NEW YORK — When Ghostface Killah says his new video is "like Oz," he's not talking about the place where a singing clan of 3-foot-tall lollipop lovers celebrated the death of the land's meanest ride-or-die chick.
No, rap's Iron Man is thinking more of the institution where inmates are either loving or killing each other.
"We're in the Bronx House, a correctional facility," Ghost explained
recently during a break while shooting his video for "Run." "It's a
grimy song. We couldn't show things on TV how we wanted to, so [filming
in prison] is a political move. We have a nice story, where we get
bagged for [crimes] we did. It wasn't like that when we wrote the song.
You got brothers who get away when you gotta run. But to get your video
played, you gotta show like, 'OK, we got bagged for what we did.'
That's why we in jail now." (Click for photos from the set of "Run.")
Jadakiss and newjack Comp are helping Ghost mix his energetic
performance and moralistic tale.
"Every time I seen him, son was always like, 'Lets make history,' "
Ghost said of how Jada got on the track. "So I was in the midst of
making my album and was like, 'Yo, son might sound good on this right
here.' I did my verse and sent it to him. When he got it, he was going
crazy. He called me up and was like, 'Yo, this is bananas. It's off the
meat rack.' "
"It's a pleasure," Jada said about teaming with the bathrobe-rocking
flow king. He'd filmed a scene in the day room and an action sequence
in the stairwell earlier in the shoot, and now had to change clothes
and ascend to the frigid roof to run and rap. "I came up listening to
the Wu. When Ghost called, it wasn't even a problem. The video's crazy.
It's a beautiful ambiance."
Jada's LOX cohort Styles P didn't share his teammate's enthusiasm.
After he, Sheek and J-Hood shot their cameos, Styles was all too happy
to get out of jail. It brought back a few bad memories, no doubt.
Ghost, who also did time a while ago, wasn't too hyped about the set,
either, but made it happen in the name of art.
"This is business," Ghost said. "It's work. I wouldn't wanna be in here,
but this is like shooting a movie. What you gonna do, turn it down
'cause it's a jail and you been in here before? This is what you gotta
do right now."
No doubt Ghost, who lip-synced raps in front of a green screen with
Jada and Comp during the day, will enjoy more pleasant surroundings in
a few weeks, when he and Missy Elliott film the next clip from Ghost's
March album, Pretty Tony.
" 'Run' is just a street single," Ghost (a.k.a. Tony, as in Iron Man's
secret identity, Tony Stark) explained. "The real single is 'Toosh,'
with Missy. As soon as I heard the beat, I heard her on it, so I wrote
my part with her in mind. She was hard to get to. You know Missy is
busy. I had to leave a message on one of her girlfriends' phones. 'Yo,
all I want her to do is listen to it. If she don't like it, she don't
gotta mess with it. Just hear it for me, please.' She fell in love with
it when she heard it. She had her verse the next day."
Ghost has had to turn plenty of verses around quickly in the last few
weeks. He's all over the mixtapes, just finished a duet with Scarface
for mixtape king Kay Slay's new album and has a remix of Beyoncé's
"Me, Myself and I" out. And if you still haven't had your fill of
Ghost, you can catch a brief glimpse of Slick Rick giving him his
jewels in Jay-Z's "Encore" video, which was filmed in November during
Hov's Madison Square Garden concert.
"Yo, G, it was real," GFK said of the once-in-a-lifetime show. "Slick
was there, he seen me and was like, 'Hold that.' Bong! It felt good
knowing you back home in Madison Square Garden and the people are
behind you. Every roar was electrifying and gave me energy. They felt
me and I felt the same thing. The whole house went crazy and I was
trucked. It's glory time. All I'm trying to do is feed my babies and
make good music."