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Ghostface Killah Explains Why The New Generation Should Study The Past

Ghostface Killah opens up about rap's new generation, encouraging younger artists to study history and focus on creating bodies of work.

Having emerged onto the scene in the early nineties as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah came of age as an emcee in the midst of the golden era. Surrounded by some of hip-hop's best lyricists -- not only those present within his crew, but Nas, Biggie, Mobb Deep, and Jay-Z were all actively rising -- the art of crafting a consistently strong album was among the most important artistic goals.

There's a reason our hip-hop legends remain admired to this day, and much of it comes down to the longevity of their classic bodies of work. Yet with the music of today arriving at a breakneck pace, it's become difficult to keep a project in steady rotation long enough to develop any real attachment. Between that, and the argument that the music itself has been designed for short-term gain, it's not uncommon to see many of the game's OG's speak of the "album" with fondness often reserved for the deceased.

In a new interview with Vulture, Ghostface opened up about one of his issues with rap's "new generation," a topic on which he often feels misunderstood. “I’m all for these young Black kids getting money and doing what they do," he prefaces. "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. 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. These days, you might hear one record and don’t even care about the rest of the album.”

"Some of them really got talent," he acknowledges. "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.”

What are your thoughts on this matter? Let us know in the comments.



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