ghostfacekillah.jpgSometimes leftovers can be just as good as the original meal. Such is the case with Ghostface’s latest offering, More Fish. At first glance, this follow-up to last year’s Fishscale seems like nothing more than a Theodore Unit compilation, as names like Trife Da God and Sun God (Ghost’s son), as well as Wu-Tang affiliates Cappadonna and Killa Sin, flood the guest list. Despite the extra weight, Ghost still manages to pull off a surprisingly focused project.

The self-professed ’88 dude sets the tone for the album with “Ghost Is Back,” a declaration of his lyrical prowess, over Eric B. & Rakim’s classic instrumental for “Know the Ledge.” That same East Coast–centered sound is echoed throughout, with tracks like the murky Sheek Louch collabo “Blue Armor” and the Fantom of the Beat–produced “Miguel Sanchez.” Metal Fingerz DOOM takes it up a notch on “Guns N’ Razors,” as he scores a track reminiscent of early RZA and provides Ghost with a sonic platform worthy of his unique diction (“Shit bags is like gift bags/You get ’em for free if you master frontin’/Classic cuttin’/You keep stuntin’, the Gem Star’ll rip somethin’”).

Tony Starks briefly provides a diversion from the tough talk with the jazzy, horn-laden “You Know I’m No Good,” featuring the golden voice of British songbird Amy Winehouse. After lamenting yet another woman who has done him wrong, Ghost turns the tables and calls in Redman and Shawn Wigs to bash gold diggers on the funky “Greedy Bitches.”

One of the few chinks in Iron Man’s armor is the overly hyper “Good,” which has a happy-go-lucky vibe that doesn’t gel with the rest of the LP. Then, of course, there’s the reappearance of old material, like “Josephine,” which was heard before on Hi-Tek’s Hi-Teknology 2, and Fishscale’s forced commercial cut, “Back Like That (Remix),” featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo. Even still, with bangin’ beats and stellar storytelling, Ghost’s More Fish is what’s for dinner. —AMANDA DIVA

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Read the rest of XXL’s Critical Beatdown review section in the XXL’s March 2007 issue (#89)