Nardwuar: Who are you?
Ghostface Killah: Ghostface Killah Wu-Tang clan.
Nardwuar: Ghostface, welcome to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Ghostface Killah: Thank you so much, it’s an honour.
Nardwuar: Ghostface, you have a song called “Apollo Kids”.
Ghostface Killah: Yes I do, it’s an album.
Nardwuar: And in it you sample Solomon Burke.
Ghostface Killah: Solomon, which song was that one?
Nardwuar: “Apollo Kids” has actually got a sample of Solomon Burke in it.
Ghostface Killah: Right, hold on, I’ve got an album called Apollo Kids and I have a song on Supreme Clientele called “Apollo Kids”.
Nardwuar: The song!
Ghostface Killah: The song.
Nardwuar: The song!
Ghostface Killah: Alright, so that’s on Supreme Clientelle.
Nardwuar: Yes, and I thought wow you must dig Solomon Burke, so I have for you a Solomon Burke poster, a gift for you.
[Nardwuar gives poster]
Ghostface Killah: Ohh, check that out! Yeah. Only thing missing is my face up there now, you know?
Nardwuar: What can you tell the people about you and Solomon Burke and the soul?
Ghostface Killah: I mean I had soul since I was a young’un, and these people right here, it’s like, you know, Wilson Pickett and them, I grew up like basically not singing in that era, but you know listening to that music, like that, you know what I mean, and it just moved on, moved on up though, but it’s like as far as soul, it’s like, it’s in me. You know what I mean, my mother, my father had it, when I was young they used to play all the soul music, you know what I mean, inside the living room, used to kick me out of the living room and tell me to get in the room cos I was too young to be around the grown folks while they was, you know, getting their little drink on, listening to all the stuff like that, so as they closed the door on me it just been in me. You know what I mean, I grew with that, you what I mean, so that’s how come when old soul music, when we take our samples from it, I’d rather deal with samples than non samples, because samples to me felt like that music back in the days felt like something that you could feel. You know what I mean, for some reason, you know I mean, like yo, you could feel whatever they was… you know what I mean, whatever they felt, or however they was doing like you could feel it more than the music, you could feel like it came more from the heart than just from here. [points to head]
Nardwuar: Ghostface, now you can put that on your wall, that’s a gift for you.
Ghostface Killah: Thank you so much, I appreciate that.
Nardwuar: Now speaking of growing up and stuff, what can you tell the people about these Staten Island MCs, the Force MDs?
[Nardwuar shows LP]
Ghostface Killah: Legends! These is legends! These is legends! Before they was the Force MDs, they was the Force MCs. And they was battling, like crews, like Cold Crush, you know what I mean, groups that was around back then. You know what I mean, this is when, we was on, they had tapes before DVDs, CDs and all the stuff like that, when they was really going to the big park, plugging in your equipment inside the park. You know what I mean, with the speakers and the DJ, with the mixer, the echo chamber, you know what I mean, the strobe lights and all the stuff like that, really doing it in the park when they were the Force MCs. And they always knew how to sing, you know what I mean, a lot of them. So they started, you know, I guess when they become, after that era, you know what I mean, when they started singing, I think they changed to the Force MDs because you still couldn’t be the Force MCs when you’re singing, you know, because you know, now you’re singing now, you know what I mean?
Nardwuar: I heard they got signed after singing on the Staten Island Ferry. Did you ever sing on the Staten Island ferry with Wu-Tang?
Ghostface Killah: Never did that. You know what I mean, never did that. They had to do it, you know what I mean, but they paved the way for us on Staten Island, you know what I mean, and I had them on a few of my records, you know what I’m saying, “The Soul Controller” and “Datona 500.” It’s like, yo, these guys right here, you know what I mean, they’ve got tears, love is a house, you know what I mean, they would have been, took New Edition’s spot in Krush Groove, when that movie came out, you know what I mean, but you know, you know how the politics be and stuff like that, so they didn’t really get the whatcha-ma-call-it, but, whoever’s from back then they know about the Force MDs.
Nardwuar: What about the UMCs, Ghostface Killah, another Staten Island crew?
[Nardwuar shows another LP]
Ghostface Killah: um, these guys, this is my man Haas, right here, I grew up with him, we lived in the same building, you know what I mean, but, yeah, when I was out of state, you know what I mean, doing my thing, they came through and it was like wow, you know what I mean, and my man, I was happy for him because this is one of my guys, I really played football with, you know what I mean, touch football, tag football, whatever, stick ball and all that stuff like that, but to see them go ahead and make it, he was the one who produced “Apollo Kids” for me. You know what I mean, he produced Apollo Kids for me off Supreme Clientele so, you know, it’s all love, it’s all good.
Nardwuar: Just curious there Ghostface, do you ever still ever eat instant Ramen with Louis Rich luncheon meat?
Ghostface Killah: Louis Rich? Na, see that was in my book. You know what I mean, I just said you could probably put it in there like that, you know what I mean, but they took it too far and had the shit looking real disgusting and shit, you know what I mean, but I’m just saying though, yeah, we all eat Roman noodles, Ramen noodles, whatever the case may be when you are on a bus, you can just go ahead and crunch it up and get some hot water and you know, do what they do, you know what I mean, or even if you are at home, you know what I mean, so it’s not, we still got hood characteristics in us, the hood, you know what I mean, it’s never going nowhere, you know what I mean, that’s what it is. Food is food, you know, noodles is noodles, you know what I mean, so we do what we do.
Nardwuar: And I’m taking away now for some tiramisu. Thank you for doing this interview because you are missing your tiramisu right now, aren’t you?
Ghostface Killah: Yeah, I mean it’s all good, I just wanted to taste it, that was my main thing like that, I just wanted to taste it to see how, it looked that good, so I just took a little swipe of it, you know what I mean, and took it down real quick.
Nardwuar: Ghostface Killah, I have a quote for you. “Under my wing like Sanford and …
Ghostface Killah: Son.”
Nardwuar: Sanford and Son.
[Nardwuar shows LP]
Ghostface Killah: Oh, ok, yeah, this is legendary. You know what I mean, I like a lot of old black TV shows and stuff like that. It was kinda fun watching growing up with Soul Train and Carwash and you know, What’s Happening, and things in that nature, you know what I mean and stuff like that. So yeah, this is classic right here, you know what I mean, Masta Killer did a track from the beginning it’s doon, doon, doon, doon, RZA took the sample and they came and had a record all dirty and I was wondering and I asked him why you didn’t put me on it because this is me, and I belong on that. Yeah Sanford and Son, you know what I mean, rest in peace the Redd Foxx, legendary, all legendary, you know what I mean, so it’s good.
Nardwuar: Chubb Rock, as well, Mr Chubb Rock, he’s under appreciated isn’t he, Chubb Rock?
[Nardwuar shows LP]
Ghostface Killah: Yeah, Chubb Rock is a lyricist, he’s a lyricist, you know what I mean, he’s definitely under appreciated, you know what I mean, he knew how to put his words together, he had big words too, he was one of those, you know what I mean, and his voice was like ‘da, da, da, da, da’, and now they Biggy. Back, back then his voice was, he had that nice voice but Chubb Rock, you know what I mean, definitely is, you know what I mean, under rated, and he just got busy, he got busy, he just got busy, yo, he was a lyricist through, this is all my history man. You’re pulling out all my history, this is all my history, you know what I mean, so of course I always take from them because that’s all I know, like I take the sample, that’s all I know, so I take the sample, I do what I do, and it comes out how it comes out, b. All respect, there’s all respect. All respect.
Nardwuar: Ghostface Killah, did you ever meet Sylvia Robinson who founded Sugar Hill Records?
Ghostface Killah: No I never, I never, I never met her, but I use her song on the Pretty Toney Album, I think it was the pillow talk song, I used that, you know what I mean, I was talking over the song and stuff like that before ‘take me back’ came in, that was on the Pretty Toney Album. So when you hear that, you know that’s a, you know, rest in peace Silvia, you know what I mean, Miss Robinson, you know what I mean.
Nardwuar: Starting Sugar Hill, that was really cool I thought.
Ghostface Killah: Very intelligent and smart.
Nardwuar: And doing Pillow Talk, her own tunes are incredible, eh?
Ghostface Killah: Exactly, you know what I mean. She was a business lady, she just owned a lot of people’s material and everything, a lot, a lot of samples, they gotta go through her and her family to get the samples cleared.
Nardwuar: Ghostface, I have another gift for you – the Three The Hard Way soundtrack.
[Nardwuar gives LP]
Ghostface Killah: Yeah, man, these is like, they are incredible man, you know what I mean, like I told you, this is my life, this is what I grew up off of, and …
Nardwuar: When did you first get into Kung Fu movies? Like how did you get into Kung Fu movies? How?
Ghostface Killah: It was like, by like seven, eight, nine years old, you know what I mean. Bruce Lee was the first one, you know what I mean, and going to the centre when I was little, going to watch the karate movies and Enter the Dragon , and this and that and the third, and it just kicked over, and Jim Kelly was in there, you know what I mean, featured in one of them and that was it, and that’s what put me on to Jim Kelly.
Nardwuar: Was there going to be a connection to Wu Massacre, weren’t you going to call Wu Massacre three the hard way or something?
Ghostface Killah: Yeah, but, yeah we were going to call it three the hard way, me Rae and Meth, you know what I mean, but you know, Meth didn’t want the name like that so we changed the name.
Nardwuar: You were on the Arsenio Hall Show, that was incredible, the Arsenio Hall Show.
Ghostface Killah: Yes. Arsenio Hall, yes, that was when he was leaving out, you know what I mean, it was all good, it was like we was new in the game so it was something to be on. Something to be on, you know what I mean and he was the shit at that time too and you know what I mean, we just went up there, we smashed it and we had to say what we had to say man, and that was it.
Nardwuar: What do you remember about his rapping, Chunky A, Arsenio doing the rapping as Chunky A?
[Nardwuar shows LP]
Ghostface Killah: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I forgot about this shit right here man, you know.
Nardwuar: I thought that was pretty cool, he had great guests and then he does the rapping too, Chunky A.
Ghostface Killah: Yeah, yeah, I forgot about that, yeah. But you know, it’s all TV man, it’s all entertainment man, everything is good, you know what I mean, and that’s what it is man, these are just parts of our life man, that we go through.
Nardwuar: Ghostface Killah, speaking of entertainment stuff you have a doll.
Ghostface Killah: Yeah, I had a doll yeah.
Nardwuar: And your good friend MF Doom has a doll. Have you seen the MF Doom doll action figure before?
[Nardwuar shows MF Doom action figure]
Ghostface Killah: No, it’s the first time I’m seeing it.
Nardwuar: What do you think of it? MF Doom’s action figure.
Ghostface Killah: That’s the, yo, that’s the, for you to have your own doll, it’s, you know what I mean, people love you man. So, you can’t take nothin’ away from him man, it’s all the blessing, people love you man, and that’s just what it is right now.
Nardwuar: What do you think about people like MF Doom and the way how they have disguises and stuff, like you are quite into disguises yourself aren’t you? The Ghostface.
Ghostface Killah: Yeah, I’ve been the Ghostface, I’m still the Ghostface, you know what I mean, but it’s you know, whatever you think that you take on is you. You know what I’m saying, and Doom took on the mask thing, alright so that’s Doom, you know what I mean, it fits him and you know he’s dope, you know what I mean, and that’s just what it is.
Nardwuar: Regarding your mask, didn’t you sometimes wear like pantyhose over your face and stuff like that? Was that actually you?
Ghostface Killah: Or stocking caps, I wore masks, I wore turbans, you know what I mean, I did, I had my fair share of covering my face.
Nardwuar: Did you have stand-ins at all, like was it always you in the photo shoots or could it have been somebody else in the photo shoot?
Ghostface Killah: No that was me.
Nardwuar: How can we prove right now it’s the real Ghostface Killah we are speaking to right now?
Ghostface Killah: How could you prove? How you could prove who I am right now [laughs]? I don’t know man, watch the show tonight, B, and then you know my voice, you know, I’m here man, I’m here but I’m not here. You know what I mean, because you all think on a different wavelength to me, I don’t think like how you think. So I could be here, but be out there, you know what I mean, and that’s the real ghost.
Nardwuar: Ghostface, lastly, lastly here, thanks for speaking to me, Nardwuar the Human Serviette. Doesn’t Merlot sometimes need more grapes?
Ghostface Killah: Merlot! I’m not really a wine drinker, you know what I mean, I’d rather taste some Grey Goose and Red Bull over the Merlot. You know what I mean, every time I drink wine I get headaches from it. You know what I mean, probably because it’s too sweet, I’m not sure, but I’ll leave that for the ladies.
Nardwuar: Well, thanks very much Ghostface Killah. Keep on rockin’ in the free world and doot doola doot doot…
Ghostface Killah: Doot doot.