Dennis Coles, AKA Ghostface Killah, is one of the most influential and well-respected rappers of all time. A genius wordsmith, with a penchant for vivid imagery, alongside the other members of Wu-Tang Clan, such as RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, he helped to popularise the East Coast and hardcore styles of hip-hop. Without his input, rap today would look very different.
Famously, after the group gained colossal success with their 1993 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), each of the members of the group went on to pursue various solo projects, to varying degrees of success. As for Ghostface, he was one of the more successful ones. He debuted with Ironman in 1996, which was lauded by critics ad fans alike.
Ever since he’s continued to enjoy success. He’s released some of the most coveted rap records of this millennium, including 2000’s Supreme Clientele and 2006’s Fishscale. These days, he is something akin to a god of rap. He’s seen and done it all, and his style of vocal delivery is something that many budding rappers aspire to replicate. He’s known for his fast-paced flow, which is topped off by his emotive stream-of-consciousness narratives, including the heavy use of surreal slang and non-sequiturs.
Given that he is so well-respected, fans have always wanted to know what Ghostface thinks is his best verse in Wu-Tang Clan, as the work he’s done with the group is legendary, and there are many contenders for the top spot. With many to choose from, his choice may come as a surprise. During a 2014 interview with 247HH, he revealed all.
He chose ‘Impossible’ from 1997’s Wu-Tang Forever. A fan favourite, it has long been hailed as one of his finest moments, where his stream-of-consciousness style and vivid imagery really hit new levels of quality.
He said: “The best Wu-Tang verse is ‘Impossible’. I did ‘Impossible’ on Wu-Tang Forever ‘coz it was serious, it was serious, and it was like a story that went on. When I was like, ‘Call an ambulance, Jamie been shot’, the beat was so theatrical it was like ‘oh’. You know? I’m just going with the strings on it, and the girl is singing, ‘Impossible’, and it just starts going up. That’s the first time I really started like, like. The way I spilt it. The way I spilt it out on it. I think I might have got rhyme of the year with that verse right there. My mind, my pen, was just going off like crazy.”
He continued: “When I hear it now, ‘coz I only listen to, like, my records and all the other stuff like that, so when I hear it now, it sounds so chunky, you know what I mean? It’s almost scary; you know what I’m saying? So, it touches me, I like things that touch me. When I hear that, I could catch a chill. ‘Coz it’s just like you can see everything just going, the lady, holding her breast with the gown on, holding her son.”
After reciting a portion of the verse, Ghostface concluded: “It was very descriptive from the beginning. All the way down, it was like a flick, and it was just going through moments like ‘holy shit'”.
An absolute masterclass in verse writing, it’s a shame ‘Impossible’ isn’t more respected in the mainstream, as Ghostface‘s work on it is nothing short of genius.
Watch Ghostface Killah discuss ‘Impossible’ below.