More Fish–Ghostface Killah 

(Def Jam)

Released last spring, Ghostface Killah's Fishscale was an instant hip-hop classic -- to my ears and apparently to many others, the best album released last year in any genre. Released in the final days of 2006, More Fish, as its title makes plain, makes no attempt to disguise what it is: a quickie meant to capitalize on a career high.

Packed with guest spots from protégés and second-tier Wu grads (Cappadonna lives), filled out with tracks that are apparently Fishscale session leftovers, and capped with a remix of Fishscale's hit single "Back Like That," More Fish is pure product, but Dennis "Ghostface Killah" Coles is on such a roll right now that it's semi-essential listening anyway.

There are only three solo tracks here, but they're all keepers. On the relentlessly head-bobbing, self-produced opener "Ghost Is Back," our protagonist spits his dizzying flow over an Eric B. & Rakim sample. "Outta Town Shit" and "Alex (Stolen Script)" are the kind of concise yet densely detailed musical short stories Ghost excels at, the first about a dice game turned ugly in Minneapolis, the second a gangster-goes-Hollywood scenario that might be a Sopranos subplot.

Which isn't to say that the tracks with guest spots are all filler (though some of them are). Kanye West delivers a classic verse -- with his patented combination of arrogance and self-deprecation -- on the "Back Like That" remix, while Ghost doesn't even appear on the strong Trife Da God showcase "Grew Up Hard." My favorite random addition from an artist prone to the random: American Idol references, of which I've spotted at least three. -- CH

Grade: A-

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