Thursday, May 18, 2017

Interview with GHOST DOG

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine sits down and chats with rising indie hip hop recording artist GHOST DOG about his past, present and future!  Ghost Dog has been getting lots of publicity lately for his recent project Dreams Of a Wandering Samurai, and has been featured in everything from ThisIs50, to Boom Bap Universe and everything in between.  Recently GHOST DOG was listed in our Southeast Hip Hop Magazine TOP ARTISTS FROM NORTH NORTH CAROLINA TO BECOME AS SUCCESSFUL AS J. COLE!  Read all about him in the interview below and certainly find out why he was one of the few selected for that list!  

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine:  What's up Ghost Dog, are you ready for this interview?Ghost Dog:  Yessir!!!  Most definitely!!!

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine:  How did you come up with the name Ghost Dog?
Ghost Dog:  Well; the name comes from a movie starring Forrest Whitaker; & the
main character was heavy into the code of Bushido and had certain
mannerisms about him that I would say kinda fit my character without
even trying.  The movie also prominently featured passages from a book
of samurai wisdom called the Hagakure.  Ghost Dog was somewhat of an
assassin & swordsman with a bit of a rough past....I was a bit of a
knucklehead coming up, but I was always into Eastern philosophy &
martial arts and was able to make a complete transition out of a
troublesome lifestyle when I was able to start training in '01.  The
Hagakure was a pivotal book in said transition as well and now I see
myself as a bit of a lyrical swordsman & assassin, so I guess it all
comes full-circle.

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine:  How would you describe yourself as an emcee?
Ghost Dog:  Like I said, I consider myself a bit of a lyrical swordsman.
Definitely an emcee as opposed to a rapper, and lyricist & hip-hop
HEAD.  In that regard I try to model my work ethic after the samurai
in that I make sure I am coming from the deepest part of myself in all
that I do and tend to be multi-faceted as opposed to one-dimensional.
My concepts & tracks range from life-jewels to concept tracks to
homages to hip-hop to current events to politics to spiritual matters
& everything in between (as long as it's genuine; you will never find
me making 'x' type of track for the sake of making said type of track;
or a 'club banga' or 'one for the ladies' just because it's
expected/popular/does numbers...)

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine:  Who were some of your musical influences coming up?
Ghost Dog:  Wu-Tang, Boot Camp, KRS-One, Public Enemy, NWA, Ice Cube, Geto Boys, and Jeru
the Damaja were all heavy to me coming up, and while PE & KRS planted the
seed early that I had yet to wake up to, Talib Kweli & DJ Hi-Tek
'Reflection Eternal' was part of that aforementioned catalyst along
with the Hagakure and my immersion in martial arts that really helped me
to turn my life around.

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine:  Who are some of the artists you listen to now?
Ghost Dog:  Still Wu-Tang (as a group & solo efforts), Killah Priest (favorite
emcee), Run the Jewels, Blueprint, Supastition, a lot of local/Indie
emcees (Lazurus is a good example), & lately I've been enjoying this
resurgence of Native Tongues that's hit (De La Soul & that new
Tribe....RIP Phife....), & the archives (Gravediggaz is one of my
all-time favorite crews as well; RIP Grym Reap...), & Sunz of Man (& a
ton of others...)

I also respect Kendrick, Lupe (Tetsuo & Youth was tha jam), Joey
Bada$$, and Hopsin....although I dunno how his actual album(s) panned
out & need to check for him

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine:  Do you ever feel the traditional, golden era boom bap sound for hip hop will return?
Ghost Dog:  While I don't feel like the golden era will make a comeback in the
traditional sense, I DO see a shift & return to actual lyricism and
professional emceeing; & the peops who pay homage may have that
boom-bap influence even as we see the production & vibe continue to

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine: How do you feel about the current state of hip hop?
Ghost Dog:  I feel like just when it seemed like the scene was a garden about to
get choked out by so many weeds & vines of mumble-mouth, trap/panda
rap, a few emcees in this latest generation made it commercially
acceptable to spit bars & bring it back to some of
the older heads (ex: Native Tongues) started droppin bangaz again that
are actually getting critical acclaim.  Now....if we could ever get an
actual Jay Electronica album....

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine: How has your 2017 been so far?
Ghost Dog:  Man it's off to a phenomenal start.  Dropped my full-length LP
Dreams of a Wandering Samurai.  It's been getting some very good
support, reviews, & write-ups.  Have my next project Beware the
Phantom Blade
on-track for a late-summer release (I'm also part
of a 2-man crew called Phantom Blade w/ emcee/producer Sharp Cuts),
made cameos in some really cool videos, and have a solid block of paying
shows lined up a few pretty high-profile collabs in the works, & my next solo project
conceptualized & halfway-recorded (not to mention another Phantom
Blade project in the works...)

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine:  You currently have an album out titled Dreams of a Wandering
Samurai, could you tell the readers and viewers a little about the
concept for the project?
Ghost Dog:  Dreams of a Wandering Samurai is a bit of a double-entendre....let me
start by saying; sometimes I'm referred to as Ghost tha Ronin (which
translates as wandering samurai/swordsman) so in a sense these are my
dreams....there actually is a recurring theme (via a couple of skits &
a track or two & how they tie together) having to do with sleeping,
dreaming, & even the transition between being asleep & awake, but in
a whole different sense, all the songs represent the hopes, dreams, &
aspirations that make up who I well as things I have a deep
appreciation for.  As such, you'll hear about everything from my love
for video games and anime, to real-life situations (that ironically came
about from me falling asleep behind the wheel....long story & it was
from exhaustion & not foolishness...), & everything in between.  This
is also a celebration of everything I love; from hip-hop to my
brethren in 1100 Hunters (my crew), Phantom Blade (my side-crew), &
Cypher UniverCity (an organization of freestyle emcees that I helped
to start at NC State with my 1100 brethren that now spans 6-7 college
campuses in NC...)

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine:  Who all did you work with for this project?
Ghost Dog: Emcees: EA Poetry, Royal Entry, Lo' Ki, Lizh, Mike L!ve, Ill Tactics,
Cas Won, Dinco D (L.O.N.S.), Inqwesson, Eternal, Jrusalam, Sharp,
Shadowstar Boxer, Crafsmen, Silhouette, Cyrano Sinatra, Citero, &

Producers: D F L N (RIP Derrick Curtis), Manifest Beats, L. Jones,
Sampai (Nouveau Souffle; France), Cy Matic, Abstract Beats, HD
Productions, Dr. G (Ghetto Government; UK), DJ Spcl Gst, Finian St. Omer II aka
Chaundon (under his Gemstones banner; Golden Era Music), G.I.C., Sharp
Cuts, & Hattory Productions

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine:  What's next for Ghost Dog?
Ghost Dog:  Got a show in Raleigh @ Imurj's Grand Opening in about 30 min, a show
in Greensboro June 17th @ NYP (Rap Roulette hosted by Ed E. Ruger), ad
I'm opening for Meyhem Lauren in Portland, ME July 1st.  Then my
next official leg of the Building Bridges Tour with Cesar Comanche
(Justus League) kicks off in Houston, TX on July 20th.  We have about
15 dates booked & a hip-hop workshop in New Orleans; plus a festival
in Orlando, FL and we're still booking.

Like I said before, I have appeared in 3 videos for fellow emcees
(shouts to Dan Lewin), but none for any of my own works.  This year I
plan on changing that; starting with a track off the last Phantom
Blade project ('The Barber's Chair EP'...)

Recording/music-wise, I plan to keep pushing 'Dreams of a Wandering
Samurai', 'Beware the Phantom Blade'
is scheduled for an August
release, and I plan to finish recording my next solo LP 'Warrior's
(featuring production from D.R.U.G.S. Beats; who won a Grammy
for his production on Dr. Dre's 'Compton' & a collab from Prince Po of
Organized Konfusion) & Sharp have also started recording the
next Phantom Blade project as well....

Southeast Hip Hop Magazine:  Is there anything else you would like to plug?  Any shout outs?Yea shouts to my 1100 fam, my Cypher U brethren, my brother from
another mother Sharp Cuts, my VA brethren Crafsmen, & tha big homie
Cesar Comanche; as well as all the peops who have been holding me down
from day one (Kenny Cash what up!!!!)

Booking inquiries:
Twitter: @ghostdogmc
Facebook:  Ghost Dog MC


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