Everyone else in the music-nostalgia repackaging business, consider this an official warning to step up your game. As Pitchfork points out, a label called Get On Down is re-releasing Ghostface Killah's classic 1996 debut, Ironman, as a "Premium Collection: Gold Edition" package — and that package comes with an Ironman album cover puzzle. There's only 2,000 of them available, and each includes a remastered 24k "audiophile gold disc" CD, a "cherrywood trophy box," a 48-page hardcover book, and — oh, yeah — that Ghostface puzzle.
On Thursday, Ghostface Killah stopped by MTV's RapFix Live to plug Wu-Block, the new collaborative effort from him and D-Block's Sheek Louch, and happened to get on the topic of his recent, odd little legal skirmish. While taking fan questions over Twitter (how 2012 of you, RapFix Live!), Ghost was asked, "There are rumors that Marvel is trying to sue you over Ironman. How wack is that?"
"Our crew had lots of meanings for the words Wu-Tang — ‘Witty, Unpredictable Talent and Natural Game,’ ‘We Usually Take Another N****’s Garments’ — in China, I learned another, the original one: ‘Man who is deserving of God.’ So in that sense, we are all Wu-Tang. You are Wu-Tang." RZA writes those words in The Tao of the Wu, his stew of memoir and spiritual philosophy, penned with Chris Norris and released in 2010. It’s one part 150-page koan, one part gripping reflection on almost dying every day in Brooklyn. Fun book, you should read it. It’s an unlikely dichotomy. But then, RZA’s had an unlikely life.
A website exists on the Internet called Rap Genius, and its primary function is to explain the lyrics to hip-hop songs. While the scope of the site has grown in recent months, from blogging, to giving artists verified accounts, to irresponsibly corrupting potentially illiterate, troubled 16-year-old rappers and then laughing about it and putting it on the Internet for all to see, its greatest gift to society is simply being a place that has all the lyrics, organized in a sophisticated manner.
In extremely related news, the 2012 Olympics are taking place.
The rap crew is evolving. Historically, it’s been a conglomeration of artists, based around one star, and calling one geographical region home. Basically: Once the star would get on, the next logical step would be to put on all his boys from the neighborhood. This wasn’t always the best idea, of course; just because you grew up with a famous rapper does not necessarily mean that you, too, should be a famous rapper. That meant crew albums could be wildly uneven releases, with the star’s material flooded by inferior product from kids with whom he used to play dodgeball. For the conscientious rap fan, extended crew members could be objects of derision and mockery. A comically derogatory term was coined to connote those nepotism rappers: weed carriers.