RZA Reflects on Ghostface Killah’s Ironman 15 Years Later

On October 29, 1996, Ghostface Killah dropped his debut LP and the only album of his to ever got platinum, Ironman. On the anniversary of its release, XXLMag.com spoke with The RZA, Ghostface’s Wu-Tang leader and the producer behind the disc, to reflect on the project, 15 years later.

“Iron Man was the first album that we recorded outside of my studio. That    was the first album after the second flood [in my home studio]. The second flood disabled my studio, so we had to go and rent a studio called Mystic Studio on Staten Island. The beautiful thing about recording that album though, being that we wasn’t in my studio, it was the album we made with studio ‘sabotagry’ happening. What I mean by that, on all the other Wu albums, 36 Chambers, Tical, Return to the 36, Cuban Linx, Liquid Swords, it was mostly no girls allowed in the studio.  I was real strict about that. But when we did Iron Man that’s when I let down my guard and it was just crazy yo. Crazy stories.

“To me it took away focus, but on Iron Man that was the first time we allowed the female presence and I think from there we went crazy. We got more used to working outside our own environment, like going to other places, terrorizing other studios, breaking in shit and all that shit. But it was a fun album.

“One of my favorite songs was “Assassination.” I remember not going to sleep for like three days working on that song because I bought a slide guitar that I didn’t know how to play. And you hear that sound [makes slide guitar sound] one of them old country slide guitars, me trying to play it and sampling my own playing. Eventually I got something out that motherfucker and that song to me is still one of those raw ass Wu Tang song, its just hard lyrics, obscure beat, know what I mean and the weirdest fucking hook.” —As told to Jesse Gissen

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  • Brand-New

    “Both of us walked in lookin like terrorists….” That was such a great era, the Wu were dropping classic after classic. I can’t believe it’s been 15 years already, making me feel old as shit. I remember buying that day 1 at The Wall.

    • http://www.theonlineaccrediteddegreeprograms.com/ Kevin

      I feel the same way Brand-New. I can’t believe that it’s already been 15 fuckin years, since Tony Starks first solo joint came out.

    • Lilyfoy

      I am a young and beautiful woman from US. i just think here is a good place to meet friends. i just wonder if i can meet a rich daddy here, because i am at the beginning of my career and i need someone’s support..i uploaded my hot photos on —-[Sugarmingle. C óM-]—-under the name babylove , maybe you want to check out my photos firstly!

  • http://www.xxlmag.com hiphoplover

    Hilfiger rugbys, Polo rugbys, Nautica jackets, baggy jeans, Wallabee Clarks, Jerseys, headbands, awwwww man. This was the ear. back then i made my parents spend a lot of money to keep up the fashion game watching these wu-tang cats. Cappadonna used to have crazy Hilfiger shit back then. Damn, those were the days.

  • BangEm

    man i wish i was old enuff in that era. i fucking hate how the rap/hip-hop world is like nowadays. Skinny jeans etc…………man i want them lace-up timbs

  • stain

    one of the greatest years in hip hop

  • canadasmost

    awww man ironman brings back crazy memories of partying and buck naked chicks man great times . me and my people played that album out in the first week . 260 was my joint on there with the al green sample . rae and ghost on that robbing drug dealers and shit . the good ol days .

  • $yk

    ‘Assassination Day’ had that guitar riff…Rza had the ill verse for that too…

    just going to take the time and state that this album is the true definition of a CLASSIC…something still appealing to the masses 15 YEARS later…not something just out 15 MINUTES OR 15 DAYS…some of y’all state it’s classic 15 days BEFORE YOU EVEN HEARD IT…foolishness

  • alderman j


    • ESQ

      I agree, but IRON MAN a classic; #2.

  • Brand-New

    Before the argument of who the best MC is, “Biggie, Jay-Z, or Nas”, my friends and I were arguing what Wu member dropped the better solo album, Gza, Ghost, or Rae. I would change my answer every couple weeks,lol.

  • $yk

    Ghost arguably can be considered to be the only rapper to be on 4 straight classic albums…and one of the few to put out 2 straight solo albums…

    Supreme Clientele

  • Brand-New

    @$yk, yeah i would agree with that, 5 straight classics once you put 36 Chambers in there. The streak ended with Bulletproff Wallets.

    • $yk

      “The streak ended with Bulletproff Wallets”

      ^ word