Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dear TAN: Why Did Ghostface Do Us Like That? (Pt. 2)

Send your questions/letters to theassimilatednegro [at] gmail [dot] com.

In this edition: is the behavior of Wu Tang's Ghostface Killah representative of a particular artistic lethargy within the hip hop community?

Part 1 HERE

[ed: Two female fans of Ghostface Killah have just seen him walk outside after doing a half-ass bullshitty show. Part 2 picks up here...] 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. Its only occurred to me now that I didn't say hi or introduce myself or tell him what a big fan I was. All I could ask was why? Why did you stop your gig to start pedaling t-shirts? Do you normally do this? If so, why?

The look on his face was worst than the show that he put on because he knew. He knew he was dead wrong all he could say shocked and dare I say embarrassed was "they told me my time was done". It didn't occur to us at the moment because we were buzzing and errmm verbally assaulting Ghostface Killah! But how could that be true? If he had to go they would have just told him to go, he does an ending song and leaves to a huge applause and then there are people outside selling the merchandise like at a normal gig? How did you stay on stage?

He knew. He knew he was wrong when he asked what was left of the crowd if they wanted more songs. Obviously! Its a gig! We came for the music. Not for a t-shirt or a wristband or a Wu-thong or whatever the fuck your selling. We came to see you. And he knew it. So much so that after we asked our first questions about why the fuck he would do that he went out of his way to find us again and say "yea really they told us it was done so we had to go". But as Kyla said "you didn't go anywhere mate" he stayed right there making sure he got his 20 pound off his shirts.

While walking with Snuff and his peoples to unsuccessfully find food one of Ghost' little hype men came up to us asking if we were at the concert. When Kyla and I clocked who he was it was Round 2! After unsuccessfully trying to get us to his hotel room he brought some more hype men and the DJ and not one of them could defend what they had just done. They had the nerve to ask Kyla, whose father is the bassist for a legendary rock band, if she knew anything about the music industry? When she responded that she grew up in the fucking industry he had the nerve to ask "if we knew what merch was?" No you dick I don't know what merch is. Yes you have figured out our problem for us! Its not that you didn't do your show. Its that we don't understand what this strange thing called "merch" is. If we only understood that then we would find nothing wrong with a legend pedaling t-shirts like his livelihood depended on it.

While living here I have seen Mos Def, Nas, Common, Will Smith (yes Will motherfuckin Smith! if you haven't heard "Summertime" blasted in a London arena you haven't lived) and all of them smashed it, they came to give the people what they paid for. But it brings me much pain and sorrow to say that Ghostface didn't.

People always wanna diss Jay-Z -- as Ghostface did when he was his boss at Def Jam -- about how hes not "real" blah blah blah. Why? Because hes smarter than DMX who has almost surely snorted away every dime he made? Because hes not like T.I. and isn't doing a bid for walking around with more guns than Obamas Secret Service men? What exactly is he guilty of? Investing his money in things that... make him more money? Controlling his image and how is name is used? In my opinion he's never claimed to be anything he's not. His first album is called "Can't Knock the Hustle" an epic solely about HUSTLING! Making money whatever way he knows how. Before it was drugs now he gets it legally.

I bring up Jay-Z not only because of the whole "real" vs. "not-real" thing but also because I have spent chunks of pay-checks to see him live so many times and he always smashes it. The tightest live band, an amazing set list and a desire to want the crowd to be amazed at what they are witnessing. I have seen Nas play more times than a normal person should pay to see anyone, same with Mos Def and The Roots. I cannot think of any scenario in which any of them would just decide they were done playing and then STAY on stage for another half and hour not doing songs but making sure that everybody was in an orderly line to buy a t-shirt. Not even Jay-Z and he is the king of hustling!

Yes what I am saying is the most mainstream commercially successful rapper of our time has more of a soul and more integrity than Ghostface Killah a supposed victim of the industry.

Finally after his on stage flea market Ghost decided to bless us with a few more half ass verses on a few songs. If you ever want to see what Hip Hop on life support looks like, it's not a Souljaboy video. It's Ghostface Killah doing "Cant it All Be so Simple" to an almost empty venue that had only a short time ago been packed out.

So I ask you, TAN, why did Ghostface Killah kill Hip Hop?

images via: chris micro, gor v bear, and


  1. I don't know about Nas. I've seen him drop the ball a few times, and with a national audience.

    All to say, I think this is part of a larger issue: hip hop shows are typically not a value-add for hip hop.

    there are noted exceptions, most of them superstars or known for their live performance.

  2. E-Class5/26/2009

    I seen you jockin' jay-z.

    Fishscale is the best hip hop album of the last 10-12 years.

  3. Anonymous5/26/2009

    his first album was called reasonable doubt. man girls really dont know shit about hiphop/rap. no wonder they ignored you about fishscale, you probably were making references to jayz's epic "Cant Knock The Hustle" album enough to where they disregarded any of your opinions anyway.

  4. that dude5/26/2009

    Anonymous, you are part of the problem. This isn't a hip hop quiz show, this is an artist who can't handle his business. He's tricking off his international money, and probably doing the same in the US. And you want to ignore her because she doesn't pass your bullshit test?

    Lots of folks so rap about making money don't really want money. That's the moral of this story.

  5. Wu-Tang Spam5/26/2009


    I feel you on the hip hop shows criticism, but Wu Tang Clan members are especially notorious for this type of bullshit. RZA, ODB (RIP), Ghost, Rae, all these motherfuckers have shafted fans before and still collected CREAM mainly, I think, because there was little alternative.

    It's cliché to say, but shit like this is definitely a part of why hip hop is losing impact as a cultural force.

  6. Anonymous5/26/2009

    better than when i went to see ghost in massachusetts and he didn't even show up

  7. I saw the Wu for the first time in Jan 08 right after 8 Diagrams dropped, and those cats had the nerve to have a Meth look-alike filling in for an otherwise absent Method Man. Already missing the RZA, they were about an hour and a half late, did like a 40 min set and split...with a FAKE METHOD MAN.

    I've seen some live rap that fully delivers (Roots, Tribe, Beasties, Busta), but the Wu was a colossal disappointment. I can't imagine Ghostface any different solo.

  8. Straight up, I saw GZA only a couple of months ago, and it was, without a doubt, the shittiest rap show I had seen in at least 7 years since I saw MC Lyte walk off stage after 15 minutes. He was doing liquid swords. Umm, Gary, if you're reading this, you can't cut the album off two tracks short and mess up your own lyrics as well. I know the words to cold world better than you do. Also, I get it, you want to bone white college girls. Fair enough. Keep that for the afterparty chief; I'm hear to watch you rock it.

    Speaking of which, the cool kids: live rippers. One of the best live shows I've seen in any genre in a while. They rapped on the tops of speakers and just went buck.

  9. Anonymous5/27/2009

    Rappers get away with putting on subpar shows, making subpar albums, and mailing it in. Why is this? I don't get it.

  10. Anon: I don't think they get away with it; we all pay in the end with the HH value depreciation.

    But a proper analysis also includes how hip hop came up, so to speak. i.e. I think the bad shows and lack of respect would be likened to The Wire season 4 with the kids. some rappers are bullshitting because they know the game is fixed. so they do whatever they want. no one was around to tell them to stand up straight, tuck in their shirt and put on a show like a man, etc.

  11. Anonymous5/27/2009

    NO EXCUSES!!11!

    What Would Obama Say?

  12. Anonymous5/28/2009

    Good post, I hate that shirt salesman pitch too many rappers give, often feels like there are only trying to sell you some t-shirts. You did not come to beg from your fans, you are supposed to give a concert and show them you deserve the respect they have been giving you.

    I missed Ghostface in Rotterdam a couple weeks ago, maybe I just missed being disappointed by another hiphop artist. In reaction to one of the comments above, I saw Method man last year and I am glad I went, he really delivered (no homo). I would also give a special mention to KRS-1 and PE which I saw not long ago.

  13. Anonymous5/30/2009

    First, Wu and its members fell from heaven after not finishing the tour with RATM in 1997.

    Lastly, as consumers, everyone should treat hip hop shows as buyer beware. Sell me faulty product once, shame on you. Twice, shame on me.

  14. I remember a PE show where it was just Chuck D. Flavor Flav missed his plane and was unavailable. Let's just say PE really wasn't the same without Flav and the S1W's.

  15. Anonymous6/01/2009

    these negros are OLD! Give them a break. They have one had on a mic and the other hand on a walker. if I saw Big Daddy Kane live, I'd be impressed if he made it two laps around the stage, let alone put on an hour and a half show. Granted, Mick Jagger with his old ass still manages to muster a hip shake or two, but Mickey still sells out arenas...and wants to keep it that way. Ghost and the Wu seem more washed up and bitter.

    The shows don't matter to me though. Asher Roth put on a great show when he opened for Common. But that doesn't mean I'm buying his album. As long as Ghost stays consistent with his albums, I really don't care about his concerts.

  16. Joe Hamilton, LI6/06/2009

    "fishscale" is an average album. lyrics are decent at times, but the thing is filled with uninspired beats. sorry.


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