These are the transcripts of an interview with Ghostface aired April 2nd, 2006 on DJ Hyphen & J. Moore’s “Sunday Night Sound Session” on Seattle’s KUBE 93.3 FM.
MVRemix: You guys kind of started that whole a.k.a stuff back in the day…
Ghostface: Yeah, ’94, ’95…
MVRemix: How did that happen?
Ghostface: It started with a shirt; an ill Toney Starks shirt. I put the shirt on and felt like a different man when that shirt came on. Told Rae like, “Yo, this is my Toney Starks shirt. After that it’s been Toney Starks, you know what I mean? Ironman. He came with the Lex Diamonds and then one thing lead to another.
MVRemix: And then the whole Clan had different names…
Ghostface: Exactly; Rebel INS and Golden Arms…
MVRemix: Speaking of INS, real quick, I heard a crazy rumour that I need you to set straight. Someone said he’s losing his voice and there’s thoughts of retirement or something…
Ghostface: Nah, INS is gettin’ older. So sometimes when you get older your voice be changin’. I don’t think he retirin’ or nothin’ like that though. He’s still workin’ and doin’ projects.
MVRemix: Speaking of projects, your project “Fishscale” is the new album. What makes this album different from the old? Although I guess if it ain’t broke. Don’t fix it.
Ghostface: That’s what I tell cats. I just told ’em that not too long ago. I’m just doin’ me. There’s not really a difference man. Difference is with this new album I’ve got the whole Clan on this record. And my son is rhymin’ on it, you know, Trife Da God and I got Ne-Yo on this project. I been with a lot of underground producers; J-Dilla, MF Doom, Pete Rock. Ain’t too much of them high class dudes [out right now]. I just went into what is my feel for right now. The next album might be a little different.
MVRemix: Have you got any plans on the next one?
Ghostface: Nah, I’ma go through a bunch of material… I heard some other beats that I like, I forgot what producer though. But I know where I’m goin’ should I say. There’s gonna be a different vibe than this album right here. It’ll be somethin’ else.
MVRemix: Speaking of producers, in a lot of your tracks you’re kind of sadly known for having a ton of dope material that can’t get cleared, and maybe has to be changed up. Anything that didn’t make this officially that could be released down the line? I heard about some Madlib joints…
Ghostface: I recorded some Madlib joints towards the end of the project but we didn’t submit them or nothin’ like that. We was just like, “Alright, we gonna hold fast for a second.” So I still got those in the stash. Probably a few joints on this album that we had to play over that didn’t make the joint; “Family Affair,” the original Just Blaze track – that is murder.
MVRemix: The Just Blaze one, “The Champ,” is the beat on the CD different to the original one?
Ghostface: Yeah, yeah, it’s a play over.
MVRemix: That’s crazy, ’cause the beat now is insane.
Ghostface: It’s murder, yeah, it’s murder. It’s like the same thing but it’s a play over. [ponders] And what else? “Charlie Brown” track, you know what I mean?
MVRemix: That was my favourite one that didn’t quite make the cut.
Ghostface: Right, right, samples’ll get you. They wildin’, it’s just crazy. The fans don’t really know what you’ve gotta go through tryin’ to get things cleared and how much it takes for you to get it played over. And it don’t really sound the same to me because I made it. So the people don’t know the original, they just hear what they hear.
MVRemix: What’s your favourite unreleased one? I think for me it had to be the “Good Times” joint.
Ghostface: You got “The Watch.”
MVRemix: The Barry White joint?
Ghostface: Yeah, I love how that comes off. “The Sun,” that’s beautiful.
MVRemix: There were like four joints off “Bulletproof Wallets” that had to switch up.
Ghostface: Yeah, “Bulletproof Wallets” would’ve been murder if all that was on there.
MVRemix: It was still pretty hot.
Ghostface: It was still hot, but still takin’ off one… That’s what I’m tryin’ to tell my manager – takin’ one joint off. That means a difference. It’s like losin’ a pinky [finger]. It’s like you need that man, everything… When you tryin’ to create somethin’ and make it right. Regardless if the fans didn’t hear it or not. I’m like that Shakespeare/Beethoven cat that knows it needs to be there like that. I’m that Picasso; I know the painting and what leaf should be on that tree and where it should be at. ‘Cause I had the vision.
MVRemix: To make it kind of a complete, cohesive project…
Ghostface: Yeah – so you can kind of see my mind. So everything is important.
MVRemix: You were the first person that I heard just rhyme over an old soul track for the “Holla” joint. You’ve got another one, “Big Girl,” on this album – how did that idea come?
Ghostface: Nah, it’s just songs like that… We love old music. My whole bus, my whole team, we like to listen to a lot of old music. When I was young and desperate I just came up off. So I like that music better than I like rap and rock and house or whatever you wanna call it… disco. When I hear music like that and I can feel I can get in the groove of it and be like, “Yo, I wish somebody would make that beat for me…” I know how to just go in. Instead of writing about love I could take it on something else… Whatever I feel like. I don’t really hear the words when I’m doin’ it, it’s not really nothin’ – I just go ahead and do it.
MVRemix: Are there any plans to kind of do more of that stuff in the future? Maybe…
Ghostface: [interrupting] Nah, I got records like that. I just never released ’em, I never laid it down like that. But I do got books and rhymes over Jackson 5 and Moments and stuff like that. I never been laid down yet.
MVRemix: If you had to pick one old school soul album like that, what would you say is kind of one of your favourites?
Ghostface: It’s a lot… Blue Magic, probably one of those dudes… The Delphonics is ill – it’s too many. Curtis Mayfield is ill. It’s too much though. If I were to pick one right real quick, I probably would go with Blue Magic, real quick.
MVRemix: How about on the current side of things – do you listen to things outside of Hip Hop these days?
Ghostface: Nah, not really. I just listen to… Unless it’s old Hip Hop man or old classic soul. And that’s it… The game is the game right now. It’s really not poppin’.
MVRemix: Give me your overall feelings on the state of the industry, both in terms of yourself as an artist within this industry and then as far as what you see on MTV, listening to it… That kind of stuff.
Ghostface: It’s just boring. Back when we was comin’ through the door man, you had to have some type of skill. Some type of talent. Nowadays you don’t need talent. It’s not about what you say no more or your emcee skills. Back then you had to fight for that. Now we goin’ crazy over snap music and sayin’ stuff that really, you know… I guess people just wanna have fun. I know things evolve and the game is weighed to that right now… And I don’t knock nobody’s Hip Hop – it’s universal, it’s all cool though. But it’s just from where I came from and to see what’s going on today. It’s sad. It’s like that old commercial when the Indian looked at his land and he dropped that one tear. Yeah, it was real. That’s how sad it is right now. But to each his own and hopefully it’ll make its circle back, ’cause what goes around do come back around… Regardless of what. Where’s the game at? It was meant for whoever got the game to have it.
MVRemix: I think a lot of people, a lot fans, maybe from that late ’90’s era are kind of pinning their hopes on the Wu bringing it back. I know you’re doing your part coming out with consistent albums. Are there any upcoming Wu projects you can speak on?
Ghostface: You got Raekwon comin’ in with the “Cuban Linx ,” Meth is come with him, GZa come with him. Wu ain’t comin’ ’till like next year sometime. And even when we do that, we gotta be careful. ‘Cause I didn’t like the last two projects. They gotta be really, really, really right and there’s gonna be a lot of arguing going down there ’cause there’s gonna be so many brothers tryin’ to keep it real. If my name is on it, I can’t be on it unless it’s to how I like to see it, or else I’ll pass.
MVRemix: That’s real man, you’ve got to keep that quality control.
Ghostface: You’ve got to do that man, or it’s like, “Yo, what you gon’ do?” I ain’t with puttin’ out duds. You feel me?