad Boy Hitmen that gave Jigga a bunch of production jams to make up for the blown lay up that was Kingdom Come—bless a little less than half the tracks, including “We Celebrate,” where the legendary Kid Capri plays hype man while Ghost barks over a swelling ray beam buzz over intermittent congas. Your most consistent Clansmen also never falters when utilizing tried and true beats. On “Supa GFK” Redman would be proud as Ghost gets busy over a flip of Johnny Guitar Watson’s “Superman Lover” and EPMD would surely give up a pound as he rocks silly over the buttery swells of Faze-O’s “Riding High” on the Masta Killa assisted “Killa Lipstick.” Consider this disc The Pretty Toney Album plus guest spots from his Wu brethren. If you must find a critical faux pas, it’s Ghost dedication to his style. No far out R&B guests, awkward beats or any experiments in flow; but then that wouldn’t really be Ghost’s modus operandi now would it? And by the fairly limited number of folks matching the praise at the cash register, then Ghost rightfully shouldn’t give a f*ck. Instead he continues to make music that will satiate his devotees, making The Big Doe Rehab a wagon worth falling off and on, [Wu-Tang] again and again. SOUNDCHECK:Ghostface Killah f/ Raekwon, Sun God, Trife Da God, Method Man & Cappadonna "Paisley Darts" Ghostface Killah f/ Method Man & Raekwon "Yolanda's House"