In the Know with Mo Flow: HHPH Artist Highlight: Ghostface Killah

By December 9, 2011 No Comments
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Ghostface Killah, real name Dennis Coles, is one of the most talented lyricists in the history of Hip Hop. At age 41, he is widely regarded as one of the Greatest MCs of all time. He is well known for his characteristic fast, streaming, emotional-filled, and high-volume delivery, as well as his unique use of “cryptic slang and non-sequiturs”.  He is also widely recognized for his uncanny and unparalleled ability to tell vivid and colorful stories with his words, and keeps his fans awestruck with his narrative flow.


Ghostface Killah made his debut with the WuTang Clan, one of the most successful Hip Hop groups of All Time. After the WuTang Clan’s first album “Enter the 36 Chambers” debuted with tremendous critical acclaim, its members embarked on various solo projects.  It was in 1996, the same year that Ghostface released his first solo project “Ironman”, that his health began to deteriorate. At first, he believed that he was stricken with a sexually transmitted disease. He was later diagnosed with diabetes. In 2007, Ghostface described this experience in the song “Trials of Life” which he made with Prodigy of Mobb Debb (who has sickle-cell anemia).


Diabetes is one of the major risk factors of other deleterious health conditions such as stroke and heart disease, and it has also been correlated with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.  There is a tremendous lack of knowledge regarding the recognition of diabetes, which may cause the disease to advance rapidly in an individual and potentially make the disease more difficult to manage once diagnosed.


In spite of his weakened health, Ghostface went on to achieve great success with “Ironman” and his follow up solo project “Supreme Clientele”. He also began to make changes in his lifestyle to lessen the power of the diabetes diagnosis over his life, including the very important decision to stop smoking.


Ghostface has also been a vocal advocate for the prevention of diabetes in the African-American community and beyond. For example, he has been critical of parents that fail to provide their children with a healthy breakfast and instead give their children sugary cereals, as he feels that may contribute to pre-diabetes conditions in children as well as foster consumption habits that contribute to the development of diabetes when they become adults.


In January 2011, Ghostface founded the non-profit organization “Making Diabetes Ghost” (MDG). The mission of MDG is “to provide education, support and treatment to the individuals and communities affected by diabetes, to “Ghost” the disease and silence its echoes.” MDG also aims to provide healthcare and medicine to diabetics that cannot afford it. The Facebook page of Making Diabetes Ghost features recipes for diabetics, link to news and research articles related to diabetes, uplifting words for diabetics, and much more.


Ghostface Killah is a prime example of an artist that has used his Hip Hop power as a force for good in the fight against poor health outcomes.  The HHPH team is very proud of and thankful for his contribution in the quest to arm young generations with the weapons needed to lessen the impact of chronic illness among themselves and their children.