Ghostface Killah chops it up with the HHC Prairies honeys [Interview] #TBT
Edmonton, AB – In case y’all forgot, HHC’s own Rosa Jason and Sarah Sussman (aka: the Prairies honeys of HHC) brought you some killer coverage of the first ever Iron Mic Music Festival earlier on this year on Apr. 19. We had a whirlwind day of photography, interviews, and show reviews. Our fam over at Pearl Entertainment stacked the day’s line-up with performances from Smoke DZA, Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Ghostface Killah, and MGK. Shoot. We’re still coming down from the hype of that day.
It’s been a few months, now. And we still had an interview in the archives that never made it to publication: our interview with the legendary Ghostface Killah. Here’s the thing about this interview – by contract, Tony Starks only had to speak with us for five minutes. Want to know what happened? He ended up speaking with us for nearly half-an-hour. Shoot. Me and Rosa hopped on the train after the night wrapped and just fangirled the f**k out. Rosa recently took it to task and transcribed the entire conversation for you cats. And since it’s #TBT today, we figured we’d hit you with the interview. Check it all out after the jump.
“You tell me how you want it killed and I’ll just kill it that way.” – Ghostface Killah
Ghostface Killah: Q&A
Sarah Sussman: My name is Sarah Sussman.
Rosa Jason: I’m Rosa Jason.
Sarah: And we’re sitting here today with the legendary Ghostface Killah at the Iron Mic Music Festival in Edmonton for HipHopCanada. Welcome to Edmonton!
Ghostface Killah:Thank you for having me, I appreciate it.
Rosa Jason: So the last time you were here, you were with Sheek Louch, who surprised us [tonight] actually. We had no idea he was coming, so that’s awesome. Now you two are dropping Wu-Block’s second album next month-
Ghostface Killah: Yeah we’re working on it – I don’t think it’s gonna be out next month.
Rosa Jason: Oh, okay. What can we expect? The first [album] was really street, hood rap –
Ghostface Killah: I mean – basically the same thing. Much bigger beats – know what I mean? More rougher rhymes. You know when you get D-Block and Wu-Tang together – it’s a street thing. There ain’t nothin really that commercial about it. We gotta switch up and do radio joints and commercial joints – but it’s mainly for the street. I don’t like to separate the people but if you want to have it like, “Okay, this is for these people right here and that’s for the people right there.” We want it to be for everybody but you gotta know that everybody might not be into what we dealin’ with or what we rhymin’ about. But it’s mainly for what we love to do. Know what I mean?
Rosa Jason: Absolutely. That’s what it should be about.
Sarah Sussman: With Raekwon recently going on strike – hows that going to impact everything?
Ghostface Killah: Rae goin’ on strike? That’s a whole different topic. That’s Wu-Tang topic. You know with Rae going on strike – it’s what it is man. If he’s on strike, then he’s on strike and I support him. That’s my brother, know what I mean? And if he got certain ways he feel, then that’s how he feel. And what he feels about the music [or whatever] I feel the same way. This is the 20th anniversary – it should be right – it should never ever be rushed. It should take time because people have been waitin’ for so long, you have to give it to ‘em like the way they used to have it. So that’s why I’m with Rae on it. But in the mix of that – just to clear the air – all of us is still brothers. It’s not like, “Oh I hate him, I hate him.” We don’t do that inside Wu-Tang Clan. We’re brothers. It’s like you having a sister or older brother and ya’ll just argue all the time, that’s still your brother. Know what I mean? You can’t kill ‘em – ya’ll just gotta deal with it. There’s gonna be differences all the time and that’s just what it is.
Rosa Jason: It’s a natural thing in a brotherhood.
Ghostface Killah: Yeah, you just go like that, but people just don’t understand that. Wu-Tang Clan is family. That’s a family for a long time, before we even came out. Before we even came out with Wu-Tang, we still family. So it can be anybody – your aunt or your uncle – you’re gonna argue and have disagreements on certain things and that’s the same thing we have here in the Clan.
Sarah Sussman: Word.
Rosa Jason: So I recently saw your son, Supreme, just released a mixtape on HotNewHipHop.com. That must make you a proud Dad, I’m sure.
Ghostface Killah: Of course. That’s what he loves to do. He had a party not too long ago – a showcase in Staten Island, New York. It was great; three of my sons was there on stage together and it was a proud moment for me. This is what they want to do, this is what they love to do, the passion is there for it. He do his own party his own self, he’s only like 18 years old, so I was there to support him.
Sarah Sussman: So did he seek your advice before he dropped the project?
Ghostface Killah: I just told him, don’t put a lot of other artist’s names on his flyer.
Rosa and Sarah: [Laughs]
Ghostface Killah: [Laughs] You know he wants to put anybody on the flyer [Jadakiss] and I said “No, no, no – don’t do that – that’s false advertisement.” Cause he met Jadakiss before and a couple of the guys from D-Block; so he wanna put everybody name on it and it’s like, ”Naw don’t do that, it ain’t gonna be like that.” But he did everything on his own.
Sarah Sussman: So he didn’t ask any musical advice from you?
Ghostface Killah: I gave him some musical advice because sometimes you do new songs in front of people – sometimes they just look at you. Like if I drop an album and nobody know the records [or whatever] and I try to go do it even before I drop it – they don’t really give feedback a lot like that. Unless they know it and they can vibe with you. So I told him to catch the crowd and take some old records [that they know] and rhyme off that. But he didn’t do that. But still – he had the crowd – he had a lot of fans in there. That’s what it was and he came out victorious – go to his Instagram – everybody was just praising him.
Rosa Jason: That’s the way it should be. I recently read in an interview that while you were working on your album Twelve Reasons to Die, you and the producer/composer [Adrian Younge] didn’t actually physically meet while you were making the album. What were the challenges from that? Considering how profound that album is, how did you make that work?
Ghostface Killah: It’s like – I’m like a hitman. Know what I mean?
Rosa and Sarah: [Laughs]
Ghostface Killah: You tell me how you want it killed and I’ll just kill it that way. That’s it. He don’t need to be there. But sometimes it’s good, when you make bigger projects, for the producer to be there so you can just vibe out. But I’mma vet at what I do – especially for what he wanted. He wanted a bunch of stories – you know – mafia stories. This, that, and the third; that’s my alley. Anybody know me as a rapper – I’m great –
Sarah Sussman: You do the anecdotes.
Ghostface Killah: I’m like a Martin Scorsese –
Rosa Jason: The revenge of Tony Starks.
Ghostface Killah: Yeah. My mind is always in movie mode for everything. Then I just do the business and send it back to him, and he was just like, “Oh wow!” And that’s what it was.
Rosa Jason: That just goes to show how natural you are, because not anyone can just do that –
Ghostface Killah: Yeah – not like that. He just sent the list for what track, what song, what he wanted on this song – for like 12 songs [or whatever] and I just tackled it. And that was it.
Sarah Sussman: So my buddy Sarosh, who is our Prairies Editor for HipHopCanada, can’t be here today. He wanted me to ask you what’s going on with DOOMSTARKS?
Ghostface Killah: DOOM? DOOM got everything. He got everything, I’m done with it. I gave him everything.
Sarah Sussman: He’s sleeping on it?
Ghostface Killah: DOOM just takes too long to do whatever he’s doin’. This project shoulda been out years ago, but I don’t know what he’s doin’. He a cool brother, that’s my man, but he just – I don’t know. I really can’t even tell you, know what I mean?
Sarah Sussman: But you did your end of the deal?
Ghostface Killah: I did everything, I sent it back to him and he got it all. I don’t even think about it no more. But I love him though, cause he’s cool, I guess some people just got that time they gotta do things, but it’s a long time yo.
Sarah Sussman: So with us being in Canada right now, obviously Drake just dropped his Nothing Was The Same album, and that was full of Wu-Tang love. What’s that like for you?
Ghostface Killah: It’s an honour. It’s an honour to have this younger generation, that was listening back then, and still pay homage. We 20 years in the game and he like the hottest, the biggest really, rapper that’s out there right now [in my opinion]. For him to go ahead and pay homage and show love like that – it was like “Wow!” He’s a dope lyricist; he’s talented, from singing to rhyming, to all that. You know – I can’t really – he’s just talented. All praises due, pay homage, and he recognized our work that we had put in the game for all this time. I can go out of the country – anywhere out of the country – and I always see a Wu-Tang tattoo.
Sarah Sussman: I was just going to say – I’ve only been in Edmonton for a couple of months – and first show I went to was Bone Thugs N Harmony. Every girl [in the crowd] was wearing a Wu-Tang shirt, one chick even had a Wu-Tang backpack!
Ghostface Killah: The tattoos – the most I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another artist come through and make that impact; and have people in Australia, New Zealand, China. And not only that – the thing [about that] is that they dying with that. They’re gonna die with that, they’re gonna get buried. It’s like when you take the old men [that you knew when you was little] they might get wrinkled [when they older] and it’s just an old man, but these old men is gonna have tattoos on ‘em, Wu-Tang tattoos!
Sarah and Rosa: [Laughs]
Ghostface Killah: [Laughs] Even if it’s wrinkled! It’s gonna be a Wu-Tang tattoo up there just wrinkled. When you look at it like that – yo everybody – I’ve had people pull their pants down and have Ol’ Dirty just right here. On they lap, me on they arm, on they necks, they backs, girls and guys. So that’s really some diehard shit, cause I don’t got one tattoo on me.
Rosa Jason: Not one?
Ghostface Killah: Naw, uh-uh. I don’t write on myself. But it’s crazy.
Sarah Sussman: But that’s almost a lot of pressure to be such a legacy, to be such a brand.
Ghostface Killah: That’s why, when you said earlier, understand how Raekwon feels. Cause you don’t wanna just put something together and just give it, you don’t do an album in two months. It’s like taking a Little Debbie’s cake – it’s like Betty Crocker – something you put that time into. For that ingredients to be there since 1940, people want that same taste. Despite all that shit that’s goin’ on now – you can make the box look good – but we want that taste. Know what I mean? And that’s what people want – is that taste – and that’s all Raekwon means. Let’s just get it right and that’s it.
Rosa Jason: Right. And if you’re not ready, you’re not ready.
Ghostface Killah: People will expect you to make a hype album and then it come out with like a half-ass one [or bullshit]. Then they’re gonna talk about you, then they’re gonna say you’re washed up and you’re done. We’ve been here for 20 years. The first time they start sayin’ that – that’s somethin’ f*cked up – they might be sayin’ it in they minds, but it ain’t come to me. But in my mind I’m thinkin’ [pauses] I don’t feel old but our music is 20 years old. A lot of 17 and 16 year olds in there, some of them wasn’t even here.
Sarah Sussman: I just turned 21 [Laughs]
Ghostface Killah: Yeah, you was probably one years old! You had diapers on! And that’s what I mean – it’s still reppin’. Yo, it’s a blessing from where we came from.
Sarah Sussman: You brought cats up there who know every single lyric to every single Wu-Tang song.
Ghostface Killah: Yeah! And the glory of it is that – not in this country – I think it might have been Switzerland but I’ve seen 10 and 11 year olds comin’ to the shows, right there in the from row singing it. That’s why you say it’s forever. How they hell do you know that shit at 10 and 11? You just was born not too long ago.
Sarah Sussman: They got proper education.
Rosa Jason: Exactly.
Ghosface Killah: Yeah. So I give all praises due to them all the time.
Rosa Jason: So I want to touch down a bit on the secret album; Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. A lot of music industry outlets are predicting that this is gonna change the game in the way artists release music [or how we receive it]. What’s your take on that?
Ghostface Killah: It’s a genius idea. My man Cilvaringz – we didn’t go through all of this at one time – but he was like, “Yo Ghost – I need these three verses from you.” Or five verses or whatever the case it was. And then he did the same thing with Method Man, Rae, everything; because sometime it be hard to get all of us in the studio. But I didn’t know that at first [he was making an album] until later on. So he made it and it came out – mwauh! For the people that love it. He got the sound and everything. But after it was done, I found out a couple of months ago that he said, “Yo I thought about something, I’m not even gonna put it in stores, we just gonna bid on it. Why your music gotta sell for $10, while this guy can be a mediocre dude, and we’ve been here for all this time? But he got his album sellin’ the same amount as yours, same price as yours.” And it did make sense though, we’ll just give it to the highest bitter. Right now I think that somebody’s trying to bid on it for like 5 million dollars.
Sarah Sussman: But you’d have to be a certain calibur of artist [obviously] to be able to do that. I don’t think anyone in the music industry could just do that, otherwise you’d have cats goin’ on Soundcloud being like, “Bid on my new mixtape.” But for Wu-Tang, that’s a smart marketing strategy.
Ghostface Killah: Yeah and that was it. It was genius. But we still had A Better Tomorrow, the other album, that’s the one that we had a little complications with. But this album that’s sellin’ for 5 million dollars – it’s been done. Been done.
Sarah Sussman: So before we wrap up here, if you could just share your thoughts on us, what it’s like to be here for such a momentous occasion for Canadian hip-hop?
Ghostface Killah: First of all; I couldn’t really get through Canada since I dropped my Supreme Clientele album. So I maybe haven’t been here in like 15 years, until about a couple of years ago, maybe two or three years ago. And the people – ya’ll just love real hip-hop. And the love ya’ll got for me, and I’m just speakin’ for me, not even as Wu-Tang. Wu-Tang is crazy, but for me, it’s unbelievable. And I always tell people all the time – even though that the border [laughs] they get on my nerves. They just got on my nerves yesterday, know what I mean?
Rosa and Sarah: [Laughs]
Sarah Sussman: What did they do?
Ghostface Killah: I was sittin there for three or four hours. I was sittin there for four hours, yo! I missed the plane goin’ to the next spot. They just too much. But beyond that, the people – put it like this – I could live in Canada. This is one of the places I could live in. It’s like that, know what I mean? The love is just so much, it’s unconditional, it just keeps pouring and pouring and pouring; and I respect it, yo. So that’s what it is.
Rosa Jason: Well we respect you!
Ghostface Killah: I know. And I appreciate that so much.
Sarah Sussman: So if you just want to give us your final thoughts for HipHopCanada – tell us whatever you want.
Ghostface Killah: All I gotta say is to the people of Canada [HipHopCanada] you already know; this is Ghostface, Ghostdini. I’m a man of many names. I just wanna thank ya’ll first and foremost for havin’ me and givin’ me the love that you’ve shown to me throughout the years. I got a lot of music comin’ for ya’ll, more TV –
Sarah Sussman: Couples Therapy?
Ghostface Killah: No more Couples Therapy. [Laughs]
Rosa and Sarah: [Laughs]
Ghostface Killah: No more Couples Therapy [laughs]. But we gonna get it poppin’ and I’ll see ya’ll soon, by the grace of god, I love ya’ll. I just want to say that, keep god in your life first. Times seem hard – cause times seems hard for me right now – goin’ through a lot of things though. But I know that everything happen for a reason, it’s just not “just because”, I don’t care what it is; if we’re meant to leave here and get hurt then it was already ordained. But if you make it home, that’s it, that’s why you gotta give your blessings all day. So I love ya’ll – I don’t want to talk too much – thank you.