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Ghostface Interview on IGN.com *Good Read*

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  • Ghostface Interview on IGN.com *Good Read*



    Ghostface Killah
    Pretty Toney reveals the ugly side of the music business in this candid interview.

    August 12, 2005 - Born Dennis Coles, Ghostface Killah began his career with a seemingly indefatigable series of lacerating verses on both Wu-Tang Clan's historic debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, the first album released by his longtime partner-in-crime Raekwon the Chef. But Ghostface's own solo debut, Ironman, heralded the arrival of a hip-hop savant - an artist who re-invented emceeing even as he offered some of the genre's most exhilarating verses - and announced that his was a talent that didn't require an ensemble in order to bolster its strength.

    Three more albums came and went - including Supreme Clientele, Bulletproof Wallets and The Pretty Toney Album - and even if Ghostface's record sales didn't always grow, his status as one of the most respected rapper in the industry continued to appreciate; last year, he landed a recording deal with Def Jam, and intends to release a follow up to Pretty Toney by year's end.

    During his recent appearance with Raekwon at the Rock the Bells concert in San Bernadino, California, Ghostface sat down with IGN Music to discuss his future as a rapper on Wu-Tang projects and as a solo artist. As he reveals, the lifestyle of a successful lyricist isn't always the decadent stuff of music video fantasies, but a difficult, dispiriting experience where one album flop can land you at the bottom of the hip-hop heap.

    IGN Music: Do you follow any kind of guiding principle when you put together the music and lyrics for your songs?

    Ghostface Killah: Yeah. It's all in the music first. The music is like women to me. It's like how you pick your music: everybody got their own different way how they pick their women and their music, and I guess that's what the album becomes. I can't even describe what I like; what I like is what you already heard, from Ironman to Supreme Clientele to Bulletproof Wallets - that's what I had felt - to Pretty Toney to what's going on right now. It's all about the beat first, and after the beat, the beat makes me go ahead and work my album, once I hear the beat and whatever mode I'm in to approach that beat or whatever that beat makes me feel. Like on "All I Got is You," it made me feel like that's what needed to be said, and it's like the beat made me do it. People say 'the devil made me do it,' but it's the beat that made me do it. But from hip-hop music, God gave me an ear - it's a soulful ear, a fresh ear - it's just something that where my soul is at, it just grabs it, and that's where I come up with all of my beats.

    It's [also] what you do to the beat. It's like how you get a woman, it's like how you f*ck her. Some n*ggas can't f*ck, and a lot of n*ggas think they know how to rhyme that can't rhyme. But it's how you make love to the beat. That's what I kind of try to do, and that's how you get Ghostface albums.

    IGN Music: Your music continues to employ sampling despite the industry trend towards more live instrumentation. What is it about sampling that appeals to you over the use of an actual band?

    Ghostface: The reason why I hold onto samples is because that's me. That's what made me. When I sample from old records, those records were in my heart when I was a little kid. I feel like that's the best music that ever was made, ever in time. The new sh*t, like you said, is synthetic; it's like a body with no heart, you know what I mean? Like you are a clone. It's like with no heart, no nothing. They make love songs now that I can't really feel, but when I heard The Moments and Isley Brothers and Marvin Gaye and all of the greats from back then, you could feel it. Otis Redding and them- you could feel it. And I always thought that music was better than the music that we come with right now. It's like, everybody's using keyboards in everything, but back then we were using straight instruments and making albums. We don't do that no more. There's no creativity in what we're dealing with, so there's no feeling.


    IGN Music: How much are you influenced by your own personal experiences when you write lyrics for your songs?

    Ghostface: It depends. Like "Save Me Dear," I did on my last album, it was like 'yeah, I loved a girl that much,' like I really liked a girl, you know what I mean? But with that right there, I made it about a girl that I wished that - the story is true, and a lot of things that I added on to wish on how she would fit that mold right there to be my kin. There aren't too many other stories on there too much, though, [but] I got "Love," and I love that beat right there. It felt like you needed some love on it, so I did "Love," the sh*t I did with ????? [Soulchild]. I did "Tooken Back," and I did some and it was based on this girl with a little bit of other herbs sprinkled on it though to try to complete the record, but mainly based on a true story. So sometimes you make true stories, and sometimes you make fiction stories, or whatever, as long as the picture that you can paint to the people [is something] that somebody else can see, or that somebody else went through.

    IGN Music: I have a bunch of your white-label 12" singles that have been released in the past couple of years, including tracks like "The Watch." How do you come up with the flow and content of these songs, which seem so unpredictable?

    Ghostface: The music makes me feel it. 'Catch me in a crisp blue six, deep dish, doors is crisp, velour stopped at the wrist,' and once I got the velour jacket 'that stopped at the wrist,' my watch is right there (looking at his watch). Also, 'talk to me trick daddy,' and I was just like, oh, let me make it like [my watch is] talking to me. That's what is was, and then we start arguing because he started getting smart like, 'yo, you ain't live no more,' and we're beefin', and I'm like 'I'll put you back on the shelf' and 'I'll stop your heart from ticking' and it just went like that.






    IGN Music: Well, after you work so hard to come up with an idea like that, how do you decide what goes on an album and what doesn't, since these tracks are as strong as anything that shows up on your LPs?

    Ghostface: It wasn't that. They wouldn't clear my sample (Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More, Baby"). I wished that would have been on my album.

    IGN Music: Do you make a distinction at all when you are writing or producing tracks for yourself as opposed to your collaborations with Wu-Tang or Raekwon?

    Ghostface: No, it's all the same. I just do it just to do it, but I know when I do Cuban Link, I've got to get way, way, way more street and grimy, but other than that it depends on what they're saying on the track. If I'm on a Clan album, then I might have to follow suit; it just depends on how it goes, but if I'm setting it off [by myself], then I've got to just feel how it should sit on the beat. Because if a beat is too soft, I'm not really going to say no hard sh*t, but it depends- what the beat calls for, you know what I mean? Like the beat gets what is called for at that time.

    IGN Music: How have those experienced how the new record sounds or will sound as you are assembling it?

    Ghostface: I could never really tell you what direction. It's just however God just makes it; that's how all of my albums are. I don't really aim for a direction, but I just pick the best beats I can pick and that's it.

    IGN Music: How far along is the new album?

    Ghostface: That's finished. I'm just waiting for he guys to get on, because I did like thirty songs in like four months because I broke my ankle. God gave me a lot of nice beats through people like MF Doom, Pete Rock, Lewis Parker from Europe, I've got Scram Jones...

    IGN Music: Are you trying to explore production outside the lines of the commercial mainstream?

    Ghostface: I'm resting with the underground right now, and all of that other stuff. It's like I had Missy Elliot on the last track, but it was kind of commercial and people said I shouldn't have made that move right there, but Def Jam released it at the wrong time - they should have released it when I did that Beyonce thing ["Summertime"] when Missy was kind of bubblin'. After I came with "Run," I came with that, and it kind of f*cked me up. They thought it was going to take me out of here on some commercial sh*t and it backfired on a kid, you know what I mean?

    I don't want to deal with too many $60- 100,000 producers, because I don't have the type of money to be putting in their hands anyway, but I've got a bunch of smaller guys - 'come on, I've only got five g's, g' - and I've got three, I've got ten, but anything over that, I can't sling that like that. It's a beat; it's just going on the album, it's not even making like if that's going to be a single, so I stay with the underdogs.

    IGN Music: Do you have a favorite album or track from all of the material you have produced?

    Ghostface: I don't know. I can't really tell you, because Supreme was funnier, more live, I guess based on the skits, and maybe sometimes the feel of the music. Like I said, I've got a certain feel, so on Bulletproof Wallets, if people would have gave me those kinds of beats, then I could have f*cked around and did that. But I didn't get those type, so I gotta work with what I work with, and that's how you get certain albums.

    At the same time, I don't want every album to sound the same anyway, but if somebody respects, say, Supreme, I would love to go ahead and do it again for them. Like how they say 'hey, Cuban Link,' but if all of the Cuban Link beats had the same feel, then it's going to be a different feeling, and it might be a better feeling - you never know. It's always hard to try to knock the next one that you had just put out.

    IGN Music: Has changing labels changed your approach or your creative freedom on new songs or albums?

    Ghostface: It's all the same. This is my second album made on Def Jam, and the first one flopped based on [the fact] they made a transition there, they switched bosses, and my album was just left in the air. It was a good album, though, but I couldn't do anything. The only thing [changing labels] gives me is a bunch of headaches or something, knowing that I can do good. If these were drugs, this would be the top of the line of coke, like the top of the line, but it just didn't get marketed right. It's not going all over the world and it's not getting distributed how it should be. [But] I got L.A. Reid and Jay-Z up there and I think they understand because I wouldn't be there if it was like that, so I just hope that through God's will everything will just be fine and I can go ahead and feel how I'm supposed to really feel. Sometimes I'm making the music, but then when it's only selling 100,000, it seems like it weakens you a little bit, so you can be doubting yourself, and it can tire you. So you've got to be string and fight through all of that, and that's what I'm going through right now. I'm just fighting, because that's how I eat - just by doing records and then going on shows and getting money from shows, surviving.
    Back like Cooked Crack

  • #2
    good read, props
    THEY SCARED TO DEATH, THEY SCARED TO LOOK, THEY SHOOK...
    CAUSE AINT NO SUCH THING AS HALF WAY CROOKS


    BATTLES:9
    WON: 9
    KO'S: 9

    Comment


    • #3
      Cool props on this
      Defeating me is humanly incapable/My thirst for blood is gruesomely insatiable

      Comment


      • #4
        pretty toney album was a good album, ghostfaces "metal lungies">>>>>>>>>>>50 cents "i dont need em"

        (for those who dont know the beats use the same sample and r basically the same beat")
        FREE XBOX360 it really works, I did it for a free ipod, just sign up and complete the FREE audiobooks 1 month trial. Absolutley free.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by D12 World
          God gave me a lot of nice beats through people like MF Doom, Pete Rock, Lewis Parker from Europe
          Thank god some rappers still know what good beats sound like...

          MF Doom + Pete Rock + Lewis Parker =
          OZ HIP HOP.COM
          THE RAP CELLA

          Comment


          • #6
            I remember reading this like 3 weeks ago

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by D12 World
              IGN Music: I have a bunch of your white-label 12" singles that have been released in the past couple of years, including tracks like "The Watch." How do you come up with the flow and content of these songs, which seem so unpredictable?

              Ghostface: The music makes me feel it. 'Catch me in a crisp blue six, deep dish, doors is crisp, velour stopped at the wrist,' and once I got the velour jacket 'that stopped at the wrist,' my watch is right there (looking at his watch). Also, 'talk to me trick daddy,' and I was just like, oh, let me make it like [my watch is] talking to me. That's what is was, and then we start arguing because he started getting smart like, 'yo, you ain't live no more,' and we're beefin', and I'm like 'I'll put you back on the shelf' and 'I'll stop your heart from ticking' and it just went like that.
              haha, that's one of my favourite Ghostface songs

              "Yo that's heresay, you spray hairspray"
              I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas...

              Comment

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