Ghostface Killah Interview: Drugs, 1993 & Scarlett Johansson

The Wu-Tang don tells us why he might just quit rap to go feed "poor people and shit".
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The Wu-Tang don tells us why he might just quit rap to go feed "poor people and shit".

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Pictures by Alex de Mora

A version of this article originally appeared in Juke, Issue 5: The Alter-Ego Issue (RIP)

It’s 10pm and I’m sat in the lobby of the Sanderson Hotel in West London, on a cushioned orb right in front of the double-doors at the entrance and I’m fucking sweating, I’ve got heavy bags and the doorman is looking right at me. I’ve been here going on five hours.

I arrived at the hotel a little early for our 5pm slot. Me and Ghostface for Juke magazine - a brilliant little magazine, sadly now defunct.

Nearly two hours later I saw a message from the photographer, Alex, and another guy, Yassa, from Juke. “See you at nine”.

By the time we’re finally lead up to Ghotsface’s hotel room - he’s a rapper so of course he’s in his hotel room - it's gone half-ten and I’m bordering on fuming thanks to a hallway barney with the rapper’s management.

“We might have to cut your time to two minutes...”

--

As we stepped into the room, the scene was pretty surreal. Clash mag were still in there putting their shit away and Ghost was lying on a bed in the middle of the room, beanie on, tracksuited up with a towel around his neck, surrounded by five of his management, assorted PRs, brand people.

Ghost was due on-stage in half-hour - a thing at the 100 Club on Oxford Street, sponsored by a trainer company who make my ankles sore.

Ghost was tucking into a bowl of penne al pesto about the size of a small sink. “So I guess let’s just do this thing, then...”

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I don’t know how but you’ve caught some decent weather. Do you like coming to London?

Ghostface: Eh, it’s okay. I don’t like fish and chips. The food.

Your schedule in London has been pretty hectic. Ever think you’ll be like “fuck this” and quit music?

Um, nah. I mean, I don’t think so, anyway. I love what I do. Even with these long press days and shit, you know... It’s not
forever. It’s gonna be over.

Over? Can you really ever imagine stopping?

Yeah, I mean… I’ll just stop one day and go around the world - try and feed the children. Go feed the babies and all that shit, you know? Poor people and shit.

What the fuck happened with the DOOM album, then? Swift & Changeable. That track with DOOM “Angeles” was 2007… What's been the hold up?

Man, I fucking did my half, nahmean? Now we just waiting on him. Nobody rushes DOOM. It's all him.

That must be annoying for you, though?

Man, what am I gonna do?

How did you feel in 1993 when Wu-Tang first broke out? You were twenty-three and all of a sudden you’re in the biggest rap group in the world…

I just remember it being fun. I don’t remember any of the bad times or the arguments, nahmean? Parties every night, girls dancing. But nah, even just being in the studio all the time, nahmean? Just being in there with everyone there. I already knew everyone knew how to rhyme and shit and it was just like being around a bunch of masters and shit, you know? And not even just the artists. Everything that was around us at the time, man. Everything just felt so warm and fresh, you know? All that shit. That’s what made that shit a nice fucking album, man.

It was fun.

I can only imagine how fun that must’ve been.

Yeah, it was very—

Ghostface snaps out of the cordial rhythm we’d just about managed to strike up despite guys from his label, entourage and a whole lot more hanging around us like vultures.

"What the fuck, man? Get the fuck outta my face with that fuckin’ shit, man." Ghost is talking to our photographer, Alex, who, on instruction, was trying to take twenty minutes worth of photographs in five minutes. "You’ve got fuckin’ plenty of shots, man. What the fuck you doin’? Nobody needs that many snaps, man."

Alex affects a Hugh Grant bumble, which is practically the ‘difficult talent’ version of the “lay down, play dead” school of avoiding getting attacked. “I’m… I, uh… I’m very sorry.”

Ghost regains his composure, ready to continue. He straightens his Wu-Tang branded beanie. "It’s just fuckin’ distracting and shit. Don’t do that shit, man."

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Do you worry you’ll ever burn out?

Excuse me?

Do you ever worry that you’ll burn out? You release a lot of albums.

All the time. Yeah. All the time, man.

How do you keep it fresh, then?

‘Cos I fuckin’ love what I do, man.

What would you be doing if it wasn’t for rap?

I dunno, man. In jail, maybe. Dead. I could’ve been paralysed or back-out on them streets or some shit. No-one knows, man.

How do you think rap’s changed since ’93?

Just the music, man. The music and the culture and the people. The world. People don’t dress the same, you know?

More drugs?

Yeah, more drugs definitely. All these young teens be doing different drugs and shit, nahmean? Plus these people in hip-hop now, they aiming strictly for the youth, you know?

Like who?

You know who.

Whatever happened to that gold eagle you wore on your wrist?

Best believe I still got that shit. We bringin’ it back out. We gonna bring it out in the summer, nahmean?

Can’t wait to see that - when I was about ten that shit was all I wanted for Christmas.

Oh, for real?

Yeah. It’s a bit hard to ask your mum and dad for a massive fucking golden eagle for a present, though.

Oh, you better believe that.

So you call yourself Tony Starks but the big question is: who do you prefer, Black Widow or Pepper Pots?

Who? What the fuck? Fuckin’… Pepper who?

Pots? Pepper Pots… Ironman? Come on, you’re supposed to be into all that shit.

I don’t know, man.

Gwyneth in the movies?

Oh! Pepper Pots! Oh shit, yeah. Now I get you. I thought you were asking who I’d rather fuck from Salt N Pepa. But nah - Scarlett all day, man. All day. I’ve got a mad thing for Scarlett Johansson. She’s just… She’s the best one, man. Her smile… Her smile is fuckin’ ridiculous.

Follow Sam on Twitter, @SamDiss

You can also check out the original article in all its former, shiny-ass glory over at Juke.