Clan was most definitely in the front this last Wednesday night at Fortune. It was a sea of black & yellow, as Vancouver covered itself in the infamous Wu-Tang ‘W’ and did it’s best killer bee impression for the man of the hour: Ghostface Killah. Hoodies, toques, even tummy-baring tube tops, worn by a handful of writhing ladies and (disturbingly) by my camera monkey for the night, Jay Haddow. (Peep his pics below) As promised in my promo for this show, I was rockin’ my Adidas Ghostface jacket, responsible for many a scrunch-face and hearty head-nods of approval. (Including, later in the night, a strong point and “Fuck yeah, yo!” from Ghost himself!)
Things were running a little late, but the crowd remained in good spirits. The only sign of restlessness, the “Wu! Tang!” and “Ghost! Face!” chants that began breaking out about 10 minutes before he finally stormed the stage. To tell you the truth, Jay and I were okay with waiting, beers in hand and watching an adorable lesbian duo get freaky with each other within spitting distance. I mean, come on, if you’re telling me being buzzed by 8 PM and watching hot chicks play invisible Twister in nearly-invisible dresses DOESN’T appeal to you? Well, you’re basically also telling me that you’re a huge douche-lord. To each his own, but for me and the grotesque twin-ling that is my sidekick, this was shaping up to be a memorable night already…
“For Cryin’ Out Loud, My Style Is Wild…”
ANYWAYS, Ghost finally struck, no Tims, no black mask. Actually, considering he’s the flashiest motherfucker in Wu, it was a surprisingly no-frills affair. No championship belt, no flashy bathrobes, no giant gold eagle wrist-gauntlet thingy. Just him, his entourage (including Raekwon’s DJ Symphony, Trife, Sheek Louch and Killah Priest) and a truckload of his classic grimy, high intensity raps. Despite the potential chaos of a million mu’fuckers on stage and the shared spotlight, Ghost remained the eye of the storm. I always find myself wondering when rappers have large entourages, and allow them (or the crowd) to finish almost every line, if that’s laziness. At points of the show it felt like this would be the case, but Ghost laid that concern to rest a few songs in, when he ran through a couple of songs start to finish, spitting every line himself with perfect breath control. And that voice! Goddamn. So distinctive. His was the first voice I heard when I popped 36 Chambers into my Walkman for the first time way back in the day. And that perfectly violent, hyper voice is why he was the perfect one to lead off. Guess what? Live? He sounds JUST like he does on record! ODB put it best on Da Mystery of Chessboxin’, when he follows up his introduction of Ghostface Killah with “No One Could Get Illa!”
I knew there was no way he could do every song of his I’d wanna hear (I’d still be there now) but he made a valiant attempt at it, touching on gems from both his solo and Wu-Tang catalogues, and even some of the other Wu members’ hits. His Ice Cream verse was dope. Of course, every 36 Chambers joint he ran through (including Ain’t Nuthing To Fuck Wit’ & C.R.E.A.M.) was awesome. Be Easy and Run were definite high points, as was the interlude where he invited some dudes up on stage and handed them the mic, challenging them to spit some classic Wu-Tang verses. I knew they’d pull it off before they even touched the mic. The whole crowd had been flawlessly rapping along to every verse, start to finish. I myself was rapping along as well, and nodding my head so hard that I finally understood why Wu had been warning us to Protect our Necks all this time. Speaking of head bobbing: the aforementioned writhing girls reached a boiling point just after that, and began groping each other and basically giving lap dances to whatever was behind them, be it pillar or person or extremely bearded East Indian dude. (’Wu-Tang’ rhymes with ‘poontang.’ Coincidence?) Needless to say, shit got real, sons!
“A N**** Gon’ Grow Titties Listenin’ To This Kinds A Shit”
This evening reminded me that one of my favourite things about Wu doesn’t even have anything to do with their music. Remember those hilarious skits on 36 Chambers? Meth and Raekwon bickering about a loaned movie like… well, like me and my stupid-ass friends? It felt REAL. These dudes actually knew each other outside of the booth, and had a history. Most importantly: they were FUNNY. And of all of them, I’ve always thought Ghost was the funniest. (Just peep out his Top 10 Softest Rappers article, and the Ghostface Valentine Card Collection. Or any post on his blog, for that matter. Hilarity will ensue…) Happy to report that’s still the case. In between songs, the banter with the crowd was rad. His slang has even the simplest sentences come out askew, whether rapping or just talking. He had a whole rant about wanting to crash on somebody’s floor after the show: “Fuck pillows! Just throw a towel on a n**** and I’m straight!” Only Ghost could talk about sticking a fork in your nuts and painting your ass while standing next to a large decorative snowflake and have the shit work. (’Ghostface’ rhymes with ’snowflakes.’ Coincidence?) And dude is as gracious as he is gangster. Even his thanks to the crowd at the end of the show was funny-style: “Thank you for allowing me to be in front of your face!”
No, Ghost. Thank you. Can I get a “Suuu!”?
– Nuv (Feat. Jay Haddow on the camera, son! Check it…)