The Big Doe Rehab
Def Jam Records
Written By Samir Siddiqui
The Wu-Tang Clan are years removed from their prime, both artistically and commercially, but one member of the Clan seems to forever be at his artistic best, continuously providing the rap game with the charisma and energy that only he can deliver. Ghostface Killah, who dropped not one, but two very good albums in 2006, returns just a year later after the release of More Fish to give us The Big Doe Rehab, and not surprisingly, Ghost doesn’t fail to impress.
Ghost is joined by Beanie Sigel on the opening track “Toney Sigel,” and the two deliver a banger, and provide some political quips to boot, “They say that my project should undergo therapy, we never voted, we votin’ for Oprah, Obama, and Eric B…..I think with the wisdom of Malcolm, got the soul of a panther, so ‘by any means’ is the anthem, you gon’ have to cut me out the track like cancer.” Ghost, Method Man, and Rae put together a reflective narrative on the soulful “Yolanda’s House,” before Kid Capri hypes up the Hitmen (LV & Sean C.)- produced “Celebrate,” Ghost’s anthem for a good time.“White Linen Affair” is the Toney Awards on wax, as Ghost name-drops the ‘who’s who’ of the music and entertainment business, while adding his humorous two cents to the mix, “Paris Hilton and Lindsay, holding down Britney’s skirt, no more free looks, you gotta’ put in work.” But not all the tracks are as easy to like, as “Rec-Room Therapy” is overly casual and skippable, and “The Prayer” is aggravatingly out-of-place and unnecessary- Ghost isn’t even on the track, but instead Ox performs a cringe-worthy mini-song.
The Hitmen show up again on “I’ll Die For You,” where exquisite keys are layered perfectly over a sped-up-sample that voices the song’s name. It sounds like something off of American Gangster, but Ghost’s rhymes contain a vulnerability to them that only he could provide. The annoying repetitiveness of “Paisley Darts'” production is almost un-important, as Trife Da God and Method Man rip the collabo track with confidence. Next, the elegant, sweeping horns on “Shaky Dog Starring Lolita” provide an excellent base for Ghost and Raekwon’s back-and-forth- it sounds like a mid-90’s Wu-Tang track, as the smooth producing nicely contrasts the aggressive lyricism of the two emcees.
Aside from the unneeded skits and interludes, there is very little to criticize on The Big Doe Rehab. Ghost is clearly anything but lazy with his rhymes, and even more impressive, he continues to rap over production that blends the old-school Wu sound with the soulful and band-inspired sounds of modern hip-hop today. LV and Sean C. of the Hitmen provide five cuts here, and alongside lesser known producers such as Anthony Acid, Ant-Live, and Frequency, put together a set of beats that flow well without being repetitive. Ghostface was arguably the MVP of hip-hop music in 2006, and his performance here, combined with his efforts on the Wu’s 8 Diagrams, as well as his other guest appearances, put him in position to repeat in ’07.