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   » Ghostface Killah Biography

   » Ghostface Killah Beefs

   » Official Site:  Ghostface at DefJam.com
   » Related Artists:  Method Man, Biggie Smalls


  Ghostface Killah, aka Ghostface, Tony Starks, Ironman, was born Denis Coles, May 9, 1970, Staten Island, New York. He is a former follower of the 5% and now is a recent convert to Sunni Islam. Aswell as been a successful solo rapper he is also a member of the smash hit hip-hop collective, Wu-Tang Clan. His name is derived from the alias of the primary villain from the film Ninja Checkmate (aka The Mystery of Chess Boxing). After Wu-Tang Clan achieved breakthrough commercial success in the early 1990s, Ghostface, like his fellow clan members, began a solo career, which turned out to be one of the most critically and commercially successful solo careers of all the group members. Early in his career he would wear a mask during performances and photoshoots. It was rumoured this was because Ghostface was wanted by the police and did not publicly remove it until his name was cleared.

 Ghostface Killah debuted on the opening verse of "Bring da Ruckus", the first track from the Wu-Tang Clan's critically acclaimed debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) released in 1993. In 1995, Ghostface played a significant role on fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon's, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, and contributed songs to the soundtracks to the movies "Sunset Park" and "Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood". Ghostface & Raekwon subliminally dissed The Notorious B.I.G. in several songs, most notably on 'Only Built 4 Cuban Linx' "Shark Niggaz (Biters)" skit, where the pair make angry reference to use of Nas' cover art aesthetics (a portrait of the artist as a young child or infant). Nas refers to this episode in his song "Last Real Nigga Alive" (on God's Son), where he confirms the tensions between Raekwon, Ghost and the Notorious B.I.G., stating: "...that's when Ghostface said it on 'The Purple Tape'/Bad Boy biting Nas album cover, wait...". Raekwon says "To top it all off, beef with White (Frank White - Biggie's alias)/pullin' bleach out, tryna throw it in my eyesight". Biggie then responds on "Kick in the Door" by saying "Fuck that, why try? Throw bleach in your eye"). Biggie later claimed he was a huge fan of Wu Tang, did a song with Method Man & Rza on his debut album, and performed live with ODB. [ Click here to read about all off Ghostface Killah's beefs, including beefs with Ma$e, Notorious BIG and 50 Cent ]

 Ghostface's first solo LP was 'Ironman' released on October 29, 1996, and like all Wu-Tang projects, it was produced by RZA and was very successful in the large hip-hop and rap underground scene. The album was a hit and debuted at #2 on the pop charts. It had more of a pronounced soul influence (particularly 1970s soul) than previous Wu-Tang solo releases, and Ghostface's future albums would continue this stylistic trait. The album has since been certified as Platinum. Ironman was also the first album to be released on Razor Sharp Records, RZA's record label on Epic Records.

 After badmouthing Wu-Tang at a concert, Bad Boy recording artist Mase had a run-in with Ghostface and his entourage at a club in New York City. There was some sort of physical altercation between Mase's and Ghostface's camps, and Mase left the incident with a broken jaw. Kanye West is among the rappers who have made reference to the incident, on his song "Through The Wire" "...If you could feel how my face felt// You would know how Mase felt". [ Click here to read about all off Ghostface Killah's beefs ]

 Ghostface became well-known for both his hard and uptempo, seemingly indecipherable stream-of-consciousness raps and later in his career, for his emotionally charged delivery. Work with the Wu-Tang and their various members kept Ghostface Killah busy until solo singles started appearing at the end of 1999 followed by his own sophomore set, 'Supreme Clientele' released on January 25, 2000. The album was critically acclaimed by both mainstream critics and hip hop enthusiasts making Ghostface a respected solo artist. "Cherchez LaGhost", a single off the album, became a minor club hit, and the sentimental "Child's Play" brought Ghostface numerous comparisons with Slick Rick.

 Ghostface had a non publicized feud with 50 Cent in the late 90s and early 2000s. In 50 Cent's record "How To Rob" insults were aimed at high-profile rappers including Wu-Tang, and during an extended spoken-word "adlib" at the end of a radio freestyle. A skit referred to as "Clyde Smith" on Supreme Clientele (2000) features a low-pitched recording of what most fans believe to be Raekwon's voice derisively making reference to 50 Cent's behavior and methods of attracting media attention to himself through publicized "beef" feuds with other rappers. There have been rumors of altercations between Ghostface and 50 Cent, however none have been proven to be 100% true. One of which describes 50 Cent been thrown down a flight of stairs by Ghostface Killah. In the early 2000s, 50 Cent had a short freestyle dissing Wu Tang Clan and at the end of the tape criticized their use of the term "god." After 50 Cent rose to fame, both he and Ghostface talked in interviews about the supposed beef, both saying that nothing major happened. [ Click here to read about all off Ghostface Killah's beefs ]

 Ghostface wasted little time in recording his next album, the heavily R&B-influenced; 'Bulletproof Wallets' which was released a year after his previous effort 'Supreme Clientele' on November 13, 2001. He had another minor club hit with "Flowers" (meaning rappers, people who "flow" lyrically, rather than a reference to plants) which featured guest vocals from fellow Wu-Tang members Method Man and Raekwon. But overall the album didn't sell well and had Ghostface and Wu-Tang fans declaring the Ironman had gone soft.

 Once again it was back to the Wu for a couple years before the rapper would be appearing solo again. Epic issued the compilation 'Shaolin's Finest' in April of 2003, and by the end of the year two new Ghostface tracks had started to appear on mixtapes. The chaotic "Run" with Jadakiss and the more commercial "Tush" with Missy Elliott raised the anticipation for the rapper's first album for Def Jam and his first under the simpler moniker Ghostface.

 In April of 2004 that album was released in the form of 'The Pretty Toney Album' it featured the collaborations with Missy Elliott and Jadakiss. These tracks "Tush" and "Run", were two singles taken from 'The Pretty Toney Album', achieved moderate success in the clubs and the charts. The album was named 9th Best Album of the Year on Pitchfork Media's end of the year list [click here to see the list]. Ghostface also appeared on the track "On My Knees" by UK R&B; group 'The 411' which became a hit in the UK and Australia. He then released an album titled '718' with a group of his proteges, 'Theodore Unit'. In November 2005, along with 'Trife Da God' they released the joint project "Put It On The Line".

 Ghostface dissed Atlanta group D4L during his 2005 tour. Ghost would mock the "snap dance" while Laffy Taffy was played by his DJ. However, Ghost failed to do the routine when he performed at the Roxy Theater in Atlanta, Georgia (D4L's hometown). D4L will not respond saying they have too much respect for Ghostface and listen to songs by him and Raekwon for inspiration. [ Click here to read about all off Ghostface Killah's beefs ]

 In 2006, Ghostface teamed up with underground favorite 'MF DOOM' for a collaborative release entitled 'Swift and Changeable'. MF DOOM also produced several songs for Ghostface's 2006 album 'Fishscale', released under his original moniker "Ghostface Killah". The album debuted strongly, in the #4 position on the US Billboard 200 and at #2 on the R&B; Charts: the rapper's most auspicious chart showing since the heyday of the Wu-Tang Clan and the release of his solo debut. Fishscale was voted by numerous hip hop magazines as the best album of the year. The album contains many collaborations with Theodore Unit and the Wu-Tang Clan members, however, the album contains only one Wu-Tang in-house beat, which is by Ghostface himself, making it Ghostface's first RZA-production free album (though the RZA appears on "9 Milli Bros." with the Clan as a whole). Ghostface also embarked on a limited-date tour of U.S. venues in support of the album, performing several of his concerts together with most members of the Wu-Tang Clan.

 Fishscale boasted the single "Back Like That" which reached #39 on the US hip-hop charts and was alos a hit in the UK. Upon release, the album received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. Many cited Ghost's near-surgical wordplay and frantic yet careful flows as being in top form on the album. Much acclaim was also directed towards the variety of topics Ghost addresses, from grand crime dramas based on the lives of drug kingpins (as in "Kilo"), to the frantic lives of street hustlers ("Shakey Dog"), childhood ("Whip You With a Strap"), love ("Back Like That", "Jellyfish"), and pure surreality ("Underwater"). The album also ventures into genre exercises, approximating a club banger with "Be Easy" and battle rhymes with "The Champ." Critics also cited the album's heavy reliance on soul samples, and Ghost's comfort in their context, as a great strength. Production credits include the late J Dilla, MF DOOM, and Pete Rock among others. Finally, many thought the guest spots on the album, particularly from long-term collaborator Raekwon, gave the album a stirring chemistry.

 As with all of the acclaimed Wu-Tang solo releases, Fishscale renewed enthusiasm for other future Wu projects, including the upcoming albums from Raekwon, Masta Killa, and Method Man.

 In late 2006, Ghostface branched away from hip hop as he opened an online-poker room, GFK Poker (Ghostface Killah Poker), and produced his own Ghostface Killah Doll/Action Figure.

 But straight after he was back on the hip-hop scene with his sixth solo album 'More Fish', released through the Def Jam label on December 12, 2006 only a few months after his previous hit album 'Fishcale', with this album's name deriving from that earlier 2006 release. The track "Good", featuring Ghostface's fellow Theodore Unit member Trife Da God and Mr. Maygreen, and produced by Kool-Aid & Peanut, will be the first single. The album's opening track, "Ghost is Back", is a remake of the Eric B. & Rakim single "Know the Ledge". It contains one track, "Josephine," which was originally featured on Hi-Tek's Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip, but all other tracks are made of previously unreleased material.

 The album features several appearances from the members of Theodore Unit (Cappadonna, Shawn Wigs, Trife Da God and Ghostface's teenage son, Sun God), as well as from Redman, Sheek Louch, Killa Sin, Kanye West and singers Amy Winehouse, Eamon, Ne-Yo and Mr. Maygreen. Production comes from Jim Bond, Hi-Tek, Kool-Aid & Peanut, Madlib, MF DOOM, Mark Ronson, Xtreme, Fantom of the Beats, and Ghostface himself.


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