Tony Starks: a dick in comic books, awesome on rap records

despite its constant claiming to be some hippie-style commune for the free-flowing exchange of ideas, i have often found that the internet is in fact a place with some very defined rules, and one of those rules is as follows: if you want to write about rap music on the internet, you have to write about one of the darlings of internet rap bloggers (say, Ghostface Killah or the Clipse), or at least be one of those assholes that argues CONSTANTLY about the difference between rap and hip-hop and how excellent backpackers that are mostly white guys who are borderline rappers are TRUE hip-hop. since the latter is lame and the former is Ghostface, we’ll talk about Ghostface.

or, more to the point, some of my favorite Ghostface moments.

hilarious diabetes misconceptions
okay, so, to be fair, not only is diabetes not funny (as it’s a terrible disease), but it’s also not funny that Ghostface has it (as he’s an awesome dude). however, if you’re going to get diabetes, it’s probably good to do something wacky like claim on a record (“Trials Of Life”) that you assumed it was a sexually-transmitted disease. why an STD, Ghostface? because of rapid weight loss and, i quote, the fact that he’d “went raw on plenty.” this is actually ironic when you consider that he’d noted it wasn’t worth it for one to go raw on “Tearz.”

the glorious fashions of Ghostface Killah
rappers do, it is true, like to try to start fashion trends (and other trends in general, really), but often these are their own brands of established fashions. this, however, has not been good enough for Ghostface, who aside from a religious devotion to Clark’s wallabees (as heard on Raekwon’s “Glaciers Of Ice”), has rocked jewelry such as the “eagle bracelet” and the “Versace plate.” the former was – and there’s really nothing for you to do here but just accept it – a gold eagle statue worn on a bracelet on his forearm. it has since been melted down, but how is this not light years beyond fucking Rocawear?

lyrical highlights
as Ghostface is a rap artist, we should maybe spend a little time discussing his craft.

#1: Ironman, “Poisonous Darts”
Ghostface likes to come with ridiculous, stream-of-consciousness lyrics all day (and probably the night) long, which is a major part of his charm and excellence. and now we will celebrate one of these – “i pull stings like guitar strings down in Spain/i’m so hype jakes label god crack cocaine.” Spain aside, the reference is cool, but Ghostface is definitely cooler than crack (which i have been led to believe is “wack”). i’d probably label him heroin, since all the rock stars seem to think it’s so awesome.

#2: Supreme Clientele, “Buck 50”
this is a great group track with some solid guest spots (Method Man, Masta Killa) on a great solid from what’s probably Ghostface’s best album, but more to the point, nothing really highlights Ghostface’s desire to just work some ridiculous words into a line to a) make a line happen and b) totally blow my mind like “Buck 50,” for this line: “supercalifragalisticexpialidocious/dociousaliexpifragalisticcalisuper.” a Mary Poppins reference in (somewhat) reverse? how can one’s mind not be blown?

#3: Bulletproof Wallets, “Maxine”
while i mostly love this song for the RZA’s passionate live drums, this is really a great example of a random but fleshed-out storytelling song (Fishscale’s “Shakey Dog” is also right up there with it), which is a general concept you’d think talented rappers could crank out dozens of, except that they don’t. also, “word?” is about the last thing i’d say if some kids were throwing me out of a window, but then again, that scenario is not likely to happen to me.

#4: the Pretty Toney Album, “Run”
a song about hearing the cops on the way and running for it, filled with Ghostface relating his freaking out, jumping around and losingn his gun, and impersonating cop car noises (“errrrr!”). it’s all about the underappreciated storytelling, i’m telling you!

#5: Fishscale, “Three Bricks”
in a world of rappers talking about gunplay in general, this remains the best (as in, my favorite) reference to such: “fuck working out, all i curl is my index finger.” i’m completely with him on this, mainly as it saves one some serious trips to the gym. also, once again, “Shakey Dog” is fucking awesome.

#6: More Fish, “Blue Armor”
by now you know Ghostface is awesome, so let’s just take a tangent here for me to point out that, despite some criticism of Sheek’s “i’m on fire in the streets/like in Back To The Future, when the car left” line on this song, i have to admit that that line always cracks me up. but that’s just how i am.

video game appearances
for the record, this is pretty much based on Def Jam: Vendetta. now, this argument is not based on me claiming that DJ:V is a good game (i vote no) or that i’m at least good at it or something (like all wrestling games, i suck at it); however, in the words of DJ:V’s version of Ghostface: “i’m a ghost. i can’t be broke!” enough said. i never played the sequels, but it’s not like he could be LESS awesome in them; also, there was that PS game Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style wherein Ghostface could do moves like the “Ghostface Blaster.” sounds fantastic!

the apparent “Tony For Mayor” campaign
“The Watch” starts out with a male singer whose name i don’t recall (if it was ever of consequence) passionately singing in support of “Tony for mayor,” the Tony, of course, being Ghostface “Tony Starks” Killah. more endearing gibberish? perhaps. however, on closer inspection, perhaps we SHOULD make him mayor. would i take Ghostface as a mayor of a local metropolis? well…

-Washington DC: Marion Barry had this job, and he was filled with cocaine at least some of the time, so this can’t be something Ghostface couldn’t handle, as he might at least be more sober;

-Baltimore: after that rant last week? enough said.

fuck it, Tony for mayor.

that song “Underwater”
now, i don’t really love this song all that much, though that’s more about the beat than anything else. but still… we have to talk about it. actually, why tell you about it when my case has been made for me? Tom Breihan: “In one truly stunning moment, he talked about the album’s final song, which is about being underwater, seeing mermaids and Spongebob and the necklace from Titanic, everyone eventually going to a mosque and praying. Just hearing this song is a total mindfuck…” i think that just says it all right there.

samples, samples, samples!
the Wu-Tang Clan, as you might expect from a bunch of guys who stole all their aliases from old kung-fu movies, love to throw samples from these films (and others) into their work, and Ghostface is no exception, be it to declare that he’ll “put trademarks around your fucking eyes” or that “kill one man, or kill ten, it’s all the same, after all, they can only hang you once.” it’s not that these samples are inappropriate and weird, it’s that they’re totally appropriate AND weird. the same goes for spoken word moments that function like these samples, be they the “this guy’s a wrecking ball” Rocky rip-off from “the Champ” or just yelling about guys picking up their car like the Flintstones on “Guns N’ Razors.” it’s always good times. still, a special place must be saved for the “Bad Mouth Kid” skit in which a foul-mouthed youth is told by Ghostface himself that the problem is that kids don’t get beat anymore. and i agree.

conclusion: this may all risk me seeming to sarcastically praise Ghostface for comedic effect as if he DOESN’T deserve it; however, this could not be further from the truth. buy those records immediately!

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