|Label:||Soul Temple Records/RED Music|
|Next Project:||Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry|
|Twitter:||Ghostface Killah on Twitter|
|Website:||Ghostface Killah's Website|
With a plethora of alter egos and a diverse array of styles to match, peerless street storyteller Ghostface Killah has kept listeners on their toes through a legendary run with the Wu-Tang Clan as well as a series of critically acclaimed solo releases. Now, the veteran emcee’s stepped into the role of “Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry” for one of his most daring stylistic departures to date. On his eighth studio album, Ghost slips from the shackles of listener expectations to embark upon a full-length exploration of the R&B influences that colored his previous sets, introducing devotees and newcomers alike to a more mature side of his musical persona.
Due out September 29, via Def Jam, G:TWoP will see Ghostface teaming up with some of the game’s hottest singers and beatsmiths to craft the down-to-earth love/relationship chronicles he’s long wanted to create. If the overwhelmingly positive reader feedback garnered by current single “Baby” (ft. Raheem DeVaughn, prod. by Rashad of Tumbling Dice) and leaked cut “Let’s Stop Playin’” (ft. John Legend, prod. by Sean C & LV) is any indication, fans will be more than happy to accompany the new, “grown” Ghostface on the latest stage of his artistic journey.
In an exclusive interview with DJ “Z,” Ghostface steps into the Booth to discuss the artistic and pragmatic reasons behind his decision to record an ‘R&B album’, what it will take for him to spend his hard-earned cash on a female, and why he and Raekwon are, hands down, the most dangerous duo in hip-hop.
Listen to the Interview
Ghostface Killah Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy, “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a Wu-Tang Clan Iron Man who, on September 29th, will release his eighth solo album under the new alias Ghostdini. Please welcome the Wizard of Poetry, Ghostface Killah—how you doin’?
Ghostface: What’s up, what’s up, what’s up? I’m cool right now, just making moves, trying to stay healthy, just doin’ what I gotta do.
DJ Booth: I’ve had this conspiracy theory; I’m gonna run it by you, and you can tell me what you think. For years, you’ve released dope albums, but Def Jam has never really put that marketing muscle behind your projects, so this is what I think: after seeing labelmates like Rihanna, Ne-Yo, and The-Dream do huge numbers with R&B projects, you told the label, “Look: I’m gonna do an R&B project,” and then they gave you the combination to the safe—how off am I?
Ghostface: Um… not too far. Because, my last couple of albums, they fumbled the ball on it, and they know what happened, so I’m like, “Yo, I’m gonna do this R&B album.” It’s what I always wanted to do anyway. They don’t got no choice, “Oh, you don’t have that many singles, or you ain’t got this, ain’t got that.” It’s like, “Yo, I’ve got enough singles with enough big names on them, what you wanna do? Let’s go ahead and get busy now. I wanted to just see what the deal is, ‘cause, like you said, I haven’t had that push behind my album, and everything’s been going sideways a little bit. Now it should be no problem, let’s go ahead and let’s get busy, and that’s it.
DJ Booth: You said this is something you’ve always wanted to do; why is that?
Ghostface: ‘Cause people love when I write stories. From “All I Got Is You” with Mary J. Blige on my first album to “Nerver Be the Same Again” with Carl Thomas, even the Ne-Yo joint, “Back Like That,” and few Beyonce joints I did, and Jodeci. People are always like, “Yo, I like that type of music!” A lot of females—regular guys too, though, but a lot of females are, “I like that, I like that, I like that!” I guess ‘cause it has substance to it, as opposed to when I’m talkin’ about kickin’ in the door and robbin’ you and stuff like that, it’s like, “Okay, enough is enough.” I always wanted to go ahead and get on some grown-man type thing, and let the people just hear how I write over these nice beats, with somebody singin’ on my hooks for me, and just give the people something that nobody’s ever done. Big Daddy Kane came close to doin’ it in the beginning, he was like the only one. Ja Rule was right there, but I think he might’ve had a few hip-hop tracks on his album, where he was still talkin’ about the block. Me, I’m not doin’ none of that. There are situations that go on in our lives, kickin’ fly game at these females, and it’s just a perfect album.
DJ Booth: I think some of our readers questioned what direction you were gonna take on the album. At any point during the creation did you question whether or not it was a good idea to do an entire album like this?
Ghostface: I never questioned it, ‘cause this is what I always wanted to do. When they got Ron Browz, that was just a beat that I’d did, I wasn’t really aimin’ for that to be on the album like that, but a few people liked it. But then you had people thinkin’, okay—cause Ron Browz, he has that thing for your voice, and it wasn’t even really supposed to be on the album like that. My manager had bumped it, so I guess him and his people, whatever-whatever, ‘cause we couldn’t get the other people we wanted on it, and then it worked out right. I ain’t gonna front—he said what he said on it, it kinda matched my record, so I liked it. What you’re startin’ to hear right now is like, okay, these are the songs that I was puttin’ together to paint that picture, for that light, R&B album.
DJ Booth: Well, one of the songs that I think paints a great picture, and has a teaser trailer floating around online to accompany it is “Stapleton Sex.” Is this the first step to a potential career after music, if you get my drift?
Ghostface: [laughs] What do you mean; a porn star?
DJ Booth: Yeah, man!
Ghostface: That’d be some funny sh*t! I can’t do that… I’ve got daughters and all that stuff, so I would never go that route, unless I go under an alias, with a different name, and shoot with a mask on. That’s just me paintin’ my pictures again, you understand what I’m sayin’?
DJ Booth: Absolutely. I read that you dedicated the song to actress Natalie Portman. Have you considered reaching out to her, to seeif she’s interested in doing a cameo for the video?
Ghostface: Nah, never… I was just seeing if she’d respond. But I never had no thoughts of tryin’ to call and get in touch with her and reach out.
DJ Booth: Let’s make it happen—let’s give her a call!
Ghostface: Oh yeah?
DJ Booth: Yeah, why not? I’d love to see that video! I saw the teaser trailer; you’ve got me excited!
Ghostface: All right, so hook it up then!
DJ Booth: I’ll do what I can! Another track I wanted to talk about: “Goner,” which features guest artist Lloyd. On the chorus he sings, “Anything you need, anything you want, I got you.” So, Ghost, would you say that is your mentality when it comes to spending money on a woman?
Ghostface: If I love you, I’ll do anything for you. I’ve gotta love you, you’ve gotta be my heart—I’m not gonna just see a woman today and tomorrow, [and be] blowin’ money on her and sh*t. Nah, I don’t do that. You’ve got too many homeless people out there that’s starvin’ for you to be blowin’ money on someone you just met.
DJ Booth: Okay, so, within reason.
Ghostface: Yeah, of course!
DJ Booth: I read a previous interview, and in it you mentioned that there were several artists who you’d extended invitations to to either participate on this project or to collaborate, but they either said no or never got back to you. Are you the type of artist who’s gonna hold a grudge over something like that?
Ghostface: I’m not gonna hold a grudge, but it depends on who you are. If I did some stuff for you and you’re frontin’ on me, and you know how we get down, and we done laughed in each other’s faces and did all the stuff like that, yeah, I might just be like, “Yo, forget that dude!” Like, I reached out to Tamia and had my manager talk to her managers, and Alicia Keys. I don’t know even if their managers gave ‘em the music, so I can’t blame it one the artist, but I know that nobody was getting back at the Kid like that, so I had to move and do what I had to do.
DJ Booth: Was there any one particular artist with whom you’ve collaborated in the past who you were kind of surprised was not interested in accompanying you on this ride?
Ghostface: No, not really. I had one artist, I don’t really wanna blow him up, though, that he [wouldn’t] come do a hook for me. All we needed was a hook, I even wrote the hook, and he had to do was just do it. I was shocked when he he didn’t do it for me, ‘cause he had me callin’, lookin’ like a little sucker. I just push that to the side and keep doin’ what I have to do.
DJ Booth: The title of the project is obviously a spinoff from the classic motion picture The Wizard of Oz. Ghost, as the Wizard of Poetry, what gifts could you hand out to some very needy emcees in this industry?
Ghostface: I could hand out a bag of creativity. A lot of these emcees now, they’re just rhymin’ about the same things. Me, I’m like the Scorcese; I like to paint pictures, whether it’s fact or fiction. I don’t like to be too abstract… and that’s what it is on Wizard of Poetry: it’s just poetry. It’s just a bunch of happenings and situations, in every song. There’s not a song where you hear me talkin’ crack and this and that. Only song that I’m really cursin’ on might have been “The Guest House,” when I’m tryin’ to find my wife, and her and the cable guy’s in the guest house, and he’s f*ckin’ my wife, and I come in, and I’m gonna have to try and air him out. But other than that, the rest of the album is not really cursin’, no nothing; it’s a mature and grown album, you know what I’m sayin’?
DJ Booth: Absolutely. If the response is as favorable as I think it will be after this album is released, would you consider doing similar projects like this in the future, or is this a one-shot deal?
Ghostface: I’m gonna still go back to the block and do what I’ve gotta do as far as makin’ music for the people that love what I’ve been doin’. I’m not gonna try to change my format, but I am gonna continue to do albums like how I just did.
DJ Booth: Every Wu-Tang Clan member, I feel, is viewed differently a part of, and separate from the group. So, Ghost, how do you view your impact on hip-hop as both a solo emcee and as a part of probably the greatest rap collective ever?
Ghostface: I learned from every last one of the Wu-Tang members. I kind of took a piece of this one, this one, this one, this one, just applied it to myself, my style. But when I’m in the Clan, it’s competition, writing amongst them, in the studio and stuff like that. ‘Cause I’m not a fast writer, unless the light is just on in my head that day, and I’m just goin’ ahead like, “All right, boom, boom, boom,” and I’m catching lines. But I like to be by myself when I write music. I like silence. I don’t like my music too loud. They love their music loud, they just like it blastin’ and blarin’; I don’t like that, so a lot of times, when I’m around ‘em, I’ve gotta work outside the room somewhere. But onstage, it’s always good to be like that. You know, I put my work in, but, when I’m by myself I gotta put one hundred times [more work in], ‘cause it’s just me, everything is focused around me, everybody’s lookin’ at me. But when you’ve got Wu-Tang Clan onstage, everybody’s not just lookin’ at me; they’re watchin’ Meth, they’re watchin’ Rae, they’re watchin’ Genius, and everybody, really.
DJ Booth: Talking about your work with a fellow Wu-Tang Clan member, you were featured on six cuts on Raekwon’s new Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2, and, in his review of that album, our own Nathan S. said that he feels like you form the most dangerous duo in rap. Do you agree with that assessment, do you disagree with him?
Ghostface: I agree with him. When me and him are together as a duo, we’re very dangerous, and ain’t nobody who can really come close to what me and him do, if we sit down and form a duo… just say we did a duo album: 12 strong cuts. I don’t think nobody would ever do what we do, and that’s that.
DJ Booth: Well, that leads me perfectly into my next question. Obviously, this album helps you fulfill your contract at Def Jam, and Raekwon did not sign a long-term deal over atEMI, so, contractually, you guys are gonna have the opportunity to do something like that. What is the possibility that the fans will get a Raekwon and Ghostface duo album?
Ghostface: I dunno. Me and Rae never really talked about that. We just know that we’re good at what we do. Whenever the situation or the topic comes up on it like that, we get it done, and just do it. We find the beats and just lace ‘em.
DJ Booth: Well, let me be the first to encourage you guys, when time does permit, to definitely make that happen.
DJ Booth: All right, last question, and this comes from one of our resident DJs, Kareem. He wants to know where he can pick up a pair of original Wallabies for under a hundred bucks. He’s havin’ a hard time.
Ghostface: Original Wallabies… I don’t really see Wallabies out there that much, how they used to be out there. I even went to London, and that’s where they originated from.
DJ Booth: Well, he can’t find ‘em. I think he’s a size 12—are you willing to give him one of your pairs?
Ghostface: I don’t really got my Wallaby collection no more…
DJ Booth: All right. Well, I’m sure a consolation gift for him will be the chance to pick up your brand new album when it’s available September 29th. Ghost, give everybody a website, a MySpace page, a Twitter account, so they can find out more about you and the brand new album.
Ghostface: Just go online… go on some Ghostface sh*t. I’m in the area, man. Y’all know what it is. Just log on, man. You know what it is.
DJ Booth: Ghost, I appreciate you takin’ the time to join me inside the DJ Booth. It was a pleasure, man.
Ghostface: True indeed!