Ghostface Killah

The Exclaim! Questionnaire

BY Nick PatchPublished May 1, 2006

What are you up to?
Right now I’m just touring right now. After I finish the tour, I’m just going to start trying to write my next album. See what I’m going to do, see if it’s going to be a Theodore album. Try to shop my man Trife. I’m just trying to just keep whatever I’m doing current man, I’m not trying to wait too long to put out another album and stuff like that. So that’s what I’m really doing right now.

What are your current fixations?
I’m a soul baby man, I’m into a lot of soul music. I play a lot of old school music.

Why do you live where you do?
I’m living all over the Earth, man, all over the place.

Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
How God created everything on this Earth right here, man. That’s a work of art.

What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
When Jay-Z had that charity [gig] at Madison Square Garden, and how when I came out, the people just went bananas. You know what I mean? That’s Madison Square Garden! Yo, it was love, you feel me? I’ve never felt a day in my life like that.

What have been your career highs and lows?
You know, you get lonely, and you get writer’s block. You can’t think, you don’t really feel like who you are, you go and do a lot of shit, you catch your lows but then you catch your highs when you’re just doing it. When you’re gleaming and you’re shining and it’s like, everything is moving right. That’s not just with rap music that’s with whatever man, it could just be a guy on the block that’s got career highs and lows.

What’s the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
I don’t know, people say a lot of things. But you know, um, I can’t call that question right there.

What should everyone shut up about?
I don’t wanna hear niggas fucking ask me for fucking money man. That’s what I don’t want to hear no more. Magazine motherfuckers asking me the same questions all the fucking time, I don’t want to hear that same shit. You know what I mean? Like, ‘yo, what’s up with Wu?’ and ‘How’d you get your name?’ The same fucking questions man! I don’t like that shit. Other shit I can’t think of right now.

What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
My awareness of how I see shit. I’m very observant, and I’m glad that I’m very observant because if I wasn’t, a lot of shit I wouldn’t be seeing. I wouldn’t peep a lot of shit. I mainly peep everything. I can read you a lot of times as soon as I see you, or be around you for a little while. God always has my third eye open. Thing that I love about myself is that I love my God, I humble myself to Him, I stopped a lot of bullshit based on Him, for the sake of Him, because I know that He exists, and God is nothing but righteousness, so I try to walk the same path. Even though I did a lot of dirt and it’s hard to walk the path of righteousness, because Satan’s always coming away and trying to pull you the other way, and it’s easier to be led in the wrong direction than the right direction, and that’s why there’s a war right here on Earth against God and the Devil. I’m trying to be on God’s side and I’m trying my best to do right even though I might have to sacrifice a lot of things. I mean, and it might make me look like a fool or whatever a lot of times. My mans might be like, ‘Damn son, you’ve changed,’ but this is what I gotta do because I’m here to do right. And if I feel that it’s right in my heart then I gotta follow it. You know what’s right and what’s wrong, you know when you did something wrong to somebody whether you stole a pair of socks, and if you feel bad in your heart like, then you did something bad, cause you felt it, even without nobody telling you, know what I mean, I don’t like that feeling, so I have to do the opposite, G. That’s what I like about myself. Because I know that at the end of the day, everyone goin’ get judged and when this is my turn to get judged, that I won’t have that many strikes on me. Opposed to like, if I hadn’t humbled myself the way I humbled myself, my bad probably would’ve out-weighed my good and who knows, I probably would’ve been dwelling in hell for eternity. So that’s what it is.

What advice should you have taken, but did not?
When I was younger… you know, you’re always taught to stay in school and do this and do that, and you know, I wish I would’ve done things like that. Left a lot of things alone. Shit like that. Drugs, and stuff like that. But everything happens for a reason. Life is an experience. If I wouldn’t have went through what I went through it wouldn’t have made me the man that I am today. Maybe it was meant for me to fall out of school, and to go through what I went through, and to meet the people that I met for me to go ahead and bring y’all good music. Maybe if I would’ve been to school, maybe I wouldn’t have been, I’m not saying nothing — some people do go to school and come out to be nothing — but you know, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to give you all this music. Maybe I would’ve been something else that wouldn’t even have been recognisable to my game. Or whatever I was dealing with. Everything happens for a reason man. I don’t regret anything, except for the bad shit that I did.

What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
Just disloyalty man. Someone who is not loyal to what we’re dealing with, or not grateful, regardless of what it is. You would have to leave, because you’re someone who can’t be trusted. I don’t need no Judas in my group. We’re trying to grow here. We’re not trying to kill each other or be disloyal and somebody hears something else from off the streets and you’re coming in here always with negativity, negativity, negativity, you know, he say she say this and still thinking fucked up. Because once everything is positive and you’ve got one negative in there, that can cause a spark. That’s how you get electricity. And that spark could really be detrimental to what you’re dealing with. So loyalty and respect are #1 when you’ve got your group. You don’t want to live around snakes. You can’t close your eyes, you can’t sleep well. I like to be around people that I love and I know that they love me, and we all got our eyes on each other.

What do you think of when you think of Canada?
I’ve been there. Canada’s a nice place – I love Canada. But I’m not allowed in Canada based on my previous records and all the other stuff like that from since I was 15, 16. These guys at the border, they be playing games and shit. Even if you got permission to go out there from the judge and everything, the border be playing games. That’s the only thing I don’t like about Canada, the people at the border who don’t let me come in to perform for my Canada people, my Canadians. There’s a lot of people that love me in Canada!

What is your vital daily ritual?
I pray, man. I pray in my heart man. I pray, I pray, I pray. I thank God for everything, for me not choking, for me making it across the street, for me being able to tell you, for giving me the knowledge to be here and be able to tell you about what I do, for me still being here to breathe, to hear, see, touch, feel, smell! I got to give thanks, man. All praises is due. I do that. That’s a ritual that I must do every day. If I don’t do that like that, I feel guilty like, ‘I can’t even get the man who made it possible for me to be here, his props today.’ I mean come on, that’s not right. I gotta thank Him for my food, there’s people who don’t even have food. They can’t even get a piece of crust off a pizza. I can’t take these things for granted. I want to let Him know that I know He exists and that He’s aware. God is everything, and people don’t know that. That’s one thing that people should know, and get more seriously into whatever it is, whether it’s Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, whatever it is, start going hard on your God!

What are your feelings on piracy, internet or otherwise?
I mean that’s fucked up. I disagree with it, because for so long I worked on music, for the last whatever months, and for someone to go ahead and take it and put it all out, it’s not fair, man. I really don’t like it that much. I’m making this so I can feed my family, not so you can get it for free and pass it off for free. It’s messed up. I don’t agree with it too tough.

What was your most memorable day job?
Summer youth job. I worked for summer youth one time. It was my first job man. I worked like a slave, G. I was just cleaning out a bunch of weeds so motherfuckers could get ready to build houses, picking out that little grass that was growing up inside the concrete on the streets and cutting down trees, bagging leaves. Walking around different areas, working all day in the hot sun.

How do you spoil yourself?
I don’t really spoil myself, G. I got a big family, I take care of a lot of people man. A lot of things I get, I gotta go ahead and give to the people around me. It’s not about me no more.

If I wasn’t playing music I would be…
I might have a gun to your kidneys right now. I might’ve been in your house. I might be dead. I might be paralyzed or in jail! It wouldn’t be good. You feel me? I got no high school education. I don’t got my diploma. That leaves me with less options where I gotta be getting ahead and getting my hands dirty, G.

What do you fear most?
God. I’m afraid of God. I fear God.

What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
A lot of shit that happens I don’t remember man. Days just go by and shit. I can’t really remember, because I don’t dwell on shit. You get fans that’re just crazy man. That’re just bugged out. I saw one girl like four weeks with a fucking goat, a goat tattooed on her stomach, like near her pussy, and at the mouth was her pussy. And she said when she pissed it was looked like the goat was throwing up, spitting up, know what I mean? That’s what it was. It looked like on some devil shit. You saw the horns, the eyes, and at the mouth was the pussy, so when she take a piss, it looked like the motherfucker was just throwing up or something.

Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
I’d probably have one of God’s prophets over. Prophet Mohammad, Jesus. Any one of the prophets. Moses. I’d feed them the righteous foods. Whether it be fish, bread, water. Anything that’s kosher at that time. And salads, fruits, oranges, apples, and watermelons, and stuff like that. And just talk to them. Just tell me more, more, more about God. What it was like when you was living in your time or whatever, and just let me know how the world’s supposed to be and where’s it going and what they think my job should be here. I love good knowledge. I feel for that. It opens my mind. I know I’m not just here to be here. I’m here for a reason.

What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
I mean it’s whatever suits me, with her. She’s all positive.

Given the opportunity to choose, how would you like to die?
I would rather die for the right cause. However God would want me to die. I wouldn’t want to suffer through no pain, like heart attacks, sicknesses or whatever. I guess going in your sleep is very harmless. I don’t know, but at the end of the day, it’s how God has it for me, that’s how I’m gonna have to accept it. I just hope that it is painless.

Ghostface Killah might be the most consistent man in hip-hop. He’s the Tony Gwynn of rap, having released nary a dud in the decade since his 1996 solo debut, Ironman. The Wu-Tang vet always shone on the Clan’s brightest work and came out unscathed on its weaker efforts. But now it looks like Ghost’s unblemished career may have its defining moment: Fishscale. The 35-year-old MC’s fifth solo LP is a tour-de-force, a hungry, inspired statement of purpose.

It starts with the lyrics. Ghost has sharpened his already formidable storytelling ability to a deadly point. On Fishscale, the devil’s truly in the details: Beauty Jackson’s Revolon face blush, the Larry King Live on his TV, and the tartar sauce on his S Dot Kicks. This is a world Ghost has created and he takes pride in filling it with the little things. "You gotta imagine it,” he says. "You gotta imagine going to pull a heist. Things happen.”
Though this is the first of Ghostface’s albums without a contribution from the RZA, production on Fishscale is uniformly excellent and Ghost downplays the absence of his long-time Wu collaborator. "I was just looking for tracks, and the tracks that was brought to me was the brothers that I got on the album,” he says. "If I’m feeling that it’s hot, I’m doing it!”

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