Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah calls Toronto rapper Drake 'brilliant'
Ghostface Killah is photographed in Toronto on Thursday, February 19, 2015. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Nick Patch, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, February 20, 2015 1:57PM EST
TORONTO -- Drake once paid respect to the Wu-Tang Clan with his "It's Yourz"-sampling homage "Wu-Tang Forever," and it turns out the admiration is mutual -- at least for certain members of the Staten Island rap institution.
After that song dropped, some fans sketched unflattering comparisons between the lyrically simplistic Drake single -- which reached No. 52 on the Billboard chart -- and Wu's hyper-intricate rhymes.
One meme positioned Drake's lyrics side-by-side with Inspectah Deck's opening verse on Wu-Tang's "Triumph," which begins: "I bomb atomically/ Socrates' philosophies and hypotheses/ Can't define how I be dropping these mockeries."
Inspectah Deck himself denounced Drake's tune on Twitter. But the Toronto rapper has a more supportive audience in Wu co-founder Ghostface Killah, whose verse closed the original "It's Yourz."
"Drake is brilliant," Ghostface told The Canadian Press during an interview before his show in Toronto on Thursday.
"I don't look at Drake like these other little rhyme guys nowadays, because I think he can really spit a rhyme. So I put him in a different category.
"A lot of people might try to play him out ... but I'm a lyricist, so once my antennas go up and I hear somebody who sounds really nice on the beat and got a lot of fans and stuff like that ... I keep listening to him.
"He's just one who caught my ear. He's really, really doing his thing. I can't (dump) on him. Nothing bad I can really say about him."
In fact, the Iron Man says he has imminent plans to scour Canada to see if there are any more Drakes tucked away within our borders.
Days before Ghostface was to release the collaborative album "Sour Soul" with Toronto instrumental jazz trio BadBadNotGood and locally reared producer Frank Dukes, he was detailing his plans to launch his own record label in Toronto -- just as Wu-mate Raekwon did in 2011 with IceH20 Records.
Ghostface said the launch of his label will be accompanied by a televised cross-country talent search, which he's planning for September. Called "Canada Takes the Mic" -- with broadcast plans yet to be announced -- the show will feature the 44-year-old rapper as one of several judges sizing up rap and R&B hopefuls.
At stake, he said, will be $100,000 and a record deal.
"I'm just saying to all the Canadian people: y'all got talent," he said. "I know there's a bunch of Drakes and Melanie Fionas and Biebers -- I know y'all got them, you know what I mean?
"I love Canada, that's why I chose to do it. Canada shows me so much love and I haven't been here much in like 15 years because of the borders, the customs and stuff like that. Now that I can come in and out a little bit, I'm ready to just come mess with the people."