Earlier this week, XXL sat down with the Wu-Tang Clan to talk about their new label deal with Warner Bros. Records and their upcoming sixth group album A Better TOmorrow. During our exclusive conversation with an introspective Ghostface Killah, however, Tony Starks reflected on the evening of March 8, 1997, when he ran into Notorious B.I.G. on the Sunset Strip, one night before Biggie was gunned down in front of the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

The context for the interaction goes deeper, of course—while Big was alive, both he and Raekwon beefed with the Bad Boy MC, accusing him of biting their rhymes, flows and styles and tossing subliminals at him on Raekwon's solo debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... All of which makes Ghost's interaction with Biggie the night before he died all the more significant. What follows is Ghostface's recollection of that night.

Ghostface Killah: Before Biggie died I wanted to work with him and shit. I shook his hand out here [in L.A.]. I shook his hand. Me and him, because I had said a little something on Raekwon’s Cuban Link album. Remember, we was 25, buggin’ out. Wild. But as time went on, you know, because it really wasn’t no beef, just something I said or whatever whatever. But I wanted to hook up with him and tell him, like, “Part of me, whatever whatever whatever whatever B,” 'cause I liked him. I liked B.I.G. It’s just that we was coming in wild so a lot of things that I say was out there, like, “Oh shit you talkin’ about B.I.G." I wanted to just be like, “Yo, let’s clear the air and let’s go ahead and just do a joint.”

So I walked to one of these spots in L.A. I think it might have been the Roxy or whatever. I think Brandy might have been performing, or one of these females. So he happened to be in there and everybody was leaving. He was still there and I seen him. So the crew walked in and slapped him five [and] when it got to my turn I shook his hand. We just said, “What’s up,” and that was it. But we seen each other prior to that mad times but nobody ever said nothin’. But I wanted to really pull him to the side and to be like, “You know what let’s...”

The next day... They got to him. They got to him. They got to him. And I was more hurt over his death than Tupac’s death because it just felt like, we’re from the same city and... I don’t know. Maybe because I didn’t see 'Pac that much or whatever the case may be, or get to hear a lot of his music like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love his music, but I wasn’t hearing it like B.I.G. And Meth did the song with Biggie.

It was just a lot of shit, but it hurt me though. It hurt me like, “Oh shit.” I was mad, too. I was mad. I was really really upset the way it happened and all that. And we was out here on the West Coast and we stayed here for another like three weeks to a month. And a lot of West Coast [people] was like, “Yo, what y’all doing out here? It’s deep out here.” We’re like, “Yo, we good, man. We aight.” Or shit like that or whatever the case may be. But yeah, it was serious, though. —As told to Jake Rohn

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