Throughout Hip Hop’s over forty years of existence, countless important moments and people contributed to the history of the world-shifting culture. Legendary Wu-Tang Clan member Dennis “Ghostface Killah” Coles believes the rappers of today should be aware of that past.
Ghostface Killah took part in an interview with Vulture. During the discussion, the Ironman album architect gave his perspective on the importance of younger rap talent being aware of the Hip Hop acts that came before them and laid the groundwork for modern-day success in the industry.
“I’m all for these young Black kids getting money and doing what they do, but musically, I think that becoming a rapper now, you should know the history, know now who the Spoonie Gees and Sugarhill Gangs was, the Wu-Tangs and the Biggies, all that. Grand Puba, all these guys,” said Ghostface.
The 50-year-old emcee continued, “You need to know these people. You gotta add to that. We got bodies of work. Mobb Deep, Nas, Wu-Tang, Jay-Z, we got bodies of work. Only reason you heard that record is because it’s the single, and it’s what was hot. But, where’s your body? How many bodies you got? It’s not gonna work later on in the future when you trying to tour and n##### remember one record, but you can’t do a whole show.”
Ghostface Killah also showed love to some of the performers that have emerged on the music scene over the last 15 years. He named-dropped DaBaby, Lil Baby, Drake, A$AP Rocky, Bobby Shmurda, Pop Smoke, and Migos. Plus, the Staten Island native specifically mentioned Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole as artists he sees as creating their own lane in Hip Hop.
“I even like a few young guys that’s out there right now. People get it twisted, like, ‘Oh, this new rap generation is garbage.’ But you know what? You gotta have the ear to understand what’s going on. Some of them really got talent,” offered Ghostface.
The man who also goes by the alter ego Tony Starks added, “You might not be able to understand that talent because that’s not the era you come from, but being an artist, you gotta be willing to listen to everything. It took me a while to start to understand these kids and their sound.”
Last month, the Millennial and Gen Z generations got the chance to get more familiar with Ghostface Killah’s career discography. The East Coaster participated in a friendly Verzuz faceoff against his Wu-Tang brethren Raekwon on March 20.