Killin' it: Ghostface at Nectar's
He has a way with words. Ghostface Killah has just finished explaining how making records is like having sex. "Know what I mean?" asks the hugely successful 39-year-old Staten Island rapper. Every point he makes is expressed in a riff of abstract profanity. His meaning is clear: music sometimes is love; sometimes it's just sex. "That's how it's been all my life with music," he says, and then he's silent for several seconds.
Ghostface Killah, a member of the seminal hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan and a driven solo artist, is on tour with Redman and Method Man, and about to make an appearance to a sold-out crowd at Nectar's.
The night before the show, against a raucous background of laughter and hip-hop music coming from his tour van, Ghostface takes the phone.
What would he be doing if he weren't who he is?
"I'd probably be out there, feeding the poor people, taking care of poor babies in different parts of the world and all that. Giving lots of sacrifice to God, and that's it. There ain't nothing else for me to do after that."
Born Dennis Coles, Ghostface has maintained the most consistent solo career of any member of the Clan. Since his 1996 debut "Iron Man," he's released several critically acclaimed records, including "Supreme Clientele" and "Fish Scale." He's currently at work on an R&B-inspired album called "The Wizard of Poetry."
Although the delivery is different - slower and more thoughtful - his conversation comes across much like his lyrics.
Ghostface's lyrics are delivered like someone telling a story while simultaneously running from the cops - his breathless, stream-of-consciousness style is his unique art. Drugs are his thematic home base, and the violence, poverty, and crime that surround that world make up the bulk of his output. He also frequently addresses his faith in God.