Watch a classic interview with Ghostface from 1996
(Credit: Niklas Hellerstedt)

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Watch a classic interview with Ghostface from 1996

Ghostface Killah often referred to as Ghostface, is an emcee who rose to fame as part of the iconic Wu-Tang Clan. Akin to Raekwon, Method Man and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB), Ghostface was a clan member who successfully launched a solo career while part of the group. While recording solo material, Ghostface remained loyal to the Wu-Tang Clann and had RZA executively produce his debut album to align his sonics with the collective. 

Born Dennis Coles, 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 crew. Growing up in the same housing scheme, Coles’ mother worked long hours and spent minimal time at home. As a result, the rapper spent a lot of time at RZA’s house, which was minutes from his and ended up moving in with him. The two were roommates for several years and were deep in Staten Island’s small but potent hip-hop scene.

Unlike RZA, who was mainly bound to his cousin GZA and ODB’s Brooklyn counterparts, Ghostface knew a slew of people from Staten Island’s Park Hill neighbourhood. Here, Coles would recruit local residents Method Man, U-God, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna and Raekwon. Following this, a few more Brooklyn acts, including Masta Killa and DJ Mathematics, were scouted to form the whole Clan.

In an interview with Crack Magazine, Killah recalled the day the entire Clan gathered in RZA’s basement home studio. “Once we had all the Clan in the studio like that, I looked around thinking ‘, I know ya’ll going to be something one day’. I knew it already, before the music was even out, because I trusted in my brothers. And the way you heard Deck, Rae, Meth, GZA and them niggas spittin’ on shit … it was just like, ‘Oh my god yo, this is it!’ And wasn’t just the rhymers we had there; we had our friends in there, and some of them ain’t even here with us today.”

Having already achieved mainstream success and a degree of renown, in 1996, Coles began recording his debut album with RZA, which he appointed as executive producer. Operating out of Mystic Studios and 36 Chambers Studios in Staten Island. Released on October 29th, 1996, the 17-track project entitled Ironman performed exceptionally well and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200.

In promotion of his album, in 1996, Ghostface did an interview with BET in which he spoke about Wu-Tang’s martial arts aesthetic, spirituality and the sonics of his album. You can watch the rare interview in the video below.