SOHH Ghostface Interview

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SOHH Whatchusayin: Ghostface Killah
Friday - March 17, 2006 by Jesse Gissen
Ghostface Killah is one of hip-hops most revered figures. Both as part of supergoup The Wu-Tang Clan and as a solo artist, Tony Starks has never been known for biting his tongue.

In SOHH.coms latest "SOHH Whatchusayin," we chopped it up with Ghost about Camrons beef with Jay-Z, Alaskan hip-hop (Yes, you heard right), "smart dumb cats," and 50 Cent. So go pour some ragu on top of your ziti, untie your wallys, and peep what this God From Shaolin has to say.

SOHH: Whats goin on Ghost?

Ghost: Aint shit right now. Just chillin, just promoting this album.

SOHH: OK, can you please explain for those who dont know, what exactly is a "smart-dumb cat"?

Ghost: A nigga thats smart but just do stupid shit, you know what I mean. You know how it be. You got niggas around you thats supposed to be so smart who just do real stupid shit. Smart-dumb niggas. Its like yo, you tell a nigga to do something, or a nigga might do something and its like yo-he just on some other shit. You might send niggas to the store and he might fuck around and bring back the wrong shit but a niggas supposed to be so wise ... and its just, niggas like that in they clique all the time G. I even do stupid shit sometimes.

SOHH: Can you give me an example of somebody?

Ghost: Nah, I cant give you no examples and shit you know-thats personal shit, you know. It could be my mans. Im not gonna blow him up like that. [laughs]

SOHH: Aight, so everyones talking about the whole Cam - Jay-Z diss. So Camron says in the beginning of his record, I open the [NY] Daily News and hows the King of NY rocking sandles with jeans, open toed sandals, chancletas, with jeans on...and hes 42 years old? What was your response when you first heard it?

Ghost: I mean, you know. I didnt hear the song but I kinda heard through other niggas and shit. Its just crazy man. Its like, the beef period man. Its like, Im not into all that he-said she-said shit. Im a grown man. I got kids G. And we the only niggas up in New York on the East Coast thats beefin like that with each other.

SOHH: What do you think about it on a fashion tip? Would you wear that?

Ghost: No, I dont wear sandals G. I dont wear sandals, but you know, to each his own. I dont know he might have been on the beach or something, I dunno, but me personally, I dont wear sandals and shit. Because, you know, its not for me. It might be for somebody else, though.

SOHH: So, Jay didnt actually respond on a track yet. But Jay responded in an interview. He said, Im torn. I feel like I would be stupid to pay any attention because its such a ploy thats not even a good diss record. That shit is trash. Im inspired by good, artistic shit. Cams shit is not artistic. Theres nothing good about it. What do you think about that?

Ghost: I dunno because they both my mans. Jays the boss now [and] Cam is my man. Its like yo... I mean, Jay did the right thing. Just continue to do what youre doing. Thats what he felt in his heart at that time. Like yo Im not gonna respond, Im not gonna do nothing or whatever whatver thats cool with me. Its cool in the game with him then its cool in the game with me.

SOHH: Youre known for being very artistic in your lyrics so what do you think about him saying that about Cam? Do you think Cams artistic?

Ghost: Everybody got they own style. I cant knock down nobodys hip-hop. Because its like, you got the South niggas doing what they do. Are they artistic? I guess in their form of hip-hop theyre artistic because theyre doing what they do and people respect them for that music they make, so I guess they got something with them like that. So with Cam being Cam-Cam is Cam. Hov is Hov. Its two different lanes, you know what I mean.

SOHH: OK. Moving on, in the new issue of Scratch magazine, Rza had spoken about Cuban Linx II and how you hadnt recorded anything yet for the album. Regarding the situation he said, Maybe its time, the way Raekwon is moving, hes thinking maybe we dont need the bully- and he was referring to you-he had to get other people for the job. But I think Ghost will make an appearance on the album. How do you feel about that, are you going to be on the album...

Ghost: Who said maybe we dont need the bully?

SOHH: Rza said that. I dont think he meant it in a disrespectful way. But he said that you were known for being a bully on the album. Like that was your character on the first one... On Cuban Linx.

Ghost: Right, right, right.

SOHH: So what do you think about that?

Ghost: Nah, Im cool with that. I gave Rae like 3 joints right now. I gotta give him another one. I gotta give him another joint. So I guess that squashes all that.

SOHH: You got three songs on the album?

Ghost: Exactly.

SOHH: In our last "SOHH Whatchusayin," Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas spoke about his rapping style. He said, Im from the old school. It doesnt matter what you say, its how you said it, which made you want to repeat it. Its about the way you say it. You being a rapper thats known for both your unique lyrics and soulful delivery, what do you think of that?

Ghost: He said it right. I had crazy styles. I just was experimenting with rap doing Supreme Clientele, "Nutmeg" and that song "One" and all that shit. I was experimenting with rap, just like, Ima make a song that niggas dont even really know what the fuck Im talking about, but it just sounds fly over the beat. Thats what I did. So like he said, its how you say it. The same shit that Will.i.am told you, thats the same shit. Rap is universal. It can go anywhere. You could be in Alaska, and hear an Alaska nigga rappin but the people out there in Alaska might love that shit. Thats rapping. Thats hip-hop to them. So its all around. It can be in Russia, Moscow, whatever. Its like, what it is, is what it is, because its still some type of form of music, man. I dont give a fuck if you clappin your hands and somebody else is rhyming over your claps. Thats music. You can drop a pen on the floor. Constantly... Thats music. Its rhythm. It got something to it. You can take this anywhere.

SOHH: Word. I wanna get a response from you from a rhyme your collaborator [MF] Doom said on a song called "Change The Beat." He said ... the way a lot of crowds get down is unnatural/this flow flip like oranges, apples... What do you think about him saying that the way people are getting down is unnatural-you think thats true?

Ghost: Of course. Of course. Hip-hop is lost right now-- in a sense. From the hip-hop I come from and the hip-hop I know, it definitely evolved into something else. And a lot of that got to do with radio. Because you gotta take niggas out their element, they start making a lot more radio-friendly shit. But at the same time, niggas was coming a little bit too aggressive where it might start causing a lot of trouble over the airwaves with people talking beef shit. So you know, its kinda like softened up a lil something, for radio rotation. Other than that, the game is the game... it is a little bit unnatural because these new kids, they dont know their history. They dont know their KRS-Ones, and Rakims and [Big Daddy] Kanes and all that. They just know the current mothafuckers thats getting money right now like Nelly, Fabolous, or it could be T.I. or whoever. Not to say that niggas hip-hop is bad but thats what the kids know nowadays. They dont know the ones that started the shit when niggas was really getting it on back then. These lil kids--they just know what they seeing right now because hip-hop for the last couple of years has been at its peak. So thats what theyre caught up in.

SOHH: Could you please comment on this rhyme I picked from your song with Cormega, "Tony Montana," I just wanted you to elaborate on this one line where you said I play hard for nine innings/ dressed in fine linen/ Cuz pussy is the next best thing besides women. Could you explain what you were talking about right there?

Ghost: Right, right, right. I dont know about that hard for nine innings, dressed in fine linen, you know thats all a "get fly" dart and pussy is the best thing you know what I mean. I dont know how I worded the shit. I dont know what the fuck-- but thats what it is man... even though the pussy come from the woman. But um, I cant even tell you that right now. It is what it is.

SOHH: One more question. A writer on SOHH.com, Mr. Irreverent, he recently commented on Staten Islands contribution to hip-hop. He said when you really think about it, the Bronx sucks on a commercial level and artistic level. But if you compare the Bronx to other boroughs, its seriously lacking. Staten Island had a better run in rap than the Bronx. Wu-Tang, Shyheim, King Just, UMCs, The Force MDs, etc - You could say Staten Island has quality over quantity. What do you think about that?

Ghost: I mean thats cool. But hip-hop started in the Bronx though. You can never fuck around and take that for granted. It started from where it was at and thats just what it was, you know what I mean. You cant fuck around and knock that cause thats what it is.

SOHH: What do you think about Staten Islands contribution to hip-hop?

Ghost: Oh, we played our part. We played our part lovely. Its like, we did what we had to do, and we always do what we gotta do whether its a new spark.

SOHH: Ok going back a couple years when Supreme Clientele came out, on that skit with Clyde Smith you talked about 50 Cent, now 50 Cent came back on a freestyle. He said, I heard Ghosts album/cats talking that dumb shit/ I got a shell for every dust head that you run with. What did you think about that when it came out?

Ghost: Its small talk. Cause when we crossed heads it was a whole different story. That shit was small talk G.

SOHH: So what happened when you guys met?

Ghost: Nuthin happened, thats what Im trying to tell you.

Be sure to cop Ghostfaces new album Fishscale on Def Jam Records, hitting stores on March 28.


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