Take Cover: Ghostface’s Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City
Artist David Russell discusses his amazing album cover. Take Cover: Ghostface’s Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City
Notable album covers catch the eye, dribble it around a little, and then snap it back into place, forever skewed. They can be funny, gross, shocking, stunning, or just plain wrong. They can define artists.
With Take Cover, we aim to track down the most striking new album covers taking up web space and vinyl bins and get the story behind them. In this installment, we check in the American-born, Australia-based artist David Russell. Russell’s long career has mostly involved conceptual and storyboard art for a huge number of movies and TV shows, and his credits include Return of the Jedi and Terminator 2. But Russell also did the ornate, fantastical cover of Ghostface’s Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City. Check below for our conversation with the man responsible for that mindbending image.
Pitchfork: How did you end up doing this Ghostface album cover?
David Russell: [laughs] It was a surprise to me, too! I got contacted by Island Def Jam Records’ art director. Ghost was looking for someone to do something unusual for his next cover, and the art director had come across my website and seen this Wizard of Oz, Emerald City image that I had done for a film project. I had a good laugh. It’s hard to imagine Ghostface Killah having an interest in the world of Oz, but it was a wild idea, so we got it together.
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TSS Presents Smoking Sessions With Ghostface Killah
“Smoking Sessions With…” By TC on October 9, 2009 at 1:30 pm
Ghostface Killah bites his tongue for no one. If he said it, he meant it, simple as that. Still red-hot from doing his part in fellow Wu-brethren Raekwonâ€™s critically-acclaimed Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II, Tony Starks is proceeding with his solo career without delay, releasing the colorful Ghostdini: The Wizard Of Poetry In Emerald City.
In this extremely candid interview with TSS Crewâ€™s TC, Ghost revels in his maturity as an artist, explains why fans should respect his latest musical endeavor and his future label plans. If you think the album is poetic, wait tilâ€™ you get a load of his candor.
TSS: So on Ghostdini: Wizard Of Poetry, youâ€™re delving in the â€œBack Like That,â€ â€œNever Be The Same Again,â€ â€œWildflower,â€ â€œLove Sessionsâ€ territory, correct?
Ghostface Killah: (Laughs) Yeah, itâ€™s literally all of that. Thereâ€™s nothing but poetry on that shit with all the different topics. Itâ€™s just something a nigga been always wanting to do. You know this will be my last album over here on Def Jam. So I was on some olâ€™ â€œYo, you know what? I gave my fans samples, since â€˜92â€¦I did albums Bâ€¦I never really seen no money off the shit.â€ Just so my fans could fuck around and love me for my music as far as my lyrics. And I never got nothing from a bunch of â€˜emâ€¦even as far as being in the red. And when I mean being in the red, I mean not recouping! Doing a bunch of other shit to make it right.
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The RZA on The Tao of Wu
By Gilbert Cruz
Emerging in the mid-1990s, New York City’s Wu-Tang Clan proved to be one of the decade’s most intense, wacky and essential rap groups. The nine-MC Clan was led by the RZA, who in recent years has gone on to release several solo albums and film scores (Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill). His latest project, a book released this month called The Tao of Wu, is half-memoir, half-spiritual guide. The rapper and entrepreneur, whose real name is Robert Diggs, talked to TIME about the history of hip-hop, cult films and his love of Broadway.
In The Tao of Wu, you lay out your very unique worldview. I lost track of all the elements involved, which include traditional Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, chess and numerology. If you had only a minute to tell someone about your beliefs, what would you say?
First of all, the tao means the way. And there are many ways to get to a place as long as you stay on the path. So if you want to travel the way of Jesus, the way of the Prophet Muhammad, if you want to travel the way of Buddha or Bodhi Dharma, if you want to travel the way of a great chess master like Kasparov or Fisher â€” any way you can reach self-enlightenment or self-worth works. Many great men have left paths for us. In the end, we are all searching for the same thing. We’re just taking different routes to the same location.
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- Method Man Ft. Busta Rhymes – Whats Happening (Remix)
- Inspectah Deck Ft. Ghostface Killah – Rec The Party (Remix)
- Killa Sin Ft. Sunz Of Man & Makeba Mooncycle – Hav Mercy (Remix)
- Az Ft Ghostface Killah, Raekwon & Timbo King – New York (Remix)
- Killah Priest Ft. Rass Kass – Part Of The Game (Remix)
- Wu-Tang Clan – The Swarm (Exclusive)
- Shabazz The Desciple – Crime Saga (Remix)
- The Ladies of Wu – Yellow Panties (Exclusive)
- Sunz Of Man Ft. Olâ€™ Dirty Bastard – Shining Star (Remix)
- Shyheim Ft. Big Daddy Kane, Down Low Recka, Pop The Brown Hornet, Rubberbandz & Lil Visous – Pass It Off (Remix)
- Wu-Tang Clan – The Wu World Jumpoff (Remix)
- Inspectah Deck Ft. Killah Priest – Power of God (Remix)
- Ol’ Dirty Bastard – One Of A Kind (Exclusive)
The main reason Ice Water reps so hard on these tours is because just about all Wu-Tang Clan tours and shows are now booked by Kay, Rae’s brother. He is for the most part the official booking agent of the Clan now. He hires Rza as an outside entity to perform with the Clan. Rza even has his own bus, separate from the Clan.
If my mind recalls correctly You Can’t Stop Me Now was a title planned to be on the 8 Diagrams album. Previous news bits have John Frusciante playing on the guitars and RZA doing production. Now like suspected it ended up elsewhere. The new bobby digital album to be exact.
To be fair the track is real nice. No real bobby feel here. I approve.
On another note, the cover you see here is done by Gary Alford and seems to be an early sketch for the cover. The album is slated for a July 1st release.
Only a couple of months late. Now there is nobody to care and everybody moved on. Nothing lasts forever and they better serve up some damn good video tomorrow on April the 4th. With the members in it or I’m calling borked.
When I first heard this, cold shivers. Now the Swedish Sincerely Yours made a video ssnippet of that song. Just enjoy one of the last great ODB songs.
Thank you for not playing along with the charade. For not doing the expected, for not doing the simple. Thank you for not running and hiding. And above all – thank you for having fun.
Some people are just too real for this world.
And, you know we didn’t mean anything by that thing about who we’d pick last to sleep over at the HQ. There’s always a special place here for you.
SY February 2008
Olâ€™ Dirty Bastard – â€œWastinâ€™ Time (No More)â€
About now a whole lot of people have taken notice of the Shaolin vs Wu-Tang website. Which makes it look like Rae may very well go through with it his ‘punch you in the face’ Clan album. Not so much. A quick look shows us the website is registered to a British resident. An infamous Wu-Tang fan and previous host of the short lived wutangcorpse.com, taken down by the server host after it got scared of several legal threats.
Most reports on this website feature the name KZA, used by the current news poster behind the site. This name though is known for the web master of the wutangworld.com. Which was closed down several years ago after WuTangDynasty.com went on to be WuTangCorp. Before that there was always a flaming war going on between the members of both sites. KZA has immortalized himself with dropping ‘wutangworld dot com‘ in front of the exclusive Wu-Tang songs he had on his website. So in fact KZA is not KZA the frenchman we used to know.
For the average Wu fan it is common knowledge that, despite the fact that one calls himself bobby digital, the Wu is not well known for it’s digital entrepreneurship. From RZA not knowing that he could make money of the AOL install included on Wu-Tang Forever to the scamming of fans. Orders that were placed & paid for vinyl and cds, which were sometimes never made or never sent out. Launching various websites but never fully updating one. www.wu-tang.com, www.bobbydigital.com, www.wutangfilmz.com. And now www.wumusicgroup.com next to WuTangCorp.com. The Wu just fucks up on this side of the world.
Having seen the website I can say that it is all good. Just like us they will collect all the news on the net, but with a sharper touch to it. Not afraid to drop names. Frontline Wu-Tang news and off course it has more international url then we have. In case your wondering what it all means, its Dutch for bird dance gang. The site will also likely feature discographies and lyrics. A must for any music website.
ShaolinvsWuTang.com may not be official, yet. But it may be the best thing that could have happened for Rae. A fan running the deep into unfamiliar terrority for him. And all he has to do is be there when the ball nears the end line. Take it and score.
Currently there is now date for the launch of the website.
Anybody remember the reversed RZA line on Life Changes? Which turned out to be ‘fuck ’em in the butt’. I think some may have missed that because we ran the article quite some time before the album got released. Well here are the two bits again.
Life Changes Snippet Original
Life Changes Snippet Reversed
So you heard the thing. Now that piece originates from the infamous Radio 1 Tim Westwood show they did around the release of Forever. Listen to the next sample to hear what it was all about.
Wu-Tang Clan Live In London – X-Rated
Download the Complete Live Session here.
Adn do it because it is a classic piece of Wu-Tang history. Meth, Dirty & RZA taking calls and leaving the callers clueless. And it goes on for quite some time too. Check it out.
Chambermusik caught up with lounge Lo. Talking with him about his latest effort the Simpstonian Institute. They touch the subject of the Clan, Remedy, Cilvaringz & Cappadonna. Entertaining and interesting.
Lounge Lo Chamber Musik Interview
Some video’s from the interview after the jump.
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This week I got a couple of tracks by Dutch rapper Sluwe Voszz. This man managed to secure a couple of Wu-Fam featurings on his debut Gevangen Emotie. Most notable the crazy 4th Disicple beat on Hip Hop. Besides that he got two tracks by B9.
To close this Mixtape Saturday down I posted the new Killah Priest track Stained Glass Theory, the True Master snippet with his only known solo song Who’s The Truest. We got the Rubbabands Prok Chops track and a Termanology track featuring Trife & Sun God. Coming straight from the latest J-Ronin mixtape All Elements Vol. 8.
More interesting is the recent floating of Rebel INS his Got My Mind Made Up verse. Out of nowhere this surfaced. The story behind this track is that 2Pac took the track from Tha Dogg Pound, which originally also had Lady Of Rage on it. He liked it, recorded his own verse. Only it was a bit too long so he cut both INS & Rage off.
Closer is a 18 minute freestyle by Mister Mef. He did this in the early ninties on a the famous Dutch Masters show in the Netherlands. A straight classic like you rarely hear them nowadays.
Sluwe Voszz – Bakenesser Gracht ft. Apathy [Prod. Beretta 9]
Sluwe Voszz – Hip Hop ft. Shabazz [Prod. 4th Disciple]
Sluwe Voszz – Untitled ft. Beretta 9 [Prod. Beretta 9]
Sluwe Voszz – Wie Wil een Probleem? ft. Trife [Prod. Iron Shiek]