Ghostface Killah and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB) were both members of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan and made some epic music alongside each other. However, they were not neighbourhood friends or acquaintances. In fact, Ghostface didn’t even know ODB (real name Russell Jones) before they ended up in the same crew.
The iconic Ghostface was one of the first individuals recruited by RZA to join the Clan as it expanded from a mere trio into a nine-piece outfit. Born and raised in Staten Island, Ghostface (real name Dennis Coles) was one of RZA’s buddies and, akin to the producer, was heavily involved in the borough’s underground hip-hop scene.
Both Coles and RZA (real name Robert Diggs) were residents of the Stapleton Houses, a housing scheme in the borough’s destitute Stapleton neighbourhood. As such, they formed a close friendship over the years and were already familiar with each other before the Wu-Tang Clan assembled. However, Jones was not tight with ODB. RZA’s Brooklyn-born cousin.
In a 2022 interview with the Drink Champs podcast alongside Raekwon, Ghostface Killah recalled when he first met Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Speaking with the hosts, rapper Noreaga and DJ EFN, Ghostface recounted how it was a strange encounter yet monumental at the same time. Elaborating on their first exchange, he explained how he was with RZA when they first met. Having arranged to all meet at Diggs’ house in Staten Island, Coles recollected, “I met him with RZA, I’m eating ‘The Hero’ pastrami and cheese sh*t, hot and all that sh*t! First day I meet him, the n*gga said to me, ‘Yo god, let me get a piece of that?!’
The New York act continued, “Never met..like yo, and it’s RZA’s cousin, so I’m like, ‘Aight, go ahead’…boom, I gave him half of the sh*t, and n*gga ate it before I was eating the piece, and n*gga said, ‘Yo word to babies god that’s the best sandwich I ever had in my life!” The lyricist went on to sing the late rapper’s praises, stating, “He was everything! He gave me my soul! He made me really not give a f*ck about nothing!”