Ghostface for Chapter 57
If you’re a true Wu fan, you probably could have guessed that Mighty Healthy’s brand name was inspired by Ghostface Killah’s own track off his 2000 classic, Supreme Clientele. Fast-forward 14 years and the God himself is sitting in Ray’s Midtown office, shooting the shit about this and that before his cover shoot for the book. It’s funny to think how childhood idols can turn to homies, but in this case it’s just another reminder to Ray of how far Mighty Healthy has come in a decade.
Posted with classic nonchalance in his instantly-recognizable Tony Starks cadence, he spoke to Ray about everything from his inspirations to make music, to retirement, to the importance of keeping God in your life.
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Abdul Raheem AKA Ghostface Killah; Staten Island, New York.
Obviously “Mighty Healthy” is one of my favorite joints from Supreme Clientele. What does this song mean to you?
I’m old school, I’m into a lot of old school rap, nah mean? So that’s a lot of break beats and things of that nature. When I first heard “Mighty Healthy” it reminded me of “Substitution,” so I just wanted to get busy on it. People don’t even know that when I recorded that song I had an old school mic in the studio, a real old school mic, and I recorded my vocals through that just to make it sound more old, nah mean? And my man Choko recorded that and it came out decent, but that track means to me what all my other tracks mean to me, especially on Supreme Clientele. It was just the moment—I was caught in the moment, and it was a beautiful moment. And everything on that record right there was just like, you know…it was priceless. It means a lot to me. Making songs is like making children, ‘cause it comes from you, you’re givin’ birth to what was in your mind, and it’s priceless.
Who would win this fight: LL Cool J or 50 Cent?
I don’t know. [Laughs] They’re both from Queens, nah mean? LL is probably older, but that don’t mean nothing nowadays. I can’t even answer that question right now.
What music inspires you to make your music?
Just good music. I like a lot of old music, old soul music, that’s the first. Second, if anybody is making good music nowadays that feels good or just feels funky to me like, “Yo this beat right here” or “He slayed that” or “Look how he rhymed on it,” that’s my inspiration right there. It’s very rare that someone inspires me like that nowadays because the music just went left, nah mean? I try to keep up with the Joneses, but when you go back to ’93 and ’95 and all that music beyond, before that, that’s my thing.
Do you still love what you’re doing?
Oh I love what I do. I love hip-hop, period. I love this job because I love to perform in front of people, I love writing over good beats; I don’t like to record that much, I don’t like to be holed up in the booth recording, but I like to write. Especially when I got good beats. Yeah…I definitely enjoy what I’m doing. To see that I can please somebody and make them happy—from where I came from, it means the world to me. And giving me a chance to go ahead and feed my family, nah mean?.
Will you ever retire from rapping?
I don’t know…I can’t answer that question. Right now I think I would always write a rhyme. You got brothers that was rhyming back then before there was record deals out that still got rhymes right now, you know what I’m sayin’? So I wouldn’t say they retired, they probably just can’t get a deal because of the new generation that don’t know of them so they probably just overlook ‘em. You got your Big Daddy Kane’s that’s still rhyming and a lot of the greats still doin’ it. And they probably in they late 40s or whatever, so I don’t think I really would retire. I think there might come a time, maybe, which I doubt, cuz I think hip-hop is gonna be here for a long time…so I think even if God spared my life to be 60 or 70, I think I’d still be doin’ it. Not saying that I gotta go on tour or this and that, but just for the love of the art, the music. Because it’s always something that you could rhyme about, nah mean? Like when you get old you gotta rhyme about things you do when you get old. That’s taking your fans
with you. The music and beats might gotta switch up a little bit to get more adult-ish, but as far as your arthritis and cancer and Medicare and Medicaid and you start speakin’ the truth to ‘em like that, that’s still takin’ it with you. So you growin’ with them like that so they can relate to you. They’re gonna understand ‘cause some of them are gonna have their canes and their false teeth in their mouth…so you gotta rhyme about that shit. I can’t rhyme about, I’m 60 standing on the block with crack in my motherfuckin’ hands, it don’t make no sense.
Speaking about hip-hop, what New York rappers are you feeling right now?
I’m feelin’ the LOX man. The LOX are like my a-alikes, nah mean? I feel Kiss, Sheek, Styles…I can relate to ‘em, nah mean? I’m feelin’ rappers I can relate to. French Montana, he from the Bronx; I’m feelin’ him too. He’s good at what he does. The game changed, I don’t get enough of my favorite rappers like Nas, and even Wu-Tang Clan. Raekwon still be doin’ his thing, and you know I’m always gon’ feel my brother ‘cause I learned from Rae too, but ain’t too many New York rappers that I’m really, really feeling right now. Hov do his thing. It’s minimal, it’s very limited.
If you weren’t rhyming, what would you be doing?
That’s hard. I don’t even know if I’d be alive right now, nah mean? Because I was throwing so many bricks. You know how karma do—karma comes back to get you. I might’ve been in the pen right now, in the box…somewhere paralyzed. Because sometimes you gotta mature to be a man, but being a man is letting a lot of other shit go too. You can’t be going out there doing that bullshit and dumb shit like you did when you was 18. If God hadn’t let my mind mature to that level, then I’d probably be here trying to grind it out or just coming home from jail or something, I don’t know.
You’re one of the best to ever do it man. Thank you so much for always connecting with me and building. Any last words?
As a culture and as a people, I just wish that we could really see things for what they really are and not just what they appear to be. Our world is twisted right now, you know what I mean? I don’t got no disrespect about gay people and all that other shit like that, but it’s like, you got girls on girls, guys on guys, nah mean? And that’s not even the biggest problem of our generation right now. But I’m just looking at a lot of the devilment that we’re doing nowadays, and my bottom line of saying that is that, like I said earlier, see shit for what it really is and not just what it appears to be. Meaning that, this is a real world, man, this is real life. A lot of shit that we’re doing, we’re just sinning, man. This older dude the other day I seen on the news, he had stabbed this little kid in Brooklyn. Like how you gonna stab a little seven-year-old and kill him, nah mean? Shit like that. The drugs that we on—motherfuckers is molestin’ old ladies, you feel me? And everybody think that it’s all about the club. Like yo, when the world is ending and we goin’ through a crisis—you don’t even know, it might snow tomorrow, but we gon’ brush it off like, “Oh that’s natural.” It’s not natural. So when these weird things start happening and we start having our little hurricanes and tornadoes, even then a lot of us won’t realize, because everybody is not meant to have common sense. You got more dumb people than smart people, more weak people than strong people. Once you tell ‘em like yo, Illuminati or whatever is here, they’re gonna look at you like you stupid. It’s gonna go in one ear and out the other, they’re not even gonna comprehend you when you gonna tell ‘em, “Listen man, it’s happening right now.” They’re not even gonna believe you. So I’m just saying wisen up, try to switch your whole M.O. from what you had in the last 20 years because if you’re still going off of that old shit from back then, you’re the one that’s gonna get caught up. If you know beef gives you cancer, then why the fuck is you still eatin’ it? So those are my last words. Try to be more humble in your way of life, when you see things observe them and ask yourself the question. If you can’t answer that question, go find that answer. Everybody always says “Put God in your life” and that’s 100 percent. The more close you become to the most high, the more humble you become, because you’re gonna be afraid to do anything that goes against what he stands for.