How Ghostface Killah responded to his near-fatal shooting
(Credit: Niklas Hellerstedt)

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How Ghostface Killah responded to his near-fatal shooting

Ghostface Killah was integral to the Wu-Tang Clan movement in the 1990s and rose to fame alongside his counterparts, such as RZA Method Man and Raekwon, from the projects of Staten Island.

Ghostface was raised in the Stapleton Houses of Staten Island and was one of the first people that RZA drafted into the Clan after the original three members (RZA, GZA and ODB) decided to transform the trio into a larger, more formidable nine-member crew.

The emcee (real name Dennis Coles) was a significant contributor to the collective’s debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and is widely considered a New York legend. As a solo artist and Clan member, Coles has released an unfathomable amount of music.

However, before the Wu-Tang Clan’s big breakout with ‘Protect Ya Neck’ in 1993, Ghostface Killah faced a serious set of circumstances that nearly led him to death’s door. Akin to many rappers prior to his mainstream success, Coles was in the streets and, as a result, was shot in the neck and arm.

It is alleged that Coles attempted to rob a valet of $3,000 while the collective was living in Steubenville, Ohio. RZA’s family moved to the town from Staten Island in the early 1990s and were allegedly involved in drug dealing around the area. 

Although Coles was the only member of the crew that got shot, members, including Cappadonna and Inspectah Deck, did stints in jail while the crew operated from the Midwest state. RZA’s brother even went to prison, and the producer himself was taken to court after getting charged with felonious assault. However, the mess ended up with an acquittal in 1992. 

 For obvious reasons, Coles hasn’t spoken much about the incident since his rise to fame. However, the emcee did address the shooting on songs like ‘Striving For Perfection’ and ‘Can It All Be So Simple (Remix)’, which both feature on Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.

On ‘Striving For Protection’ Ghostface Killah raps, “When I got shot at, man, my mom’s windows got shot the fuck up, man / Yo, God, my baby’s in here, God, see, I gotta take the time, man / And raise my family, man.”

Then, on the ‘Can It All Be So Simple (Remix)’, he rhymes, “I doze off, catch a flashback on how I got trapped / And got licked like Papsy in a mob flick, I got hit / Stumbling, holding my neck to the God’s rest / Opened flesh, burgundy blood coloured my Guess / Emergency trauma, black teen headed for surgery / Can it be an out of state nigga tried to murder me?”

Fans of Killah and the Wu-Tang Clan are thankful that Ghost didn’t get a visit from the Grim Reaper in Ohio, as they wouldn’t have had excellent albums such as Supreme Clientele or Ironman.

You can listen to the  ‘Can It All Be So Simple (Remix)’ below.