- Jun 15, 2012
TORONTO, CANADA - It's been almost 23 years since Wu-Tang Clan released their debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), a true rap classic considered as a high point in the genre. The 10-man crew was a perfect mix of unique voices and strong personalities, fusing together to make a unified sound. The lyrics were vivid, the beats were gritty and the hooks can still get a house party shaking to this day.
The years that followed saw the members of the group develop their individual styles through several highly-acclaimed solo albums, occasionally reuniting to reform Voltron and drop a full crew project. Ghostface Killah is one of the most prolific members of the group, releasing 12 solo studio albums including his 1996 debut Ironman, and making guest appearances on countless others.
Now 46 years old, Ghost continues to weave cinematic narratives over classic R&B samples, recently collaborating with Toronto jazz/Hip Hop instrumental group BadBadNotGood for 2015's Sour Soul and putting out Twelve Reasons to Die II, which featured spots from Wu-Tang members RZA and Raekwon.
At the same time, he's working on the long-awaited Supreme Clientele 2 album and now he's been tasked with coordinating the next Wu-Tang reunion, the first since 2014's A Better Tomorrow.
HipHopDX spoke to the rap legend after his set at the NXNE festival in Toronto on June 17 to get his thoughts on the current state of Hip Hop, which city has the best weed, and how Apple Jacks aren't as good as they used to be.
HipHopDX: What’s on your mind lately? What’ve you been doing these days?
Ghostface Killah: Just staying busy, working, thinking about what my next move is. Got to put this new Wu-Tang album together. Of course, my Supreme Clientele 2 album. A lot of other things are there that I don’t wanna talk about yet. I like to let things manifest themselves. A lot of times I put it out there first and it just fukks it up because the energy is already out there. Just living life, man.
DX: Is another Wu-Tang album something we can expect?
Ghostface Killah: RZA put the ball in my hand. He said 'Yo, I want you to do it,' and I been wanting to do it, and that’s a big test for me right there.
DX: Wu-Tang is a group that at one point had the same sound, and now the members have kind of moved in different directions and are experimenting with different sounds, a recent example being RZA working with Paul Banks from Interpol. For a Wu-Tang reunion, would it be bringing it back to that old sound, or trying to find something new that incorporates what you’re all doing?
Ghostface Killah: I mean, you got to always go back to the foundation ... It’s not what you do it’s how you do it. But it has to be done right. If it don’t fit then we can’t do it. It'll just have to be done nice. That’s it. People can't talk about it unless it’s good.
DX: With the ball in your court, are you making those phone calls to get the group back together yet?
Ghostface Killah: No, because I’m going to do my part first and let them know what I did and then have them listen to that and follow my lead. It’s like how they do in sports with athletes. It’s like alright, just follow my lead. [So I'll be making the calls about who is on what track, etc.] I could be wrong, but my ears are my judgment. My heart tells me what's right. But then again it might be somebody unexpected that blows everybody away. That’s how the Clan be. You never know who's going to blow the track.
DX: Are there any other guys you’re interested in bringing in for the project aside from the core group?
Ghostface Killah: I mean when we do this, we don’t got to bring nobody in. Unless there’s somebody that's already out with a strong name or a good voice that would be good. I learned to not be selfish. People know us. We got 10 people in the goddamn group. But you could still use different guys as different instruments — I look at people's voices as instruments that complement the track and make it sound good. When I do my Supreme Clientele 2, I might want a Rick Ross or [Mobb Deep's] P and Havoc because the beat calls for it like that. Who might sound good on this? It’s like you never know until you put it together.
DX: XXL just did their Freshman cover. Who would be on your list right now?
Ghostface Killah: Oh! Drake!
Ghostface Killah: Drake! Yeah man I like Drake. He really can rhyme though. You don’t really know what’s happening in the beginning of a rapper's career. That’s with all rappers.
DX: Drake’s an up and comer for you?
Ghostface Killah: No he’s not an up and comer. I thought you meant young. He been here for like 4-5 years. That’s what it is now. Jay Z, The Lox, Jadakiss and them, everybody got they position. I ain’t really know what to call it but the younger generation. I like Uncle Murda, Drake, even ScHoolboy Q.
DX: I saw you talking to Q backstage today, is that the first time you met him?
Ghostface Killah: Yeah. First time I met him physically. I’m a lyrical guy — I like how you put words together, and shyt like that. I’m one of those guys.