Dennis David Coles, better known as Ghostface Killah of the storied Wu-Tang Clan, rose to stardom as one the sharpest wordsmiths in the hip-hop collective. Following an acclaimed run with his fellow Staten Island bandmates, thanks to hits like “Protect Ya Neck” and “Method Man,” Ghost embarked on a solo journey that would influence a slew of new emcees – including the late MF Doom and Action Bronson – shaped by the industry veteran’s ability to convey tales of growing up in gritty New York streets over classic hip hop and soulful beats.
The “Apollo Kids” rapper’s success also stems from his consistency. Over the last three decades, Ghost has released a dozen albums, including several collaborative projects, earning himself the reputation as one of the most active rappers in the business. In honor of the hip-hop legend’s 53rd birthday, we’re looking back at some of his most classic records over the years.
“Back Like That” feat. Ne-Yo
In 2006, Ghostface tapped R&B crooner and songwriter Ne-Yo for the smash hip-hop and soul-influenced record “Back Like That” for his fifth solo album Fishscale. The song peaked at #11 on Billboard’s U.S. Hot Rap Song chart.
Although he’s credited as a featured artist, Ghost’s verse on Raekwon’s 1995 single “Ice Cream” is to be celebrated thanks to a dynamic performance that set the tone for the remainder of the song. The track also features guest appearances by Method Man and Cappadonna.
“Cherchez LaGhost” feat. U-God
“Cherchez LaGhost” is the second single from Ghost’s sophomore studio album, Supreme Clientele. The record features vocals from fellow Wu-Tang member U-God and singer Madam Majestic. It peaked at #13 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs following its release in 2000.
“All That I Got Is You”
If it’s a record featuring a Wu-Tang member and Mary J. Blige, it’s sure to be a classic. The 1996 single is featured on his first album, Ironman and marks the rapper’s debut as a solo artist. Created as a tribute to his mother, the track features a sample of The Jackson 5 song “Maybe Tomorrow.”
Trying to keep up with the emcee’s ever-changing flow on “Nutmeg” is perhaps one of the best elements of the record. Ghost released the 2000 single from Supreme Clientele with a guest verse from RZA over a sample of “It’s Over” by Eddie Holman.
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