Behind Ghostface600’s music is an alchemist- like quality, both in his de facto subject matter, experimental flows and magnetic melodies. Towards the end of last year, he was in the throws of his mixtape release – titled ‘Tugg Melodies Ape Colour’ – paying homage to his late friend Tugga.
For Ghostface, music is never about the bag, he takes pride and joy in his formula. If you think of his forthcoming album as the refined full-length feature, ‘TMAC’ is like the gritty director’s cut; a collection of some of his most matter-of-fact work to date. He doesn’t flex any kind of lifestyle, it’s more a speak-your-truth testimony, littered with direct lyrics and loosely arranged instrumentation. “With ‘TMAC’ I wanted to bring loads of different people into my core fanbase. I’m still gonna go back to the dark mask on Ghostface; but bring some versatility into it too.” He tells VIPER, “for me, I’m just releasing music that I like… I’m aiming to be the best UK rapper.”
Hungry to feed his creativity, Ghostface has always been eager to investigate ways he can orchestrate his own reality and earn a place at the top of the food chain. A CEO of his own label and a highly respected member of Block 6, the 29-year-old is not known for his antics on IG, or controversial statements; he saves that for the music. Growing up around Lewisham and Catford, his sonic footprint was influenced by the likes of Giggs, Gas Gang, DMX, 50 Cent and of course, injections of Michael Jackson’s melodies coming from his grandparents sound system. Through the gaze of his notorious masked façade, he went on to build his career in music.
The following conversation is about who Ghostface is, how he does what he does and the complexity it entails. Sat talking from separate corners of the Lewisham borough, we nerd out about legends from south London, his unabated love for music, being asked to write for Post Malone and conjuring new ideas for a Ghostface film production in the vein of horror (Elon Musk cameo included).
Growing up around Catford and Lewisham, how has that influenced the music you’re making today?
It influenced me quite a lot, growing up in Lewisham. There’s the lingo we speak and the way we pronounce things; even the way I sing. South east is like a different sound altogether, it’s definitely influenced me a lot. With Lewisham youts, it’s more out there and flamboyant; whereas if you went somewhere like Brixton or Peckham, they’re dark with it. But when you look at where I’m from – Catford – that’s really the only place where you’ve got that flamboyant essence; it’s on a different wave.
What kind of records do you remember blasting from the sound systems in your neighbourhood? DMX, D-Block, 50 Cent, obviously ‘Bulletproof’ [and] the whole G-Unit thing was popping back then, so I used to hear a lot of that coming out of the whips. Obviously my dad used to bang out a lot of tunes as well so I’d hear a lot of what he was listening to. Sometimes the yardie man would be playing some old Reggae joint, like Red Rat!
Listening to these artists when you were younger, did it ever cross your mind that this is something you could be doing one day?
I kind of just wanted to do anything that I felt was right, I never necessarily looked at music as something I could do when I got older. But I never looked at anything in that way when I was young, I was just enjoying the moment and it was that kind of mentality that allowed me to do whatever I want. I can go and be a kickboxer tomorrow, for example, so my mindset in music now is that it comes from enjoyment instead of thinking about the money.
I know Michael Jackson is one of your biggest musical influences. Can you remember your experience hearing him for the first time?
I remember my grandad and nan used to show me MJ when I was about five and they used to show me how my mum used to be a huge fan as well. My mum had gone off it by the time I was paying attention but she introduced me to Garage music. So from that age, it was just a Michael Jackson kind of flex and it all got incorporated into the music I make, on top of coming from Lewisham it all mixes together; that high-pitched sound.
This is an extract from the SS23 issue of Viper Magazine. Buy physical and digital copies here.
Photography: MACKENZIE QUICKE
Words: SOPHIA HILL
Creative Direction: EDDIE CHEABA
Styling: JAKE LOUIS PASS,
Gaffer: ORLA HOWSON