Ghostface Killah: Wikis


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Ghostface Killah

Background information
Birth name Dennis Coles
Born May 9, 1970 (1970-05-09) (age 39)
Origin Staten Island, New York, United States
Genres Hip hop, R&B
Years active 1991–present
Labels Razor Sharp, Epic, Starks Enterprises, Def Jam
Associated acts Wu-Tang Clan, Theodore Unit, Meth, Ghost, & Rae, MF DOOM, Rakim
Website Ghostface's official site

Dennis Coles (born May 9, 1970),[1] better known by his stage name Ghostface Killah, is an American rapper and member of the Wu-Tang Clan. After the group achieved breakthrough success in the aftermath of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) , the members went on to pursue solo careers to varying levels of success. Ghostface Killah debuted his solo-career with Ironman, which was well received by music critics. He would continue his career, creating additional award-winning albums over the following years such as Supreme Clientele, Fishscale, More Fish, and The Big Doe Rehab.

Ghostface Killah is critically acclaimed[2][3] for his loud, fast-paced flow,[4] and his stream-of-consciousness narratives containing cryptic slang and non-sequiturs.[4][5]

His stage name was taken from one of the characters in the 1979 kung fu film Mystery of Chessboxing.[4]

Ghostface Killah is a practicing Muslim.[6]


Early years

Ghostface Killah was raised in the Stapleton housing projects in Staten Island, New York. In his autobiographical song "All That I Got Is You", Ghost tells the story of his childhood. He raps about how he grew up in a three bedroom apartment without his father, who left him at the age of six. Apparently, his mother had nine children.

Early career

He debuted with the rest of the Wu-Tang Clan on their critically acclaimed debut, 1993's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). A roommate of Wu-Tang founder The RZA, Ghostface helped bring together the other seven members, and would function as executive producer on all the Wu-Tang Clan releases.

In 1995, Ghostface guest-starred extensively on fellow Clan member Raekwon's debut album, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..., appearing on almost every song. He also contributed songs to the Sunset Park and Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood soundtracks, which would be included on his first solo LP, Ironman, in 1996. The album, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, had a more pronounced soul influence (particularly 1970s soul) than previous Wu-Tang releases, and Ghostface's future albums would continue to feature this stylistic trait.

Ghostface became well-known for both his up-tempo, stream-of-consciousness rap and, later in his career, for his emotionally charged raps and smooth constant flow. In 1996, he discovered that he was diabetic, a condition that would weaken his health. According to "Trials of Life", a 2007 song with fellow New York rapper Prodigy (himself a sickle-cell anemic), Ghostface assumed he had been stricken by a sexually transmitted disease until he received the diabetes diagnosis.

Ghostface was incarcerated for attempted robbery in 1999, a situation that was never publicly commented on by the Wu-Tang Clan or Ghostface (the charge dated from 1995). It would lead to a delay in his next album. In 2000 with his follow-up to Ironman, Supreme Clientele. It was very well-received by critics. It was placed #2 on Hip Hop Connection's list of "The 100 Greatest Rap Albums 1995-2005". It had "Apollo Kids", a popular single which featured Raekwon and had a sample of "Cool Breeze" by Solomon Burke; "Cherchez LaGhost", another single off the album, became a minor club-style hit. It also notably had the sentimental "Child's Play" brought numerous comparisons to Slick Rick. Supreme Clientele would be a turning point in RZA's influence on his sound, as only four songs are produced by the RZA, compared to Iron Man, its predecessor where every song but one is produced by him. Though he contributed fewer beats to the project, Rza personally over saw the mixing and production of the album as a whole, contributing to Supreme Clientele's unified sound

Ghostface wasted little time in recording his next album, the heavily R&B-influenced Bulletproof Wallets, released a year after Supreme Clientele. Its feature single, Never Be the Same Again, featured Carl Thomas and Raekwon. He had another minor club hit with "Flowers", which featured guest vocals from fellow Wu-Tang members Method Man and Raekwon, and a popular single "Ghost Showers" which featured Madame Majestic, who also sung on the popular Wu-Tang track "Gravel Pit". It was well received, but never really matched its predecessor in popularity or renown.

Def Jam

In 2003, Ghostface signed with Def Jam Records. After temporarily dropping "Killah" from his stage name, Ghostface released The Pretty Toney Album in April 2004. The album, while containing two RZA productions, featured none of the Clan; instead, it featured collaborations with Missy Elliott, D-Block and Jacki-O. The singles "Tush" and "Run", the collaborations with Missy and Jadakiss respectively, achieved moderate success in the clubs and charts, and the album was featured on numerous "best of the year" lists, including number nine on Pitchfork Media's.[7] Ghostface also appeared on the track "On My Knees" by UK R&B group The 411, which became a hit in the UK and Australia, and released an album titled 718 (after the Staten Island area code) with a group of his protégés, the Theodore Unit. In November 2005, Ghostface and Theodore Unit's breakout star Trife Da God released a joint project, Put It On The Line.

Ghost at the Virgin Festival in 2007.

In 2006, Ghostface teamed up with underground artist MF Doom for a still unreleased album entitled Swift & Changeable. MF Doom also produced several songs for Ghostface's 2006 album Fishscale, which was once again attributed to "Ghostface Killah". The album debuted strongly, in the #4 position on the U.S. Billboard 200 and at #2 on the R&B charts,[8] the rapper's most auspicious chart showing since the heyday of the Wu-Tang Clan and the release of his solo debut. The album also nearly unanimously received positive reviews. Ghostface embarked on a limited-date tour of US venues in support of the album, performing several of his concerts together with most members of the Wu-Tang Clan.

He has worked with 4Cast to produce his own action figure.[9] In December 2007 Ghostface appeared on's comedy show The DL[10] to do a holiday commercial for his action figure.[11]

On December 4, 2007, Ghostface released his seventh solo studio album, The Big Doe Rehab.

In a May 2008 interview, Ghostface Killah said that his next project is going to be an R&B-inspired album. It is going to be in the vein of the tracks he has done before with such artists as Ne-Yo and Jodeci.[12][13] In March 2009, Ghostface recorded a song called "Message from Ghostface" dedicated to women who were abused in relationships.

Raekwon, in a May 2009 interview with Rolling Stone indicated that Ghostface Killah is preparing to release a new album. In response to a question asking if the Wu-Tang Clan are going to release a follow up to 8 Diagrams, Raekwon stated "Everybody's doing different things right now — you got Meth [Method Man] coming out with an album, you got Ghostface coming out with an album, some guys working on their projects, some guys getting into the film world, everybody is multi-tasking right now."[14] Ghostface appeared on a total of 8 songs on Raekwon's highly anticipated release of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II.

Finally, in 2009 Ghostface Killah released his R&B debut album Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City to good reviews. Its singles "Baby" and "Do Over" were relatively successful and enabled the album to do more strongly than previous releases such as "More Fish".


Ghostface Killah, like most members of the Wu-Tang clan, rapped under several personae, each with their own name, mythology and influences. Some recurring aliases:

  • Ghostface Killah (occasionally spelled Ghostface Killer, Ghost Face Killah, or abbreviated GFK)
  • Ghostface
His shortened stage name during the The Pretty Toney Album era.[15][16]
  • Ghost Deini[17]
  • Ironman, Tony Starks, or just Starks
Ghostface has frequently assumed the persona of both Ironman and Tony Stark, a reference to the Marvel Comics character Iron Man and his true identity, millionaire industrialist Tony Stark (note the variant spellings). He released a 1996 album titled Ironman and has drawn deeply on the Iron Man mythology. His song, "Slept On Tony With Dirt," appears in the 2008 film, and he even appears in a deleted scene on the DVD.[18]
  • Starky Love[19]
  • Pretty Toney, P Tone[20]
  • The Wallabee Kingpin[21]


Studio albums
Collaboration albums
Compilation albums


Movie appearances

  • Black and White (1999) as himself
  • Hunter Dawson (2002) as himself
  • Fade to Black, (2004) as himself
  • Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) as himself
  • Iron Man (2008) as a Dubaian sheik; cameo. (Though it was cut in post-production, his cameo can be found in the DVD's deleted scenes section.)
  • When in Rome (2010) as Guggenheim DJ[citation needed]

TV series appearances

  • Made (2005) as himself (episode "Nile Is Made Into a Rapper")
  • 30 Rock (2006) as himself (episodes "Jack-Tor" and "The Source Awards")
  • Human Giant (2007) as himself (episodes "Mind Explosion" and "Mosh Pit!")
  • The Boondocks (2007) as himself (episode "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back")
  • Rushing Jason (2008) as Big Poppa

Video game appearances

  • Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style (1999) as himself
  • Def Jam Vendetta (2003) as himself
  • Def Jam: Fight for NY (2004) as himself
  • Def Jam: Icon (2007) as himself


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Ghostface Killah - Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  2. ^ Brown, Marisa (2007). "The Big Doe Rehab: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  3. ^ O'Donnell, Mallory (2006-12-14). "More Fish". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  4. ^ a b c Frere-Jones, Sasha (2006-03-20). "Ghost's World". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  5. ^ Dombal, Ryan (2006-03-31). "Ghost' Writer".,,1178775,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "MMTV 2004: The 50 Best Albums", Pitchfork Media, accessed on April 30, 2006.
  8. ^ Ghostface Killah Billboard chart history
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Allmusic review of The Pretty Toney Album: "The Pretty Toney Album [is] the rapper's first under the just-Ghostface moniker"
  16. ^ Onion AV Club interview: "The Pretty Toney Album was credited to Ghostface, and Fishscale is credited to Ghostface Killah. What's the difference?"
  17. ^ "How the f--- was y'all n--- thinkin'? You think I fell off the ledge? / The legendary Ghost Deini might be dead?"
  18. ^ Introduction of Tony Starks in the song "Wu-Gambinos": the fifth verse is performed by Ghostface Killer, a.k.a. Tony Starks
  19. ^ Lyrics from "Ice Cream": "They call me Starky Love"
  20. ^ Ghostface Killah's page: "Alias Names: Ghostface, GFK, Pretty Toney, Tony Starks"
  21. ^ Lyrics from "Good":

External links

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