Dennis Coles or better known as Ghostface Killah is an American rapper and songwriter who was part of the Wu-Tang Clan. After the success of the hip hop group, the members went on to pursue solo careers and have been quite accomplished. But did you know what was Coles’ driving force to be this successful?
Dennis Coles was the eldest of nine children. At the age of 13, he took care of his younger brothers with muscular dystrophy. When the Wu-Tang Clan became successful, he made sure they were well taken care of.
Dennis Coles’ Early Life and Musical Inspiration
Dennis Cole was born on May 9, 1970. He grew up in the Stapleton Housing Project in Staten Island in New York City. Not much is said about his early life, except that he spent a lot of time helping out with his two brothers who suffered from muscular dystrophy and were confined in wheelchairs. Their father was nowhere to be found, and being the oldest in the family, he need to take responsibility for them and their every need.
Despite growing up in poverty and having to deal with a lot of problems at a young age, Coles found comfort in music. They shared their home with twelve other relatives who encouraged his talent. The music that filled their home was soul and other classics. Being exposed to this genre at a young age truly made an impact on his life. His young music-loving imagination heard the legends sing to his spirit through the speakers.
The sounds he heard within those walls inspired him. Coles, better known in the rap world as Ghostface Killah, grew up influenced by Soul and heard classics at parties before leaving the living room packed with smoke and laughter. His young music-loving imagination was stirred as he heard legends screaming through speakers.
I remember being inspired by the greats. New Birth, Bloodstone singin’, Natural High, The Stylistics, Blue Magic, and all that. All the greats, you know what I’m saying? That was first before anything. I remember being a little dude having to leave the living room when there were a lot of people involved. They were drinking and smoking. That was my first whatchamacallit, when I was small.Dennis Coles
(Source: Hip Hop DX)
Dennis Coles’ Whatchamacallit with Music
When Coles talks about his first whatchamacallit with music, he’s referring to the lyrics and instrumentation he recalls from his childhood. Coles eventually found a way to express himself through his own words and music. He picked up a pen and put it on paper, writing simple rhymes as a child before gradually increasing his abilities.
It was simple. It wasn’t really that powerful. Everything was real large at that time, though. It was all good because I graduated from there. I went to the next one and went to the next one. I never stopped after that. I just kept going and going.Dennis Cole
(Source: Hip Hop DX)
Why was Dennis Coles Imprisoned?
While he found comfort in music, he still had struggles to overcome. Eventually, his choices caught up with him and theft landed him in prison. Coles was incarcerated in his mid-teens. That’s when he realized that before he could get into the Hip Hop industry, he needed to make a change in his own life. He may or may not have realized it at the time, but he finally matured out of his fight to leave his mark on society.
After his release from prison, Coles joined the Wu-Tang Clan with RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, U-God, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. They made a huge impact in the rap industry as a group, with their debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) released in November 1993.
Coles’ voice was the first to be heard on the album, a booming dose of Staten Island flavor. Several people still consider 36 Chambers to be an important part of the Hip Hop history, and it is frequently considered one of the best albums of all time within that specific genre. (Source: Hip Hop DX)