If the title weren't already taken More Fish would be a fitting name for Ghostface's new album, another tour de force from a guy who made history with his Wu-Tang brethren while still in his early twenties and just keeps getting better with age. But where the glorified mix-tape More Fish sounded like a collection of outtakes and leftovers, The Big Doe Rehab feels like a worthy sequel to last year's Fishscale. Consider it The Godfather Part II to Fishscale's revered crime epic.
The forever-agitated Ghostface once again thrusts listeners straight into gritty, vivid crime world milieus with little in the way of exposition. "Yolanda's House" plunges listeners deep into the tail end of a night gone horribly awry as a panicked Ghost flees the cops and a drug bust and solicits the help of a buck-naked and embarrassed Method Man before Raekwon shows up seeking partners in crime. It's the album in miniature, a giddy rush of novelistic detail (you can practically hear Ghost's ragged breath and mocking laughter as Meth's asthmatic lover struggles to cover up following Ghost's unexpected arrival), dark humor and tag-team storytelling in the classic Wu-Tang vein.
Rehab packs the visceral, transgressive punch of the best crime fiction but it's equally adept at old-school Sunday-in-the-park jams (the infectious single "Celebrate") and wiggy conceptual tracks like "White Linen Affair (The Toney Awards)," wherein Ghostface provides play-by-play for a gala populated by a who's who of hip-hop and R&B luminaries (and, apparently just for variety, Robin Leach and Meryl Streep). Along with Raekwon, Ghostface has publicly come out against the direction of the new Wu-Tang album. Here Ghost puts his talent where his million-dollar mouthpiece is, illustrating by example exactly how a late-period Wu-Tang project should feel and sound.