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In this edition: Yo, Ghost. Waddup with this?
so I am a follower of your blog and really glad your back on Gawker on the weekends! I thought you would appreciate this story:
I'm finishing up a masters in London and since my MA project is due in about a month I don't get to go out as much as I'd like because I am always so swamped with work. But a couple of days ago I saw that Ghostface was playing. My Dad's entire family, post-slavery, was born on Staten Island and I have fond memories of Wu-Day, and just the genius that was Wu-Tang clan. So I decided to pay my 25 pounds, that I don't really need to be spending in the first place, and go see one of my Hip Hop heroes.
I ran from South East London to South West to grab my girl Kyla (my Essex soul sister) and then we headed clear across the capital. Thought we were late but when we got there a friend of mine DJ Snuff was still playing and UK MC Kingpin had the unenviable task of keeping the crowd from throwing things while waiting for technicians to sort the decks and mics before Ghostface came out. Thank God I witnessed Snuff and Kingpin as they were the highlights of the night.
So after about 25 minutes Ghost finally arrives and it.is.amazing. Hes doing all the tracks you want to hear, an ODB tribute and of course Wu staples. The crowd is going nuts there is literally a metal style mosh pit in the middle.
And then after about 25 minutes of playing something terrible happened. It was as if he just got...bored? He brings up two would-be future MC's which is annoying but as a fan of Hip Hop for my entire natural life you come to expect these things. But then after earlier praising the crowd for loving "real" Hip Hop he brings up a bunch of chicks on stage and the whole thing turns into a really bad Hip Hop satire. It was like a 50-Cent video sans the good looking girls who make you feel like maybe you should go to the gym. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised considering his video for the song that was playing in the background.
Even with this though I was still there excited for the second half of the show that I, for some reason, just knew he was going to get back to after he took a break having fun with the 10/12 girls who were there.
But then he did the unthinkable, after playing for about 25 minutes he claimed that "they were telling him his time was up" which I thought was weird considering he just got there and then he said "we've got t-shirts for sell." I assumed that like most artists he meant, you know, outside the venue there would be a stand with his merchandise. But no...this motherfucker started selling the t-shirts ON STAGE!!!! Who does that ever? I could have maybe dealt with it if he finished out a full set, did an encore and then came out to sign t-shirts. But no he went from legendary MC to a shop manager. "Get in line!"
Kyla and I weren't the only ones outraged. Hardcore fans who not long before were reciting every line to "Ice Cream" were booing, I'm talking Amy Winehouse has shown up to a gig drunk again type booing. Most of the crowd left.
+ + +
My first job out of college was at Def Jam the summer he had come out with "Fishscale" during the Jay-Z years of Def Jam management. I went blue in the face pushing it to my bosses, begging-unsuccessfully-for them to take some money out of the Ne-Yo and Rihanna budgets to put into Ghost' marketing campaign. I preached about how great it was, how it was the perfect combination of dope beats, lyrics, an air tight flow that has been so perfectly honed over the years. I couldn't believe how much they were sleeping on someone who I thought was one of the last remains of Hip Hop as I knew it.
You should know that I don't normally entertain conversations about what "real" Hip Hop is or isn't because I honestly don't know what the fuck that means. What is the criteria of being "real"? Do you have to write about a certain topic? Do CL Smooth or Premiere have to do your beats? To me the only thing more boring than mainstream Hip Hop is talking about how boring mainstream Hip Hop is especially when there is plenty of good shit to listen to.
So its not the "realness" or lackthereof in this case. That is not what I'm upset about. If anything I am more sad that someone who is part of a group that defines an era, that has influenced most MC's I speak to from my sunny hometown of Los Angeles clear to South London actually thought it was okay, actually thought that there was nothing wrong with doing half a set and then peddling t-shirts on stage. Where is your pride? I'm not a performing artist but surely when you finish you want your crowd wanting more, chanting, cheering amazed at what they just saw and not booing.
Because I always get the last word as I was standing outside starting to feel the effects of one two many ciders and a spliff guess who walks out? Oh yes Ghostface Killa himself.
I turn around, looked at him and decided I wouldn't be able to leave without asking him what the fuck? It didn't help that Kyla was in my ear in a sweet English accent demanding "go give him abuse!"
So Kyla and I marched over to Ghost' van in our finest hoochie attire and waited while fans passed him mixtapes, and girls gave him kisses....
What will happen at the Ghost Van?Will there be a confrontation?? Will it be anti-climactic??? And what role will the hoochie attire play???? All this and more CONTINUED IN PART 2
image: via, 2, 3