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Ghostface Killah with Slick Rick
Slick Rick with eye patch and Ghostface Killah of The Wu Tang Clan performing at Roseland, NYC, on April 27, 2004. (Rahav Segev for The New York Times)
CD REVIEW

He's got a clear message

Incoherence is like Ghostface Killah's illegible signature. And though you can't always understand everything he says, somehow you always know what it means.

His slang could be the subject of a three-credit class. His imagery describes a crime scene as sharply as it does a pair of Clarks, and his stream-of-consciousness flow sprays wildly the way a faucet would if you held your finger over it.

Yet his new album "More Fish," out today, is Ghostface at his most lucid. Not even nine months after dropping "Fishscale," he released this follow-up with a clear message he didn't bother rhyming.

"It's all about paper this year," he says in a ramble at the end of his self-produced track "Ghost Is Back." "I got babies to feed. I got bills."

So, for about an hour, Ghostface toys with words, fires a lyrical tommy gun on "Ghost Is Back," and maintains his unique ability to do a novel's worth of storytelling in four minutes, painting pictures with rhymes on songs such as "Street Opera."

"The project steps is Ajaxed down/ dried blood, maintenance men with the scrub brush scraping the ground/ diapers, baby rattles, and broke lighters/ I've led many horses to water just to see if they'll like it."

But the album goes the way of Jay-Z's " The Dynasty : Roc La Familia" and other near-compilations. It features figures from Ghostface's collective the Theodore Unit -- most prominently his teenage son Sun God and Trife Da God -- guest spots from Redman and Sheek Louch of the LOX, and a remix of "Back Like That" on which Kanye West flips Ghostface's verse from the 1995 Raekwon track "Ice Cream." (West replaces Ghostface's fantasy of Adina Howard with his own daydreams of Eva Mendes. Can't blame him.)

With a collaboration with MF Doom in the works for early 2007, it makes sense to wonder why Ghostface would put out a CD so soon. But even in this case, he makes sense out of what seems like nonsense.

"I'm like a farmer when I'm playing the field/ Just planting my seeds/ in twenty-oh-six, it's time to build."

Essential track: "Alex (Stolen Script)."

Related links:
Ghostface Killah Ghostface rematerializes
Ghostface Killah has stories to tell, mouths to feed, and proteges' careers to launch. He's got a record label eager to boost profits. Less than a year after releasing "Fishscale," he is back with "More Fish."
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