Ghostface600 is one of the innovative rising stars in the drill music scene. Quickly becoming a recognisable face known for his highly unique engaging visuals and for infusing melodic elements into his distinctive sound. The Lewisham rapper has completely immersed himself in a world of his own creation. Ghostface600 has created individual personas to accompany his varying sound and styles. He is an artist with a very strong creative vision and big plans for the future.
His music is reflective of his real-life experiences, something he feels his fan base relates to strongly. Influenced by his lived experiences and his strong understanding of the world and industry he exists within, Ghostface600 has truly crafted an entire experience for his audience to indulge in. We sat with Ghostface600 to talk about his musical beginnings, hopes, aspirations and of course the new mixtape Tugg Melodies Ape Colours.
So you started out in music quite early in your teens and have been surrounded by music for a long time. We also know you started out writing for friends, how did you realise you had the writing ability to do that?
“Growing up I liked creating characters. And it’s just like I started creating my bredrin’s characters for them. It’s a bit mad.”
You said you create characters, as in artistic persona’s?
“Yeah, so it’s like, I can look at someone and I can see what they can become. And that’s like anyone. I can meet someone or I can see that. Or if I ask them what they want in their life and then they’ll tell me that I kind of can picture them being the best version of what they tell me, the best version of themself.
“A Lot of my bredrin’s rap, so I kind of just rapped for them in it. I can put them myself in their head because I’m kind of doing the same thing they do… it’s not really hard to do if you know what I mean.”
That’s a very unique way of entering the creative space. Now, in relation to you creating these characters for your friends, do you think that you’ve applied that same insight to your own musical character in terms of who you are as an artist now? Is Ghostface600 who you saw yourself being, is this your character?
“Of course, obviously, Ghostface600 is just Ghostface600. But I’m trying to do it so that other people can use the mask too, not even just my block, other blocks that are reppin’ the six as well. It’s a big project but I want to bring a lot of things together. I’m trying to try and do something big.”
It’s really interesting to hear you speak about this because I think we can all see the theatrical and dramatic elements of your aesthetic and visuals. I always think of the Phantom of the Opera when I see your mask…How involved are you with crafting the aesthetic that goes along with Ghostface600?
“I think the half mask was just a phase where I wanted to show half of my face which does look like, The Phantom of the opera. I’m highly heavily involved with a lot of people’s characters. I have been for a decade at least. And yeah, I do get heavily involved in the whole thing. All the visuals. If you notice you’ll see the different elements.
“You kind of know which character is coming out based on what you see in the video. If you see like a half Ghostface600 or full face or just, you know, you’ll also then know what the music will be like. You’ll know which type of music or which type of character you’re going to get.”
Okay, so in terms of how that then ties into the sound that you create. When you approach your creative process, with this bigger picture in mind, how do your ideas and concepts come to you for the actual music?
“That’s just vibes purely. I feel like behind closed doors it’s like a classroom in it. I say to all my friends…we didn’t listen in school. So we kind of fucked up. One thing in school is they taught us that we can do so many different things, science or maths or new things. But we didn’t apply ourselves to that. So when it comes to music, that’s what I kind of do behind closed doors. I work on my cadence, I work on improving my vocals, and I work on my sound.”
This whole picture that you’re painting of how you approach it is very, very unique. If we talk about your connection to music and being an artist, you know, artists use music in so many different ways as therapy, as expression etc. Where would you say music sits in your life…what purpose does it serve you personally?
“I feel like it’s a big purpose. Music from a young kind of helped out my whole block. It brings a lot of people together. The other day, like, I went to Portugal, and I was in a hood, that shit was wild. But because of who I am and what I do I can get into that place. That’s why when people say negative things about drill music influencing bad stuff and whatever… they don’t talk about the fact it also influences connections and link-ups where you can walk into a place where the police can’t even go into. It hits differently, It serves a big purpose and it also controls a lot of black youths.
“I will be so real with you when you’re getting bigger, especially when you show them what you’re doing, it controls a lot of people’s mindsets to just get out of the hood and work hard. A lot of youths don’t see a way out of the hood. When I ask them, how are you going to become a millionaire? They don’t even know… you see what I’m saying. So music serves a big purpose in my life and the people around me.”
With your continually growing popularity do you feel any kind of responsibility to serve as one of those figures for young people to aspire to?
“I feel like behind closed doors, I’ve always done that. Like, if there was another rapper coming from my block that’s doing things, I’ve always been that person that tried to help my friends. In my head, I’m always going to be the one to say let me help my people coming through.”
And do you think there are any artists who may have served as that inspiration for you?
“I wouldn’t say inspiration, but someone that I would look up to, someone like Stanley Tookie Williams, Larry Hoover or Jeff Ford or Elijah Mohammed, and stuff like that. When it comes to people around me, I think like Fredo or Durk. But I see that as the same boat as me. Like I’ve got to get my block to that position. When it comes to looking up to people though on a wider level that’s where I’m trying to hit.”
Now, your sound is very unique. Are there any musical influences that you draw on?
“I would say, Michael Jackson. If you really listen and close your eyes you’ll hear that influence. That’s the biggest one I’ve had growing up and that influence definitely went into my voice. I’m from South…Lewisham, and naturally when we start getting animated our voices go high. If you close your eyes and really listen you’ll hear what I mean.”
As you are trying to give a voice to someone that you’ve lost with this tape, how was that to be in that headspace to create this?
“It’s kind of mad, you know. I feel like through those months a lot of stuff happened where I can go and express myself. It doesn’t matter what I do, you can’t take me away from the booth every day from morning to night. Every day, not one day is missing. Regardless of what happened in my life, I will still go to the booth and I’ll still express that pain. I think it was actually good being there during those events. It makes what you hear real. The pain stuff is real. There’s a song on there which was a letter to my brother – and you will hear that it’s real. All of it is real.”
Did you find it therapeutic at all?
“Yeah, and it will definitely hit people. I think that’s why my music will hit people anyway. My fans are people that are trying to get something or somewhere. They’re just trying to do something with their lives. It will get to the moments where they’ll feel like I’ve been through this, I’ve done these things. But it’s direct as well, you will hear exactly what I’m trying to say. But yeah it’s lit, even though I’m already thinking of the next. People take me in, tape by tape or song by song, but I’m always onto the next.”
By the sound of things, you have a really high creative output. Do you have a chance to take in your achievements to date?
“I’ll be real a lot of people come to me and say Ghost you’re doing things. Even the respect I get out of the country…I’ve left the country and it’s just mad. I can slap on my mask and then people are like rah that’s Ghostface600. The respect is crazy. I have to take it in – like you lot listen to my music?! Even little kids… I’m actually very surprised.
“I’ve kind of clocked that the mask has gone further than I thought it would go. It’s gone very far, even big rappers in the game are starting to put my mask on. It’s actually crazy, the mask has traveled far. It has traveled to Europe where people have seen it. I’ve just come back from a couple of countries where I shot one of the videos that’s going to be on tape with loads of people in it. But when I’ve worn the mask out there people are gassed. It’s gassing, but I’ll be honest and say that I don’t think I’m anywhere. Like I’m nobody. Like I’m actually no one.”
So you’re just continually pushing?
“Yeah, I’m actually no one. So when people say stuff to me…I’m not big enough. Until I’m walking on the street and people are screaming – I’m just another rapper. So yeah, I’m just trying to make it like everyone else.”
This project obviously holds a lot of value to you creatively and personally with what you’ve put into it and what it’s about. What is one key thing you want people to take away from it?
“Obviously, there are a lot of things you can take from the individual songs. From the project I just want people to see my bro. I just want people to see his face everywhere. He’s going to be in 12 different chicken shops, there’s going to be billboards everyone will see him. And I want the haters to see it too. I feel like in the industry I get a lot of hate and I don’t do anything. It’s just a lot of rubbish but I’m actually cool. But yeah moving on…”
So finally, why should we go out and take in the tape?
“Because it’s different and it’s not like everyone else. If you want to hear different music, something with realness with it. It’s real, it’s different, and there’s something for the girls there. It’s much more of a melody tape than anything. All different types of melodies. It’s not the same flow, not the same sound. It’s all cold different shit.
“A Lot of my people say it sounds more like an album when they listen to it. But that’s just me. It’s not an album. It’s just a mixtape but my fans know how I am when it comes to these tapes and these things anyway like I’m different. So if you want to hear different stuff just listen to the tape, man.”
You can stream TMAC on all digital platforms now.