|© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2004-06-02
Ghostface (Killah) is one of hip-hop’s champions of consistency. And he’s continuously blessed eager listeners with bars that provoke thought, twisted faces and head nods. But after 10 years, Ghost is going through changes, which these days is commonly referred to as "grown man s**t." As a lot of surface rappers remain identical to their former selves, Ghostface aka Tony Starks aka Pretty Toney is about to morph again - this time to something more dramatic, personal and uncompromising.
AllHipHop.com: So, Ghost tells me where were you five years ago, five month ago and five days ago?
Ghostface: Mentally? Physically? I probably was doing Supreme Clientele five years ago. I was in New York City five months ago, running around and getting ready to drop my current album, Pretty Toney. And five days ago, we were running around too.
AllHipHop.com: I heard you stopped blazing.
Ghostface: Yeah, Toney don’t smoke no weed. No more of that. Its like, I wasn’t like Tical [Meth] where they blaze everything, every day. Some times you have to relax on it. Especially me, I’m a diabetic and it wasn’t good for me. That’s no the reason I quit. If you are doing something for a whole bunch of years, since your teens, and then you are in your 20’s, that’s not good for you? It starts taking a toll on you.
AllHipHop.com: Is that a grown man decision or a Ghost decision?
Ghostface: That’s a grown man decision. Then, writing music, you start getting stuck, forgetting what you were going to say, you losing lines (rhymes). I had to "Chuck Chillout" on that. (laughs). I ain’t gonna front. Sometimes, it opens that closed door for a second, then after that everything starts coming into my head where I can’t stay focused. I had to leave it alone.
AllHipHop.com: Grown man things!
Ghostface: It was making me tired. I might have something to do and then (I realized) I’ve missed everything. Two or three hours passed. And you like ‘I gotta light up tomorrow.' You keep throwing yourself off. You got some people that can smoke working like that and it gives them a battery (energy), but I’m the opposite. It was kinda hard. Since September 16 [I haven’t smoked], discipline.
I’ve done a lot of things in my life and a lot of things, I regret. But as you get older, you get wiser. I have to give all praises due back. Any way I can give back to and make God happy... If I have to civilize a nation to give His word, through the music, then that's what I’m have to do. I’m not going to be talking about what I am talking about in a couple of years. Its time to get out of that stage and give all praise to the Father.
AllHipHop.com: Now, I’ve wanted to ask you this for a minute. Are you still a member of the Five Percent Nation?
Ghostface: [Pauses] No, but I study Islam. I’m not a part of the Five Percent Nation. I always respected what the brothers spoke about, but I was never apart of it. I respect the lessons and all that. I agreed with a lot of their ideology.
AllHipHop.com: That’s a huge misconception. I never knew that. Your "chez la Ghost" video had a lot of scantily clad women in it. I was about to say...there was a contradiction with that and the ideology of the Five Percent Nation.
Ghostface: How is that a contradiction?
AllHipHop.com: Don’t women have to be covered?
Ghostface: That’s really what Muslims go by.
AllHipHop.com: But don’t you practice Islam?
Ghostface: Yeah, but that’s what Muslims go by. You got Five Percent over here and you got your Muslims over here.
AllHipHop.com: Does what you practice in your personal life have to carry over to Ghostface aka Pretty Toney?
Ghostface: Well, Islam for me means Peace and Submission, so I submit to the will of Allah. At the same time, I know we are in a time where things have changed. I ain’t gonna front, I’ve had babies by ladies that weren’t Muslim, but in my household they had to follow a certain amount of laws about being very clean and no pork in my house and knowing how to raise my kids. When you do videos, that’s just TV. That’s an illusion at the end of the day. So, I’m not saying that every girl gotta be Muslim. In these days and times, a lot of people are not even dealing with that unless I stay in the mosque all day and catch a woman with her face covered up. Not to say, I don’t want a women like that - somebody that has respect for herself, that’s one of the best [qualities] you can ever have in a woman. The videos and all that stuff are just like make up.
AllHipHop.com: Now how are your lyrics separate from the make up?
Ghostface: What do you mean?
AllHipHop.com: The video is a representation of your music. Your music isn’t just for entertainment, is it?
Ghostface: My music is for everything, but I am an entertainer. That’s what I do, I entertain. I’m an emcee so I must entertain the people.
AllHipHop.com: But that music doesn’t come from a special place?
Ghostface: Of course. When I write my music, I entertain from the heart.
AllHipHop.com: You said videos are an illusion, but your rhymes aren’t, are they?
Ghostface: No, but I can write rhymes that are science fiction. I can write reality. I can write happy. I can write sad - anything that deals with the emotions.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of hip-hop is "keep it real" and we have a lot of cats going to jail and it’s already shown that they are using lyrics against rappers. Where does the separation start?
Ghostface: Well, for me, I can talk about drugs or something that I did back then and that’s what is going to be. But then you can have a video that doesn’t even match with what’s going on [in the song]. That’s how them rock videos be. I’m here to write good music, perform at the best for my people, and speak to them and teach to them.
AllHipHop.com: Let’s talk about the Theodore Unit, your crew.
Ghostface: That’s the fam. They are a group of brothers. You don’t necessarily have to be an emcee, it’s more like a movement. It’s going to be a time...when we are going to go to the top. That’s not just dealing with music, that’s with everything. The most righteous name that I could come up with was a group of thinkers. We don’t need anybody around us that’s not thinking for themselves. I see there are times when people think of "this" but they don’t go an do it and then somebody else comes and gets your idea. Its better to react on it. You got Roc-A-Fella and you got this and that, but as a man thinking so shall it be done, you know what I’m saying? We thought about it and we’re like, "Let’s do it." There are many meaning so Theodore like "the open door." And we just go in. The mind is infinite. If you can think it, let’s do it.
AllHipHop.com: You recently did a show at Roseland in New York with Talib and Slick Rick. Rakim obviously didn’t make it because he was arrested.
Ghostface: I’m an old school emcee so I like a lot of the rap that was from back in the late 80’s, Chubb Rock and all that. I feel that those where the Golden Days of Hip-Hop as opposed to what it is today. Talib, as a conscious rapper, understands the same thing I understand. It was a blessing to even be on the same stage as [rappers like Slick Rick and Rakim]. "No tricks in ’86 [Rakim lyric]."
AllHipHop.com: What else?
Ghostface: I’m here to grow and keep it moving in life. Support my family and take it to the top. A lot of things I can’t really tap into, because I don’t talk about things before it happens, because when I speak on something it don’t even happen.
AllHipHop.com: You don’t want to jinx it?
Ghostface: Exactly. I keep my mouth shut.
AllHipHop.com: Where do you want to be in five years.
Ghostface: Just doing big things, but first I would want to be in good health. I would want to build a big mosque for the Father. I want to be somewhere with all my family - everybody on one big piece of land. Somewhere I can sit by the water and just write.
Written by Amanda Diva for AllHipHop.com