Ghostface keeps killin’ it on ‘Rehab’

Ghostface Killah
“The Big Doe Rehab”
3.5 out of 5 stars

Ghostface Killah has been one of the most overlooked members of the Wu-Tang clan, with more attention paid over the years to the likes of Method Man, Raekwon, RZA and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. However, you could present an argument that Ghostface is the most talented member of the clan. If nothing else, he’s the most prolific.

This is the third full-length album the Staten Island-born rapper has released in the last year and a half. It’s a good album, but probably not as good as his last two. It’s certainly not for a lack of effort as Ghostface comes across angry and reflective, and his rhymes are still characteristically strong. He gets plenty of help, with appearances from Raekwon, Method Man, U-God, Masta Killa, Ox and Beanie Siegal.

Most of the trouble comes from the production, which at times on this album is just lackluster. Blame the Diddy-associated Hitmen for that, as opposed to his last record, which featured MF Doom, Pete Rock and the late J.Dilla behind the controls. Regardless, in a rap community that has in large part turned away from more traditional East Coast hip-hop, Ghostface still continues to be a shining example that the genre still has life left in it.

Key Tracks: “Walk Around,” “Supa GFK,” “Toney Siegal A.K.A. The Barrel Brothers”

“Shotter’s Nation”
3 out of 5 stars

It’s been a strange and sometimes terrible saga for Pete Doherty the past few years. After getting kicked out of the popular British band he co-founded (The Libertines) due to drug problems and his high-profile and troubled relationship with Kate Moss, England’s own musical harlequin’s first album with his new band Babyshambles was a crack- and cocaine-addled piece of rubbish that had many questioning whether or not the young rock star would ever reach the potential he exhibited earlier in his career.

This, the band’s second effort, is an improvement on its ill-fated debut. In large part it’s a step up because Doherty sounds focused and relatively clean from beginning to end. It’s certainly the most effective, well thought-out songwriting that we’ve heard from the former Libertine since his previous band’s first album. Doherty has never strayed much from the formula The Libertines made famous: garage rock influenced UK indie rock with some post-punk references thrown in for good measure. Overall it works out for him and the rest, but still doesn’t quite measure up to anything The Libertines made. But if this is a sign of things to come, maybe there’s hope for Doherty after all.

Key Tracks: “Delivery,” “You Talk,” “Deft Left Hand”