There is nothing new about rappers venturing into fashion, acting, or even penning novels. Ghostface Killah joins his fellow rappers-turned-published authors with his latest endeavor, the graphic novel Cell Block Z.
The Wu-Tang affiliate collaborated with illustrator Chris Walker and writers Shauna Garr and Marlon Chapman to portray the life of Cole Dennis (Ghostface’s birth name reversed), a heavyweight contender framed for a crime he didn’t commit. While imprisoned, Dennis learns inmates are set to be turned into bio-weapons. In an effort to stop the madness, he transforms into his alter-ego, Ghostface Killah, and unleashes a reign of righteous terror.
How does one get into the frame of mind to draw a hip-hop icon? Chris Walker knows. The renowned New York visual artist and filmmaker, whose artwork has been used by Marvel Comics, didn’t just “hop up out the bed” and turn his illustrator swag on. It was a painstaking process. Here, Chris, whose résumé includes crafting iconic characters such as Spiderman and Batman, reveals the five ways he did his homework in order to craft a rap legend.
Pump Up the Volume
“One of the things you need to do is to desperately listen to their music and the lyrics and get inspired by it. I listened to the song ‘Run’ by Ghostface Killah when writing the opening scene where Cole Dennis is running from the cops.”
Practice Makes Perfect
“Practice drawing the person as much as possible. You also really want to capture the look of the person, especially since Ghostface Killah didn’t draw the characters with me.”
Dive Into the Genre
“You really have to think about hip-hop and try to make this book feel like it’s a part of the culture. You really want to give it a feel that you really like hip-hop.”
Read Between the Lines
“You have to pay a lot of attention to the story—really working with the story and make sure what you’re drawing goes along well with what the writers wrote.”
Make the Rapper Shine
“Try to make sure it’s something the rappers themselves would really be proud of. You want them to say, ‘Man this is a really good project. This really captures who I am!'”
Six lucky Rap-Up.com readers will win a copy of Ghostface Killah’s Cell Block Z. To enter, answer this question: What is the title of Ghostface’s debut solo album?
Send in your entry along with your full name, age, and mailing address. Six winners will be randomly chosen from all correct entries received. This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. One entry per person. Contest ends Sunday, August 2, at 11 p.m. PST.