Music Article

Ghost' Writer

Ghostface Killah explains his most obtuse lyrics -- ''Hype French mustard'', James Bond and ziti riddles are finally solved

Even for hip-hop scholars, Ghostface Killah's dense wordplay can be tough to decipher. The five-star rhyming chef dices words and phrases like no other, often adding fresh slang to his unique lexicon with each track. As the former Wu-Tang Clan member releases his excellent fifth solo LP, Fishscale, we sat him down and asked him to weigh in on some of his more puzzling passages.

''Fish''
IRONMAN 1996
Line: ''Grey Poupon is rebel on rap''
Explanation: ''This is my smooth s--- because Grey Poupon is like some hype French mustard, you know what I mean? I don't like Grey Poupon — I like French's. Everybody else was talking about it like it was the s--- because of that commercial, but I still like the yellow mustard.''

''Apollo Kids''
SUPREME CLIENTELE 2000
Line: ''Ay yo, this rap is like ziti, facin' me real TV/Crash at high speeds, strawberry kiwi''
Explanation: ''The rap's good because it's like ziti, which was my best food back then. I threw 'strawberry kiwi' on because I'm into experimenting. I was thinking of a style to write without nobody knowing what I was saying except for me.''

''Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)''
THE W 2000
Line: ''Wallo's comfortable, chocolate frosting/Your socks hangin' out, yours is talkin'''
Explanation: ''Like a nigga that had a hole in his chocolate-covered [Wallabee] shoes. You know when you walk around in your shoes too much and get a hole in the sole? The rubber is split — it's like your shoes are talking.''

''The Champ''
FISHSCALE 2006
Line: ''I'm James Bond in the octagon with two razors''
Explanation: ''I heard there was [a James Bond movie] where he was in the octagon [presumably a fighting ring], but I ain't seen it. I like Bond. He got mad gadgets and makes his s--- look live! Niggas be trying to trap him with all kinda ill s---, and he always finds a way to get out!''

Originally posted Mar 31, 2006 Published in issue #871 Apr 07, 2006 Order article reprints
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