Ghostface Killah - Im Fly (ballerstatus) interview

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Ghostface Killah: Im Fly
Wednesday - February 22, 2006

— by Mark Lelinwalla


There are leaders and then there are followers. Somewhere after the late 90s in hip-hop, a majority of MCs began going with whats hot and choosing the latter, instead of insisting on being unique. The results: originality in the game suffered and continues to do so to a large extent today.

Ghostface on the other hand, has always remained on the cutting edge of his lyrical prowess, fly fashion sense and overall style and swagger.

Here, BallerStatus.net chops it up with Ghostface about what the game is missing, managing to stay unique after so many years, his eagerly-awaited Fishscale album and the Wu-Tang Reunion Tour. This is Ghostface in "Im Fly," a BallerStatus.net exclusive feature.

BallerStatus.net: People have always liked you for your flow, the nicknames, fashion style and overall for being unique. Is todays hip-hop scene lacking originality?

Ghostface: Yes, hip-hop is lacking originality. Thats (lack of originality) what changed the game because people arent thinking anymore. They just...man, I dont know what it is. Its not from the heart and they dont know how to be original. They dont know how to get creative and do things. Thats why we hear the same sh-- everyday. Its the same stuff being put out there and its almost as if theres a writers block in the game. Theres nothing new. Thats why when someone does come along with something new, they take off. Kanye West comes along and n----s were tired of hearing all that gun play sh-- and they wanted to hear something different. They want that. When Wu-Tang came in the game, we were different and people wanted that and grasped that. People dont know how to get creative anymore. The South is doing good, theyre having fun and no one can knock them for it. Thats their hip-hop. They show unity and love and its all good. I respect those brothers. Us, the East is frowning up on each other, hating for no reason, throwing sideway darts. Its like, "Yo I cant stand that n----," but yo, you dont even know me or ever broke bread with me. Were too confused. The devil is so much among us. Were in a f---ed up position.

BallerStatus.net: I remember you saying on a television appearance before that you dont even listen to current hip-hop. Is that still accurate?

Ghostface: Yea, of course. I dont listen to hip-hop thats out now much. It depends on who it is. Im back in the days, back in the days.

BallerStatus.net: Do you think hip-hop is kind of stale right now?

Ghostface: Yes, to a degree it is. You got brothers doing what they do though, but it is different.

BallerStatus.net: Lets talk about the album. You have four tracks with Raekwon. How is it when you and the Chef get in the lab and create music?

Ghostface: I mean, its all good, but this time we were so busy that I had to send him the four joints; he took care of it and sent them back to me. But when Rae and I are in the kitchen, its real. Its like were going to throw this sh-- together like Martha Stewart. Its like were going to whip up something real nice. Thats my n----. When we go in, we go in. When we just tag team on some Batman and Robin sh--, we definitely know what to do. We just get busy G.

BallerStatus.net: Can you compare this album to The Pretty Toney Album of 2004?

Ghostface: This album -– Fishscale -– is more colorful. I got more street sh-- than I did on Pretty Toney because I wasnt trying to go heavy on my audience on The Pretty Toney, but at the same time, it was the beats that I received. See, when I receive certain type of beats, they make me do certain types of things. These beats right here (on Fishscale) are right up my alley and thats what I have been looking for. [MF] Doom, Pete Rock, J Dilla and them came through real nice for me. With Pretty Toney, they were good beats, but I had to take what I had to take at the time because I wasnt getting that many beats from people, so it was hard to pick. I picked what I thought was sufficient for that time. This time, I have my street sh--, regular sh--, nice ill stories and its just a mixture of all my albums put together in one. Every album is a new baby, but they all come together because theyre from the same bloodline. Theyre just in different time zones. Im here to win and to basically show everyone how I get down. Its a whole new generation of rap and there are a lot of kids that dont know about Rakim and Biz Markie, and even Wu.

BallerStatus.net: What do you think about the newer generation?

Ghostface: Its like when we came in years ago, a lot of kids in rap who are in their prime were like two-years-old. Some will even say, "Maan, I wasnt even born when yall came out." Thats bad because they only caught the last bit of the real sh--. I think hip-hop died somewhere in 96, maybe 97 and it was just over with, if you ask me. Now, here we go in 2006, nine years later. Its kind of finished a little bit. Maybe when I came with that Supreme [Clientele] in 98, the game was already whatever. I had all types of skits on there and sh-- was bananas. It was entertainment and people missed that. The beats I had on there was real hip-hop, even though I changed my style a little bit when I was rhyming real abstract. Then my man Hov came with the Blueprint and that was like the same sh--, like I just did. Like Kanye was telling me that he had those beats for me, but Hov had heard them and he had snatched them. I wanted them. I had always been in my element like that, but its that it was getting ignored. It ran for a little while, but other music started coming in. R&B took off in 96 and 97 and thats when Puff was doing his thing. Thats when we started hearing more radio sh--. When I came with Supreme, thats what it was, but after a while it started moving out.

Now you have it in the hands of the South and thats still all good because theyre having fun, like [New York] used to do. You cant knock it, but were lacking a lot of originality, creativity and a lot of DJs f--- it up because a lot of them were on the payroll. Its bad to the point where when I go to the South, I cant even get my record played because it dont match what theyre dealing with. They dont like New York sh--.

BallerStatus.net: What can New York do to bounce back?

Ghostface: We need for cats to use their mind and write about different things. Im not saying drop knowledge. Think about whatever, like that Ne-yo sh--. Its just about a chick that cheated on her man with his enemy. Simple sh-- works, but just describe it to the "T." But thats what MCs are afraid of -- using their mind more. Me, I got a track on my album where its like Im under water and Im painting a picture of what Im seeing. Its something I wanted to do because the beat made me do it. Yea, it took days for me to write that, but when I finished that, it came out a smash hit. All my n----s love that. You can write a rhyme about guns, crack and chicks in 15 minutes, if even that long. But to use your brain, cats are afraid of that G.

BallerStatus.net: Lyrically aside, even when it comes to jewelry, do you feel as though, you were ahead of the game?

Ghostface: Way ahead of the game and thats why Im going to sh-- on them again and make them say, "Yea, that n---- is the man." Watch when yall see my arm again. Its all real. I have to set up and let n----s know that Im that n---- from way back when, but yall just didnt know about me because youre just too little. Especially for the new jacks out there. But, I will say its good to stay close to the young people because theyre going to run sh-- one day.

BallerStatus.net: You did "Faceoff" with Scarface on Kay Slays album, which people felt was an under the radar classic. Are there any other artists out there that you would love to work with to make an epic like that?

Ghostface: Yea, yea, Scarface and Ghostface -- the two faces. But, I collaborated with everyone I wanted to already. D-Block -- I love all them n----s; Nas -- I love Nas; Genius, even Rae -- they get me to pick up my pen. Biz, Big Daddy Kane, Tribe. I like Dead Prez. I did one with Common, but that was for Faith though. Talib, thats a n---- thats real nice. I love Nas though. Hes one of that cats that when hes in his zone, he gets me to pick up my pen and write. Even Jay-Z, I would love to do something with him, when Im in my zone.

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