The Definition: Ghostface Killah’s 20 Best Guest Verses

ghost and rae

If Dennis Coles isn’t your favorite Wu-Tang Clan member, you’re puffing too much dust. Ever since he caught the blast of a hype verse in 1993 he’s been the rabid one, babbling jumbled code in a language only Wu heads and woolie smokers alike can comprehend. Even if you don’t understand it, you have to love it.

He has what can only be called the best catalog of all the Wu-Tang compatriots, starting with one of the most slept-on of the first-wave solo Wu classics, Ironman, but his esteemed reputation as one of the craziest guys in the group extends to his guest verses, where he continued to cobble nonsense together in magnificent form.

He’s made outlandish appearances on songs by Babyface and Jodeci, blacked out on tracks with GZA and Cormega, and bested everyone from Prodigy to MF DOOM. Pretty Tone Capone comparisons be damned – these are Ghost’s 20 Best Guest Verses.m

20. RZA – “Saïan” (Feat. Ghostface Killah & Saïan Supa Crew) [Prod. by RZA] (2003)

While RZA was transitioning from Korg Triton beats to movie scores, he put together a compilation of foreign rappers over his beats called The World According To RZA. Little of it is in English, but Ghost says things like “surround sound tre pound” on this cut, so there are jewels to be found.

19. Sunz of Man – “Saviorz Day” (Feat. Ghostface Killah & Madam D) [Prod. by Fatal Son] (2002)

In later years, Ghost would slow down his flow, reflecting a new outlook that departed from the druggy days of the Wu. Content echoes technique as Ghost takes a sobering look at his new life in a verse that’s like the flip side of “Malcolm.”

18. DJ Muro – “Roosevelts” (Feat. Ghostface Killah, Raekwon & Trife Da God) [Prod. by DJ Muro] (2006)

“Ghetto celeb, sharksin threads” is such a succinct image; it’s like we’re seeing Ghost as is own hood does when he rolls through draped in linen so fine it makes their eyes wide.

17. Hi-Tek – “Josephine” (Feat. Ghostface Killah, Pretty Ugly & The Willie Cottrell Band) [Prod. by Hi-Tek] (2006)

Two months before Hi-Tek dropped Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip, Ghost released More Fish, which was more of a collaboration album than a solo LP. Both albums included “Josephine,” with Ghost spinning a story of Courtney Cox, who had an “asshole burning like Tabasco.” That simile alone merits placement.

16. De La Soul – “He Comes” (Feat. Ghostface Killah) [Prod. by Dave West] (2004)

This unexpected joining of two wildly different East Coast personas is delightful. You have to crack a smile when Ghost jumps into the Du Koo Kim/Moo Loo Inn scheme. He’s one of few who can sound silly and make your neck snap at the same time.

15. Method Man & Redman – “Run 4 Cover” (Feat. Ghostface Killah & Street Life) [Prod. by RZA] (1999)

Any Ghost verse that mentions King Tut automatically cuts to the front of the line. He’s larger than life on this one, sitting through storms to hand out turkeys and going on PGA tours with Jack Nicklaus.

14. Danger Doom – “The Mask” (Feat. Ghostface Killah) [Prod. by Dangermouse] (2005)

I consider DOOM to be one of the greats, so when Ghost shows him up with the very first line, it’s hard to deny Deini’s status. We’ll probably never get Swift & Changeable, but stock up on the random tracks these two have done throughout the years (peace to “Alex”) to get your fix.

13. Charli Baltimore – “Stand Up” (Feat. Ghostface Killah) [Prod. by RZA] (1999)

When I was in high school, I got a new number for weed. They came through in an all-white car smoking a blunt and as I copped a sack, they asked if I wanted any coke. I declined but said I had friends that might be interested so I’d hook these guys up. As I hopped out, I remember them laughing and saying, “Na…we’ll hook you up!” I thought that was an odd answer.

When I got back to the crib I busted out the nug and to my surprise, it had a lot more THC crystals than I was used to. I rolled it up and faced a dub on my roof, and when I got home my heart started beating faster than Lance Armstrong on a bike. I got into the shower and realized I could speed up my heartbeat (with the cold water) and then slow it down (with the hot water). I think I was in there for an hour. The weed was laced.

All that to say I understand what Ghost means when he says, “Red hairs is killin’ it, knotted up, twistin’ the green, see the crystals in it?”

12. Cappadonna – “Oh Donna” (Feat. Ghostface Killah) [Prod. by Mathematics] (1998)

Cappadonna’s solo debut The Pillage came without critical acclaim despite it’s dark, seething tone and songs like “Oh Donna,” which found Papi Wardrobe and Ghost trading voodoo verses. The latter sounds like he’s possessed – who says shit like “Cream of Wheet steez pushed back, we in a spaceship / Like the Jetsons, ashtray slide refreshments”? Ghost paints a picture without the most coherent words – that’s why he’s one of the illest of all time.

11. Ol’ Dirty Bastard – “Brooklyn Zoo II (Tiger Crane)” [Feat. Ghostface Killah] (Prod. by RZA) [1995]


Ghost sounds like he’s fucking wiling in the booth, just like Ason Unique does on every single song from his classic debut album. Judging by this song, there should have been way more Ghostface x ODB collabs.

10. GZA – “Investigative Reports” (Feat. Raekwon, U-God & Ghostface Killah) [Prod. by RZA] (1995)

No one grabs your attention like Starks. He can unhinge any solo album with a verse like this one. Explaining why this verse is insane is just foolish. Fuck it.

9. Jodeci – “Freek’n You (Mr. Dalvin’s Freek Mix)” [Feat. Ghostface Killah & Raekwon] (Prod. by Mr. Dalvin) [1995]

Early in his career, Ghost showed that he could get in nice with the ladies. Two tracks on Ironman – the Teddy Pendergrass-sampling “Camay” and the seminal “All That I Got Is You” – proved Ghost had a softer side. “Freek’n You” sealed the deal. It might contain the only verse to ever name drop Lorna Doone cookies and Islam, but the way Ghost ends the track – “All day like Harry Belafonte,” followed by, “It be the Wu-Tang, Jodeci joint pulling ladies like a hamstring” – is the cherry on top of a classic record.

8. Busta Rhymes – “The Heist” (Feat. Ghostface Killah, Raekwon,  & Roc Marciano) [Prod. by Large Professor] (2000)

Colors pop through the speakers as Ghost details a diamond theft. From chocolate milk to Fruit Loop jewels, Tony’s verse runs the gamut of pigments, all while recounting the “precise rituals” of robbing a jeweler.

7. Babyface – “This Is For The Lover In You” (Puffy’s Face 2 Face Mix) [Prod. by Sean “Puffy” Combs & Stevie J] (1996)

Puff is a genius because he’s never out of his comfort zone; he balances the streets and the radio in each palm.  So in ’96, he reached out to the red suede Wally don to replace the lip licking LL Cool J, and Ghost destroyed not one, but three verses on this shit.

6. Real Live – “Real Live Shit (Remix)” [Feat. Ghostface Killah, Cappadonna, Killa Sin & Lord Tariq] (Prod. by K-Def) [1996]

You might recognize Ghost’s verse from the recently unearthed original version of Mobb Deep’s “Eye For An Eye,” but he ended up using it for this instead.  No one does willful ignorance better than Ghost – “Today’s math, fuckin’ nothin’ but ass, take Cristal baths.” It’s not as celebrated as his other guest verses, but it’s stuffed with undecipherable bars like “swine inside Hostess cakes” and “whitey’s callin’ me like a double date.” You don’t have to know what he’s talking about to marvel at his capacity to throw rhymes together.

5. Raekwon – “Guillotine Swordz” (Feat. Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah & GZA) [Prod. by RZA] (1995)

Let this entry be a catch-all for the 11 other songs that Ghost pops up on during Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (not counting the incredible “Rainy Dayz” remix). The phrase that stands out the most is his first one – “14 karat gold slum computer wizard” – and while it sounds like a diss, Ghost would later refer to he and Rae as “laptop niggas, thugs on a computer.” Who knows what it means. Every line of this whirlwind verse is bomb.

4. Pete Rock – “Tha Game” (Feat. Raekwon, Prodigy & Ghostface Killah) [Prod. by Pete Rock] (1998)

Ghost doesn’t waste a word on this classic collaboration. He name checks Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin and splits wigs with non-sequiturs like, “high brolic bank roll alcohol vulture.” It’s like watching Rain Man spit out statistics that nobody understands – you just know he’s right.

3. Cormega – “Tony /Montana” (Feat. Ghostface Killah) [Prod. by The Feil Brothers] (2004)

It’s hard to tell if Ghost punches this verse in, but it doesn’t sound like it, so the fact that you can barely hear him take a breath even once makes this verse that much more dazzling. Rappers don’t black out like this any more.

2. GZA – “4th Chamber” (Feat. Ghostface Killah, Killah Priest & RZA) [Prod. by RZA] (1995)

Ghost poses three of the most important questions in the history of human civilization on this verse. Memorizing every line is one of the first duties of any Wu-Tang disciple.

1. G-Dep – “Special Delivery (Remix)” [Feat. Craig Mack, Ghostface Killah & Keith Murray] (Prod. by EZ Elpee) [2002]

This could be one of the greatest guest verses in rap history. Ghost is flawless throughout with enough quotables to Harlem Shake a a stick at, but what’s really jarring about the song is how a dense, writerly heavyweight like Ghost can rock a club anthem so precisely. The reason thugs take so much glee when this rings off in the spot is because they can finally wile out to Tony Starks in public.

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