Scene: Tony Starks’ Crackhouse, Stapleton Projects, Staten Island
Time: December 24th, sometime in the mid 90’s
1. WOODROW: Hey, Brother Stark!
Brother Stark: Tony Starks, Ghostface’s alter ego.
2. GHOSTFACE: What up, ‘Dro?
3. WOODROW: A-yo, what up, my motherfuckin’ nigga?
4. GHOSTFACE: Ha, my nigga, what’s that, it’s my mother—ahhhhhhhhhh…
5. WOODROW: Whoooooo!
When Woodrow goes “Whoooo”, it takes me back a little to Ghostface talking about his Wallys on the skit before “Glaciers of Ice” on Raekwon’s “Only Built For Cuban Links” (“Whoooo! All you dye is this shit here…”) I wonder if Woodrow is copying Ghostface, or if Ghostface picked up that from Woodrow… it’s implied that they’ve known each other for a long time, and that Ghostface loves him “like fam” [line 23]. Or it could just be Woodrow going “Whooo.” Implied here in the scene is Woodrow possibly hugging Ghostface, leading to the bodyguards drawing in close [line 7].
6. GHOSTFACE: What up, kid?
7. WOODROW: A-yo, man, why y’all niggas playing me? ‘Cause Woodrow ain’t never hurt no-motherfuckin-body…
8. GHOSTFACE: [SMACKS LIPS] Ahhh, stop fakin’…
9. WOODROW: Get these big niggas off me, man…
10. GHOSTFACE: Ah, ‘Dro, you wild, ‘Dro. What up, G?
11. WOODROW: A-yo, let me get two. Let me get two.
Woodrow is asking for two rocks of crack, and handing over nine dollars. He’s one dollar short (Ghostface sells crack for $5 a rock).
12. GHOSTFACE: [SMACKS LIPS] C’mon, ‘Dro. You know I can’t fuck with you like that, ‘Dro, y’know dunn?
Now, here’s an interesting section, which is at the heart of this skit. Ghostface knows Woodrow and loves him, but as a matter of business, refuses to budge at all about his crack sales. This is not about any disrespect to Woodrow, but about how you have to do business when you’re selling crack – you have to be heartless and stick firmly to certain rules. To quote Biggie Smalls’ “Ten Crack Commandments”, “Number six: that god damn credit, dead it/ You think a crackhead payin’ you back, shit forget it”. Woodrow, obviously down on his luck, can’t understand why his old friend won’t help him out and let him slide, being only one dollar short. The rest of the skit is about Woodrow trying to get Ghostface to budge, and Ghostface painfully refusing.
13. WOODROW: I’m saying, man, I know y’all motherfuckers say cash rules everything around you, but crack rules everything around me, motherfucker!
The reference to “Cash Rules Everything Around Me” places this skit as happening sometime after the Wu-Tang blew up, meaning that Ghostface was still maintaining his crack sales while being a burgeoning rap star.
14. GHOSTFACE: Stop that, ‘Dro! Damn!
15. WOODROW: Know what I’m sayin’? Now, like I said, I got nine dollars for yo’ ass, know what I’m sayin’… you know, I come through—
16. GHOSTFACE: ‘Dro ‘Dro ‘Dro, you got the most G in the world, ‘Dro, slow down, pard… Slow down. C’mon… C’mon, Dro-Dro!
“…You got the most G in the world” probably refers to game. “I got more game than a crackhead from Hempstead” – Phife of ATCQ on “God Lives Through.” Crackheads get their hustle on just as much as the hustlers that feed their addiction, and this is one of the key conflicts in this little scene. The tension is so great that there are long moments of complete deadlock between the two interdependent hustler spirits. Woodrow is clearly not in control of himself. Ghost is trying to get him to calm down and chill out.
17. [BODYGUARDS chuckle]
18. WOODROW: I’m sayin’! It ain’t no motherfuckin’ game, nigga, I come through with the TV’s… I come through with the VC—
Woodrow is saying that he steals TV’s and VCR’s regularly to pay for crack, and that should more than cover the one dollar that he’s short right now.
19. GHOSTFACE: Christmas tomorrow, man! Christmas tomorrow!
This line breaks my heart. This places this scene at a very specific time… Christmas Eve, a time of family and generosity and “peace on earth, goodwill towards men”. But that doesn’t apply to the crack game. Even though it’s Christmas the next day, even though he can afford it, even though he loves ‘Dro, even though he’s only one measly dollar short, Ghost can NOT betray his principles and give crack away. It just can’t happen. Ghost is “Tight… like that” [line 45].
20. WOODROW: And I’m gonna come through for y’all motherfuckers all over here! Stapleton, y’all niggas know how I do! And I’m from uptown, I don’t even motherfuckin’ supposed to be around here, but I come around here, and I spread my motherfuckin’ love. Now I’m saying, give me two cracks, let me go on the roof, take my two—
21. GHOSTFACE: Alright yo. Damn, man… C’mon, but you know… you’re like fam, god…
22. WOODROW:—and get on my shit!
23. GHOSTFACE: Alright, duke, C’mon ‘Dro, you like fam, man, I love you, man. I love you, man… C’mon ‘Dro!
Ghost repeatedly tells Woodrow he loves him here… It is the way that Ghost has to distance himself from someone he loves that makes this scene hit so hard.
24. WOODROW: C’mon, man, the first is around the motherfuckin’ corner, just like you love the first, and when I see yo’ ass, in front of that motherfuckin’ check cashing, nigga, you don’t kiss me! Nigga, you get your motherfuckin’ money, and keep steppin’. So let me get my motherfuckin’ crack, go get high and do my motherfuckin’ thing, and I’m motherfuckin’ leavin’, motherfucker.
The first is around the motherfuckin’ corner: Woodrow is reminding Ghostface that the first of the month, when the Welfare checks come in, is just a week and a day away. He’ll clearly have another dollar by then. Ghostface can meet him in front of the check cashing place, get his dollar, and just move on. He doesn’t even have to say hello or kiss him. All he has to do is give him two rocks for nine dollars, and this whole uncomfortable scenario is over.
25. GHOSTFACE: God… damn, ‘Dro! [NERVOUS LAUGHTER]
There’s an amazingly uncomfortable pause here. Ghostface almost seems tempted to cave in, just to spare Woodrow’s feelings.
26. WOODROW: Come on, man, Come on! Brother Stark!
27. GHOSTFACE: [PAUSE] Damn.
28. WOODROW: Look, see I always gotta go through this shit, man… y’all niggas are supposed to be Big Willies, you actin’ a little silly, motherfucker!
29. GHOSTFACE: That ain’t got nothin’…that ain’t even got nothin’ to do with it, ‘Dro, c’mon, ‘Dro.
30. WOODROW: C’mon, man! C’mon, man!
31. GHOSTFACE: [LAUGHING] A yo, ‘Dro, slow the fuck down. C’mon pard. You know I love you, though, God. What’s wrong with you, man?
Another tragic side to being a crack dealer is seeing how the stuff that you’ve sold crackheads affects them. When Ghost asks “what’s wrong with you” in this line, it must hurt him a little, because he knows exactly what’s wrong with Woodrow – he is addicted to the crack Ghost has sold him, and now that addiction totally “rules everything around him” [line 13].
32. WOODROW: A yo, tell these motherfuckas to back up! These niggas all in my motherfuckin’ face—
33. GHOSTFACE: Nah, those are—Those are my niggas, right there! Overseein’—
34. WOODROW: [TURNS TO BODYGUARD] You think I don’t carry a motherfuckin’ pistol, nigga?
35. BODYGUARD: Ease up, ease up.
36. WOODROW: [PULLING OUT A PISTOL] ‘Cause I’m a crackhead?
Now things get really serious. Woodrow has pulled out a pistol in front of two large and presumably armed bodyguards. He could easily get murdered for that. Ghost is clearly worried, not as much for his own life as for Woodrow’s.
37. GHOSTFACE: Yo ‘Dro, stop that, man. Stop that, man. See now, c’mon, baby…
38. WOODROW: Nigga, I got a motherfuckin’ nickel plated .380, I go down to my old lady house, man, I tell her, “Suzie, throw it out the window! Suzie!”
39. GHOSTFACE: [NERVOUS LAUGH] Ay-yo, you wild.
40. WOODROW: Don’t play with me, mother—[SUDDENLY, AS IF HE HEARD SOMETHING] “Sue!”
Woodrow is now babbling… he’s clearly not all there. But that sudden “Sue” in line 40 shows how unpredictable and dangerous he might be, especially brandishing a gun.
41. GHOSTFACE: You wild, ‘Dro. Stop it, braw…
42. WOODROW: Back the fuck up, motherfuckers!
43. GHOSTFACE: [TO BODYGUARDS, WHO ARE ABOUT TO DRAW THEIR GUNS] Nah it’s all… it’s all good. This is my, this is my nigga right here, this is ‘Dro.
Ghost calls his bodyguards off. He’s trying to save Woodrow’s life, and keep calm.
44. WOODROW: Now… Brother Stark. All I want is two, man. That’s all I want.
Another heartbreaking line. Woodrow is a broken man. All he wants out of life right now is two rocks of crack.