Sincerely Yours


With all due respect to the homie Paul Wall, on the reals, Ghostface has always been, and continues to be, the people’s champ. For 13 years, Wu-Tang’s masked avenger, born Dennis Coles in 1970, has been tickling the fancy of rap fans round the world with his vivid storytelling, unpredictable references and emphatic, even dire, flow. Unfortunately, in order to sell more than a couple hundred thousand units, you gotta enchant more than just rap fans—and that’s something Ghost’s stellar catalog of solo material (’96’s Ironman, 2000’s Supreme Clientele, ’01’s Bulletproof Wallets and ’04’s The Pretty Toney Album) has repeatedly failed to do. In fact, he’s moved fewer units with each release. However, thanks to his loyal core audience, and high regard among his peers, in a situation where a less credible artist would lose their spot on Def Jam’s roster, for Ghost, opportunity abounds. 2006 promises the release of his fifth LP, Fishscale, as well as a still-untitled EP with underground superhero MF Doom—and possibly even the highly anticipated sequel to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, his devoutly revered 1995 collaboration with Wu-Tang rhyme partner Raekwon. (Though Ghost says the latter two projects are both in their infancy.) Ghostface caught up with XXL this winter to discuss his desire to win in ’06, writer’s block and how the Clan will definitely, maybe, reunite for another album. Possibly.

How long did it take you to realize your last album was a bust?
I knew right off the bat. It took but one week. And then we had a couple of niggas that was hating in the Def Jam building. Like my man Kevin Liles [company president at the time].

Really? How was he hating?
It’s like he wouldn’t respect our goals, and it was like he made one smart [comment] about, “I’m not the one who signed you.” [Former Def Jam CEO Lyor Cohen did.] You could read between what niggas be saying and shit. Like, Oh all right, that’s how you really, really feel and shit.

Were you frustrated?
I mean, of course. Who wouldn’t be? You get frustrated because it’s like, Damn, I done took a year and some change out my time just to go ahead to try and build this shit, going through a writer’s block, wasting studio time, smoking weed, forgetting every fuckin’ thing I done fuckin’ wrote down, didn’t know what the fuck to do, too tired to go to the fuckin’ studio, sitting in the studio not doin’ nothing ’cause you can’t think of shit. Like, yo. And for it not to do nothing? You’re muthafuckin’ right, G. You start thinking that it’s you. What am I doing wrong? Am I making the wrong records? No, I can’t be, because it’s like, Yo, a lot of niggas love what I do. So to be going through it four times consecutively… Something just don’t seem right. So, yeah, a nigga was frustrated. Because now it’s like, Damn, you done did that and you sell 68,000 fuckin’ units the first week. You look at your SoundScan like, Come on. What the fuck is this shit?

Are you looking at this new album to boost your career?
[I’m looking at it to] put me back in the game, B! It’s like I’m in the game and shit. But it’s like, you know, I been had a lot of bad luck with record companies. I gave [Sony] like three bombs. They couldn’t do nothing with it. Those three bombs worked out my credibility, where people respect me. I came to Def Jam, gave them a nice album. It made a lot of headlines, but there was nothing behind it. I’m like, What the fuck is going to happen next? I’m already at the bottom of the barrel. I got a lot of talent in me that, maybe, if I was being exposed more, a lot more people would hear my album and feel like, Yo, this nigga write from the heart. It ain’t just something from the brain, trying to make something work. Nah, this nigga took dedication even putting the order together. I’m just here to sell some records and let Hov and LA Reid know like, Yo, I’m still that nigga.

Are things better for you at Def Jam since Jay-Z took over? What’s your relationship with him like?
Me and Hov is… We real cool. He gonna look me at my face and talk to me on some real-nigga-to-real-nigga. Not one nigga taking a thousand phone calls in front of my face, puffing on a big cigar and acting like he hearing me but he ain’t hearing me. There’s no pride there. If I bring my album to him and I be like, Yo, so what you need me to do, son? We are working together to help fix this, to make this something that we can move some units on. Ain’t no, Yo, nigga. I’m my own man. Come on, son. This nigga done run it. I follow in the footsteps of vets, regardless if they younger than me or older than me.

ghostface2.jpg So the new album is called Fishscale. Sounds pretty self-explanatory. Is it a concept record, or is that just a title?
I had to go back a little bit and take these niggas on some real live black shit. You know, moving back in on the cocaine shit, because it seems like nowadays niggas is respecting a lot of that bullshit, that white-white. You know: cold drugs, sex, and money and all that. You know what I mean? That’s what’s moving right now, so I had to go back in on some real Tony Starks shit—paint a few pictures and shit.

Does it frustrate you as an artist to try and cater to the market?

Yeah. You know, the game is funny, because you never know which way to go with these people nowadays. So one minute they like this, next minute, they like that. So you know, trying to keep up with muthafuckas and shit, it’s like, Yo, if you want to go in here, I can go in there and ball on that. So I just said, Fuck it. I’m just gonna go with this Fishscale shit, paint my pictures and keep it moving.

Read the rest of this feature in the May 2006 issue of XXL (#80).

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  • lost soul

    To quote Rza back in da dayz a lot of artist hav made this hip hop game into R&B (Rap and Bullsh-t). I can’t even imagine any Wu member putting out the bs datz out now. So I’m hoping this is on point.

  • mvance

    face is one of the best out there a real dude i hope his album moves units he is one NY rapper that rep his city not that many anymore u got tru life he is a monster / shout out to face


    Man O’ MAN…I wish GHOST gets what he deserves on the business end…we all know he has been the most consistent dude in the WU and hope he gets the commerical success to match the critical and street acclaim

  • jun bug

    i’m a super big fan of ghostface & the wu-clan & i feel that these days instead of playing some real hip-hop these radio airwaves are playing garbage and im tired of listening. i think credit should be giving where its due & the wu-tang clan deserves alot. ps…..looking forward to the next wu-tang album.

  • O.G.

    copped fishscale on the bootleg tip.. shits dope .. definatley goin to get the real CD.. Tony Starks.. Hip-Hop at its finest

  • Jade Star

    I’m seeing these rap cats in a whole different light and I see that some cats are trying to eat so I’m gonna support this cat and if O.G. says its dope then I gotta get up on game.

  • bluerid


  • Joost

    Ghostface is the number one rapper at this moment. No doubt.

  • MG

    Ghost is a Real ass nigga most people sleep on him casue they feel that he’s just another cat froma a group who tryin to go solo but in reality he was wu tang him rea and meth!!!!! that pretty tony shit banged ya’ll slept on that “biscuts” is my shit ghost dont let tha game get u down tell u about these smart dumb niggas open your eyes people iam willing to bet that ghoastface KILLAH has more then likely inspired YOUR favorite rapper!!!!! drop that fishscale fucxk them haters and keep it pushin ghost!

  • Julio C. Olivo II M.A.

    I wish I can say something that will make it back to Ghostface’s ear. If I could, I would just commend that dude for being so consistent. And I would definately thank him for dropping credible albums for the true Hip Hop listener. Ghost, if your eyes gaze this page… Just continue to do what you do. I know you want to hit it big, but if Hip Hop is becoming fabricated, then you need not to roll with it. Forget the money.. Your the definition of a true artist. Just make your albums and listen to us. As we enjoy your music.

    Julio C. Olivo II M.A.

  • QB

    I honestly don’t if I’m the only fan that you have here in Texas, but fuck it if I am. I so wish that I could meet Ghost and tell him to keep fighting the good fight, and that there are people that are and always will be looking for him to drop that classic every year. Fuck the money, fuck mainstream, don’t make music for dumb niggas, and your true fans will always be here for you. Wally Champ!!!

  • A east

    this album is a beast,its a classic in my opinion, yall go cop this ASAP

  • lamont614

    ghostace is wack. im not buyin the album but i did buy that t.i. on tuesday.

  • dagodly1

    If you dont fuck with GFace your a Fag for real. Hottest dude in the game. true story! u must be an 85′er


    YO! What’up XXL,

    GhostFace Killah Has always been my Best Hip Hop Artist & always will be!
    Ghost is one of the main ingredients of what hip hop was, is, and always will be! Theres only one word to describe my mans: LEGENDARY


    Ant Ell

  • mike

    ghostace is wack

  • The God

    Ghost is THE shit. they need to push The God fo real..niggas here in the West love this cat. we need more real brotha in the game like him. im tired of the BS out now


    Ghostface is movin trust! yeh man gon cop dat shit n i kno i spent my doe wisely!!! all u haters eat a dick man……oh n D-BLOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mr. Bigg

    For all you chumps that said Ghostface is wack, I put a mil on him against your favorite rapper. Matter of fact, your favorite rapper is a Ghostface fan and they been bittin’ his & the WU style for years. Try to prove me wrong and you will only prove me right!!! FISHSCALE IS ANOTHER CLASSIC BITCH, BETTA REKONIZE. REAL NIGGA SHIT, FOR NIGGAZ WIT HAIRS ON THEIR NUTZ.

  • jon gordian

    ghostface is the wally champ and always will be. niggas hate because they dont know where he’s coming from. he’s a metaphorical genius whose way ahead of his time and the rap game. theres no rapper out there that can come with a fraction of intensity that this man delivers. if the god is reading this right now, fishcales gonna rock niggas this summer and it’ll be like blue & cream.

  • DC Kid

    The people hating on Ghost are the ones who don’t listen to a track more then once cause they don’t understand what he saying. Half of ya’ll is probably dropouts and could probably get some schooling from this shit. Pick up the album and stop hatin! And recognize a real artist when he right in front of you !!!

  • Tomahocc

    Ghostface has always been on point.I still bang Supreme. Fuc trying to adjust to your surroundings Ghost! Make them adjust to you Homie! All of us out here know what’s up.If you came to Vancouver,you’d sell the fucn’ arena out! I’ve been down wit you since 93′ and nothin’ will change anytime soon!Spit that knowledge Son!Educate these cats like 2nd period.

  • Freddy D

    I had a chance to do an interview with Ghost when he came through Lawrence Kansas a few weeks ago, and I’m gonna put it like this – Ghost is the realest, coolest, dopest cat alive… If you’re a true hip-hop head and you’re not at least respectful of Ghost’s ability, your hip-hop credibility is none… While you’re at it, peep the interview…

    And yes, Fishscale is another Ghost Banga…

  • me

    Yo,if u hatin on ghost u dumb ass nigga. This nigga ghost drop all classics. If all u fuckin fake ass hustlers hustled then u would feel this shit. u little babies dont understand cause yall sick.Ghost will smash even your best rappper. fucku clown ass dunies. ghost paint pics datonly real hustlin niggas seen before if youdont feel him you aint no g u a clown.


    first of all congrat to ghostface on fishscale, definitely a classic(cop this shit)….now these days u got nuttin but whack ass cats like d4l..but Gf, he a certified ol skool nigga …all his albums are class material..kid knows how to spit.thank you gf for another classic and keep on bangin ur shit and know that no matter wat album u drop, its definite a SUPREME

  • jon gordian

    ghost face killaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh no cant get illah!!!!! rest in peace OLD DIRTY BASTARD you were a real nigga, “thats my word!”

  • rellmo84

    wut up people. Im born and raised in the south i im a str8 up ghostface fan but its kinda fucked up that he got so much hate for d4l.Ill b the first one 2 say that aint the most lyrical shit in the world but they getn they money. all these ny niggaz wlakin around wit these shirts that say im not a rapper im a hustla that can rhyme wut u think they doin? Man its really on some cry baby shit that all yall ny niggaz is so salty cause we smashin right now. Be eazy

  • stillmatik

    it’s unfortunate that a lot of the hip hop audience isn’t showin love to the Ghost. people are so fascinated with all that whack ass shit where a chorus is easy to remember. i’m from chicago and i’m a fan of everything from the west, east, dirty south, and midwest. but give respect where respect is due, wu-tang lives forever. keep doin you Ghost, no need to follow the bullshit trend that everyone else is following these days.

  • Mozeek789

    Ghost will always be fly. He could
    be 50 years old rappin’; I’d still buy
    his shit.

  • $$G-MONEY$$

    Yo I’m a huge Ghost fan but he kinda sold himself out in the article. He hinted that he be on some follwer type shit but at the same time said he helped invent shit. I got all his dolo joints and it goes witout saying he 1 of the best to ever touch a mic, but he help invent this shit, how bout uppin’ the whole game and making the industry follow you. His joints been underrated, and you gotta get sales, but fuck sales he gotta set himself apart, do him and make the industry follow him.

  • mvance

    ghost is a real nigga cats need to wake up he spits fire he is a champ no one has nothing bad to say about ghost cause he is a stand up dude go buy the album it’s time for real cats to see that num#1 spot

  • syed

    yo peeps im an aspisrin rapper, ima a post sum lyrics so holla bk want ur response

    Cop da coup wid da roof gone n switch plates, was born 2 get cake, call it fate, I no ur type u pre ejaculate ur too eager mate 6 2 da hed will make u levitate, ur bate g written ova u like a gucchi handbag one word ma bois will push ur head back. Im 4rm da manor, where u can get gunned down 4 less den a benna, cudve been a docter, ended up a shotter, I thought quick money easy life, all 4 a coupla pairs of air max 95, kicked da books 2 move packs, cooked da crack in ma mums flat, saran wrap. Mum cudnt stand that kicked me out told me don’t come back, cant say I wasn’t upset, week later she got shot I was a suspect, found da nigga who done it, shots 2 da hed gave him a closed casket, with ma mum gone had 2 provide 4 ma lil brother, didn’t want him 2 get up 2 no bother, told him education is da key 2 da future, felt like a hypocrite, he asked me y I quit, school, saw me smash a nigga hed against the wall, das when he realised is bro was a criminal.

  • dala

    yeah every member of Wu are great

  • Daniel

    Ghostface Killah profile : Ghostface Killah

  • kingxkoopa

    yo, on the real, any motha fucka talkin some whack shit on the gfk need to kill themselves. ghost is number 1. wu-tang is number 1. been that way for years and it aint gonna change. WORD IS BOND

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