Ghostface Killah is a brilliant storyteller and lyricist, the only Wu-Tang Clan member still making relevant solo albums and a prolific, increasingly media-savvy artist who nonetheless seems to constantly shoot himself in the foot commercially.
He's also a crybaby.
Recently, word got out that Wu-Tang would release its first album in six years, 8 Diagrams, on December 4. This happened to coincide with the date Ghost had set for his new album, The Big Doe Rehab.
So, like any sixth grader who didn't get the front seat despite clearly having called "shotgun," he threw a hissy fit. "I had December 4 for the longest," he told MTV.com in October. "They trying to f--- around and make me push my album back and doing all this. But n---as ain't f---ing around or give us money when we did them Wu-Tang tours. The first one, they paid us after a while, but this last one, n---as is holding onto a lot of money." (Censorship MTV's.)
The hierarchy Ghost refers to appears to include RZA and Steve Rifkind, president of Wu's current label, SRC Records. Ghost's disenchantment apparently extends to 8 Diagrams itself, rumored to include little of his input. Like a football coach coddling a bratty star player, RZA quickly capitulated after the MTV.com interview and pushed Wu's album back a week.
But one wonders: Is Ghost really upset about finances? If so, why does he make so many bogus career moves?
Why, for instance, release The Big Doe Rehab in the midst of one of the most jam-packed fourth quarters in rap history? Besides Wu, no less than Nas, Jay-Z, Nelly, Lupe Fiasco, Styles P, Saigon and Lil Wayne all have CDs slated to drop within a month of Ghost's.
Ghost's impatience has harmed him before; sales of 2006's Fishscale were likely cannibalized by the release of More Fish eight and a half months later. (And vice versa.) Whereas Fishscale was a tour de force focused on the cocaine trade, More Fish was a lackluster effort, containing a song in which he claims the script to the movie Ray was jacked from him, an ode to Texas Hold 'Em, a track he's not even on sung by Eamon (the "Fuck It" guy) and a recycled MF Doom beat.
Furthermore, Ghost seems to have no interest in writing a radio-friendly song, shunning the rappers/crooners of the moment (T-Pain, Akon, JT, etc.) on his studio albums in favor of his own weed carriers (Trife Da God, Cappadonna) and Wu-Tang cronies.
None of this is a bad thing, and backpackers, comic book fans and indie rockers worldwide love him for just being him. In fact, he is appealing directly to his base by releasing a new book of MTV2-inspired musings, The World According to Pretty Toney, and starring in the Jon Favreau-directed Iron Man, due out next year.
Ghost's business decisions are senseless, his temper tantrums pointless and his materialism seems disingenuous. But as for the artist entwined in all that, one hopes Ghostface Killah will never change.
Cherchez les Femmes
Sunday night, Kelly Clarkson and Tori Amos will perform a football field or so apart from each other, Clarkson at the Verizon Wireless Theater and Amos at Jones Hall. Besides enjoying considerable critical and commercial success, both women have legitimate claims to the title of pops reigning drama queen (non-Britney division), so the Press put together this handy chart to help tell them apart. Chris Gray
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