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from www.defjam.com
By track four on Ghostface Killah's Fishscale, at least four people and a pit bull have been gunned down. Much crack and chronic have been smoked, coke snorted, Grey Goose vodka drunk. Ghostface's protaganist, Tony Starks, has lost his best friend Frank to a robbery gone bad. Despite these setbacks, our hero's cohort, Raekwon the Chef, is still cooking crack in an apartment (presumably in Staten Island), and Starks himself is claiming to be indestructable.

"The Champ," however, is a wake-up call, an indication that despite the boasting and the killing, there are doubters, at least one of whom is all up in Starks' face. In this song we find our main man Tony sitting on a stool in the boxing ring. He's facing a younger, hungrier opponent and is being berated Rocky-style by his gravel-voiced trainer, who says the rapper has been soft ever since the release of his album, Supreme Clientele.

Trainer: [Verbatim] This guy is a bulldozer with a wrecking ball attached. He'll leave a ring around your eye and tread marks on your back. He's an animal. He's hungry. You ain't been hungry since Supreme Clientele. Remember what you first told me when I took you in? You wanted to be a fighter. You wanted to be a killer. You wanted to be the Champ! You ain't hungry. Matter of fact, I don't want you in my gym. Get out of my ring. You disgust me.

Ghostface Killah: I'm rich, yes, but I'm not saying I have it all. For one, I'm barely home because I have to be on the road so much -- making love and exacting revenge on my enemies, one of whom is that group that had a hit with that terrible song "Laffy Taffy." How did that happen? I'm a veteran rhymer who's been working since before the rapper Nasty Nas shortened his name to Nas. But while I'm busy with women and dealing bricks of cocaine, you jerks are stealing my style! For that reason, put your hands in the air! No, I don't need your money. I'm rich, and you and your girlfriend look like homeless people.

Do you know who you're looking at? The Angel of Death! You know what else? You're a liar, and you're pants are on fire! You'll burn like David Koresh. Look, my music is like architecture, like opera -- but for the streets. When I was a young kid selling heroin, I used to shoot my gun and the lower-income neighborhoods paid attention! I rode through tunnels at breakneck speed.

Anonymous boxer: Get out of my face! Are you out of energy? I don't need a has-been soiling my corner. And you'd better wipe off that smirk before I knock it off. You imbecile, are you ready for another trip to the woodshed? You should have never come back.

[Points at someone in the crowd] Look here, sir, after I crucify him, you're next! And you'd better line up a physician to rearrange your face. I'm the Champ!

Ghostface Killah: Who wants to battle the Godfather? I'm like James Bond in an octagonal ring. I bet you didn't know I lost an arm during a gun battle. I killed a fat man in less than a minute. In fact, my gun is like an erect penis. I used to shoot it while wearing expensive clothes and a Kangol hat. I wore big necklaces the size of Flava Flav's clock. People want me dead, but they're afraid to approach me because I'll rip their guts out like I'm performing a hystorectomy.

You will be killed, and it might be an inside job. You won't believe what you see. Frauds will witness it and literally lose their pants. You resemble a bird, or Keenan Ivory Wayans. You amateurs had better stay in your place; you're mere shadowboxers. You're so backward you still eat pork.

Anonymous boxer: Don't pay attention to this fellow! I told you I wasn't going away. You had your shot; now give me mine. Why have you been avoiding me? Is it politics? Maybe the country wants to keep me down. They don't want me to win because I'm not a puppet. My opponent gets more pipe from a plumber than he does sex with her man. I am the champ!

Ghostface Killah: I like to lay out my cocaine in lines using a playing card. I have $500,000 in the left ankle of my sock. I'm wearing very comfortable terrycloth shorts and a matching robe made by Guess. Someone bring me a lady. I will have sex with her (I have a swagger like Mick Jagger). I grow coca leaf in my backyard next to my heirloom tomatoes. The leaf is slightly damp. I charter jets, drive fancy cars. My enemies see this stuff and throw up in the toilet. Back in New York City, I am royalty ever since I released Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, and that reputation has grown with The Pretty Toney Album, Bulletproof Wallets and Supreme Clientele. You, on the other hand, will poop in your pants when you see the evidence: I hold both the WBC and IBF cruiserweight titles.

Muhammad Ali sample: "I am bad. I said I am bad. I'm a bad man. I'm so bad sometimes I scare myself. Sometimes I look in the mirror and want to kiss myself, I'm so pretty. Now who am I? [Crowd: "The Man!"]. Who am I? ["The Man!"] Who? ["The Man!"]

Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen! The winner by consecutive knockout and still champion of the world: Ghostface Killah! [Cheering in background.] -Randall Roberts

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