S5 E46 | Ghostface Killah & Raekwon
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and Raekwon to talk about their careers, legendary projects, and more.
As members of the Staten Island, New York collective; they became one of the biggest hip hop groups in history after releasing their debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) in 1993. The project went triple platinum and is credited as one of the seminal projects in the ‘90s East Coast Renaissance. After releasing a string of albums over a decade, the group helped launched the careers of a bevy of affiliated artists and paved the way for other hip hop power groups to emerge.
After achieving success, many Wu members also became solo stars and released their own successful projects. In 1995, Raekwon released the critically acclaimed album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, which pioneered mafioso rap and is considered by rap fans as one of the greatest hip hop albums ever released. Ghostface followed up in 1996 when he released his solo debut Ironman, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It was also certified platinum and is his best-selling album to date. Over the years, both artists have continued to build on their discography and have become global hip hop icons.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Ghostface and Raekwon episode. Check them out below.
1. Ghostface on Action Bronson
Since Action Bronson’s arrived in the game, he’s always received comparisons to Ghostface. In 2015, Bronson appeared on ESPN’s “SportsNation” and took a few shots at the Ironman rapper. Shortly thereafter, Ghostface fired back in a YouTube video. On “Drink Champs,” the Wu-Tang MC talked about his issues with Bronson and explained that despite their discrepancies in the past, he would show him love if he saw him. “I don’t even know what pushed him to go over there like that,” he said. “I respect him for what he does as a man and a person, and sometimes we make mistakes. Even if I saw him today, I [would] dap him and show him some love.”
2. Ghostface and Raekwon on Doing Another Verzuz Battle
Earlier this year, Ghostface and Raekwon went against each other in a Verzuz battle. During the interview, N.O.R.E. asked the Wu alums who they would like to go up against if they were awarded the opportunity to do it again and both rappers agreed that they wanted to take on The LOX. “I really love The LOX,” Raekwon said. “Them niggas is like us. We love them in real life.”
“The LOX would make me go write,” Ghostface said. “I don’t get inspired by rap no more. Maybe because I’m not really hearing it go off like that.”
3. Ghostface and Raekwon on The Notorious B.I.G.
Wu-Tang blew up during rap’s golden age and at the same time, The Notorious B.I.G. was another major figure in hip hop that hailed from New York. Both Raekwon and Ghostface indirectly took shots at the Bed-Stuy native on the OB4CL skit “Shark Niggas,” and they accused the Brooklyn rapper of stealing the idea to use a baby on his album cover from Nas. Ghostface explained that after a while, he put his issues with B.I.G. behind him and remembered speaking to him in a L.A. club right before he was killed. “I was done with all that shit,” Ghostface said. “I wanted to make peace like let’s go in the booth and let’s go do something. We [saw] him and gave him dap. Then, I hear that they murdered him the next day. That shit hurt me. I loved Pac too, but B.I.G.’s shit just hit home more.”
Raekwon explained that their issues with the Bad Boy rapper were trivial and said that they were just defending Nas when they recorded the infamous skit. “We had a relationship with Queens niggas,” he said. “Me and Nas, we go back. He loved us, we loved him. Around that time, when B.I.G. came with the album, it just snapped into our minds like, yo my nigga did that. So, really, we was just rooting for our nigga.”
4. Raekwon on 2Pac
Midway through the interview, the conversation shifted to 2Pac and N.O.R.E. discussed how 2pac was so beloved by the West Coast even though he was born in New York. Raekwon explained that he believes that Pac’s love for the West Coast grew out of his loyalty to Suge Knight. Additionally, he explained that he believes the infamous Quad Studios incident also played a factor. “The nigga Suge came and got him out of jail,” he said. “He went loyal after that. To me, Pac just always represented a real nigga’s tale. He got hurt. Niggas shot him in the face. It’s like if you come into a situation and you get hurt, that can turn us into enemies. I know Pac loved B.I.G. and I know B.I.G. loved Pac. It’s almost like those two are martyrs.”
5. Raekwon on Ol’ Dirty Bastard
All of Wu’s members brought a unique style to the table, but Ol’ Dirty Bastard may have arguably had the biggest personality. On “Drink Champs,” Raekwon reflected on his friendship with the late rapper and said OBD always loved to put a smile on people’s faces. “Dirty was courageous,” Raekwon said. “He was everything. A lot of times, I always took it as he loved to entertain people. If he knew he could make you laugh, he would make you laugh all the time.”
6. Raekwon on the “Triumph” Music Video
Wu’s track “Triumph” is the only track that features all its members, so it was only right that the video had to be big. With a budget cashing in at just under $1 million, it was one of the most expensive hip hop videos made at the time. Raekwon said that the visual was a product of his and RZA’s imagination, and they had to go all out because music videos were a big deal in the ‘90s. “We didn’t look it at like a million-dollar video,” Raekwon said. “We had a million-dollar thought. That was around the time when videos were serious. The way the song sounded, me and RZA was thinking of some other shit. We just had all these visions and shit.”
7. Ghostface on the Ironman Album
Ironman was Ghostface’s debut solo album and although it’s been lauded by critics and hip hop fans alike over the years, the rapper revealed on “Drink Champs” that the album isn’t his favorite project out of his discography. “At that time, I had just found out that I was diabetic,” he said. “I was in a bad place at that time. Ironman is super dark. Spiritually, I wasn’t really there. My pen game wasn’t really where I wanted it to be. To this day, that’s my first joint but I don’t really feel it like that. It’s not in my soul.”
8. Ghostface on Being Involved in a Shootout While with the Delfonics
Ghostface scored a collaboration with ‘70s soul group the Delfonics for the track “After the Smoke is Clear,” which appeared on Ironman. The rapper revealed that around the time they were recording the track, he was involved in a shootout while the members of the group were with him in the car. “I got the Delfonics in a shootout with me in Staten Island,” he said. By the time we got to the elevator, I had to say sorry to these niggas. I just felt so fucking bad. Remember these are old men now.”
9. Raekwon on Making Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Raekwon’s debut solo album, OB4CL, commonly referred to as the “Purple Tape,” is often considered a hip hop classic. On “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. asked the rapper what he remembered about making it and Raekwon explained that while it was fun putting it together, he knew that he really had to deliver at the end of the day. “All eyes was on me,” Raekwon said. “I was leading the ship. It was fun just getting it in because we was young. But I know it was a serious time making that album back in ‘95.”