One this night July 13, 2014, those words had a brand new meaning to me. It was a night where I had to expect the unexpected. When it comes to Wu gigs, whether group or solo, I usually travel with the Wu-nited Kingdom street team. On this day my crew had transportation problems, leaving me to go out and represent alone. Admittedly, I felt on edge, but I had faith and said to my cousin who I stayed with some words that were said by the man himself:
“GOD IS MY BODYGUARD…” (Ghostface Killah, The Pretty Toney Album Intro, 2004)
The first time I saw the Wallabee Champ he was accompanied by his Theodore Unit, Killah Priest and MF DOOM. When they were all on stage performing ‘Triumph’ it was a surreal experience (particularly in the case of MF DOOM. He also paid homage to Amy Winehouse who passed away in that year. (Side note – Ghost appeared on the remix of Winehouse’s hit ‘You Know I’m No Good’).
This time around he would be accompanied by his D-Block partner – Sheek Louch of The LOX. The pair released the Wu-Block album last year and there are already rumblings of a sequel in the works, unfortunately none of those tracks were performed on this night. Disappointing? Maybe, but can you forgive them? A resounding YES.
Massive props go out to the supporting act Dope D.O.D. who performed like they WERE the main event and could have went an extra half an hour with their set. It was a great feeling to see these guys appreciated by the audience instead of them taking group selfies and uploading them to instagram.
Watching Dope D.O.D. on stage reminded me of Onyx and their demeanor. These guys have worked with the Snowgoons, ASAP Mob, Sean Price and Redman to name a few. Their new video ‘Ridiculous is out now. Great booking by the promoters, the crowd found themselves sweating well before the main event. Special shout out to the DJ who catered for the ‘trapped in the 90s ninjas’ hitting them with the head nod ‘ish to make the crowd break their neck!
At 2130 hours I maintained my position and did what I do best: RePPiN4U!!!! It’s not just a slogan, it’s not just a Black Milk track I named this brand after, it’s my way of life. The way Tony Starks entered the Scala validated my debates with my fellow Wu family: Supreme Clientele is simply the finest Ghostface solo album. He did it the first time and he does it again here, using the Ironman intro skit used in the album and Ghost bursting on the stage performing ‘Nutmeg’. It’s not long before Starks introduces his co-host – Sheek Louch and the pair go on a back to back plethora of hits from ‘All about the Benjamins’ to ‘Ice Cream’, from ‘Mighty D-Block’ to ‘Mighty Healthy’, supporting each other as hype men. I didn’t know whether to film, or go crazy! So I decided to do both!
Highlights included the ‘Proteck Ya Neck’ performance. Ghost & Sheek asked for brave volunteers to go up and stage and perform Method Man & ODB’s verse. I will hold my hands up and brand myself a coward because I didn’t have the grapefruits to live the dream and perform among greatness…on the flip side, if I did, where’s the evidence? Considering I was all alone, and Ghostface claiming that if the guys mess up their lines, the crowd are entitled to BOO them off the stage!!! So yes I could have went up, god forbid I messed up my lines and get booed without anyone seeing but it would be on the off-chance that you would find the video on YouTube uploaded by somebody else entirely.
I give mad props to the two volunteers who did what I couldn’t do… and even adopting the characters of Method Man & ODB respectively. They gave it 110% in all that!! I bet the adrenaline rush they had been off the scale. Looking back, if the track was ‘Triumph’, and my Wu-nited Kingdom brethren were there, I would have definitely done it.
“Shoulda Woulda Coulda…” (Brian McKnight, 2003)
This would be followed by the traditional tributes of Ol’ Dirty Bastard and The Notorious B.I.G. by Wu-Block respectively. Since both fallen soldiers were very soulful and Motown influenced, this would be Wu-Block’s moment to call on the ladies to jump on stage and partake in a little dance and make the music tell the story. At this point I knew what was coming up next as did most Wu fans who attend many Wu shows. Since I’m in the mood of clarity, I admit that I didn’t like ‘Cherchez LaGhost’ at first… but I never saw the 360! Why did some women run off the stage though? They should know by now that Ghost will always say ‘shake that @$$ girl, make that pu$$y wet’? Or was it because they feared they were gonna become the latest groupies?
Special shout out going out to Sun God who made an impact. Ghostface’s son’s performance showed that when Wu-Tang said they are forever they meant it.
“I’m raw, I’m rugged and raw, I repeat, if I die
My seed’ll be ill like me…” (Ghostface Killah, Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber, 1993)
Mosh Pit moment of the night was one that the crowd can take credit for. Ghost continues his interaction when he asks the fans what tune they wanna hear. He got a unanimous response when the crowd screamed – RUN!!!!! Shout out to a real head in the building when he shouted – ‘BATMAN’!!!!! That caught Ghost and Sheek’s attention while the DJ was searching for that vinyl! Another fan shouted ‘Triumph’ and Ghost ribbed him: “Triumph? Nah we ain’t got that n!**@!”
When the DJ dropped that ‘RUN!’ track…. Scala became a full-scale riot. That frantic RZA production had a capacity crowd fighting like a shot at the title at WrestleMania was on the line! Bouncers would be damned fools to break that up!
My personal highlights were when Sheek drew for tracks like ‘Money, Power Respect’, ‘Wild Out’ and the DJ Premier banger ‘Recognize’… Sheek reminded me that I got that ‘We Are The Streets’ album in my collection. Ghost had me going insane when he performed ‘One’, ‘Fish’ and ‘Holla’… on those tracks, particularly Holla and ‘I Can’t Go To Sleep’, Ghost’s emotions were spilled out on stage like the oil in the Gulf War in ’91. These moments had shown that this show was radically different from the show I saw two years ago. It also showed that Sheek & Ghost have hits for decades… just like Method Man, Redman & Busta Rhymes in November, a 90 minute set is simply NOT ENOUGH. Heads hoping for selection from 12 Reasons to Die would also be disappointed as no tracks were performed from that album. In the last 5 minutes Ghost & Sheek were teasing the fans with 15 second clips of tracks they didn’t perform, yes it was frustrating but understanding.
But what would follow after the show was something I wasn’t prepared for. The story of how Ghostface Killah became my all time favourite MC is well documented, and it comes to a shock to those who don’t know me well, scratching their heads and probably thinking ‘Why not Nas, Jay, Pac, BIG or Eminem’? While those guys are a favourite to many, and I like em all, they don’t impact my life personally like Ghostface did. The Supreme Clientele album came at a time when people tried to tell me to STOP listening to Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang have fell off, that type of thing, touching a nerve so to speak but then the Apollo Kids video came out and it had Ghost & Raekwon with Championship belts, claiming that Wu-Tang are the TRUE champions. That video, along with the album had the same people who doubted the Wu start believing again. It’s one thing to be star struck when I discovered Ghostface was following me on twitter but to have a photo taken with the Supreme Clientele Champion himself was an outer body experience. That picture of him with the belt was in my head when I refered him as ‘MY CHAMPION…Big up yourself Ghostface, A Better Tomorrow!’ and his reply was ‘Thanks a lot B, that’s appreciated’. That moment, PRICELESS.