May 9, 1970 – If there was ever a Hip Hop group that could be deemed iconic, it’s obviously the Wu-Tang Clan (forever). The New York-bred collective — comprised of RZA, GZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa and Cappadonna — stepped on the scene in 1993 with “Protect Ya Neck” and rap was never the same.

While they crush crowds together, they captivate audiences individually as well. Ghostface Killah, in particular, regularly smashes stages as a (sometimes) rogue member of the beloved Hip Hop group. So on Thursday (May 9), we celebrate the Staten Island native who turns 49 today.

In 1993, the group was launched into mainstream notoriety thanks to their wildly successful debut, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Three years after its release, Ghostface — or Tony Starks if you prefer — went on to drop his inaugural solo album, Ironman, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.

In 2000, he followed up with the critically acclaimed Supreme Clientele, however it only peaked at No. 7.

Over the last 18 years, he’s pumped out 11 more solo efforts, culminating with 2018’s The Lost Tapes. 

On top of all of these accomplishments, he’s also been at the helm of his own imprint, Stark Enterprises. Simply put, Ghostface can’t stop, won’t stop.

But despite sharing a nickname with the Marvel character Tony Starks (a.k.a. “Iron Man”), Ghostface told HipHopDX in a 2013 interview that it didn’t actually come from the comic book as many assumed.

“I’m not a big comic book fan,” he said. “One of my cousins had mad comic books. There were characters I liked. I liked The Thing. I liked Thor. But they were just comic books. You know? But the name Tony Starks came into play…everybody thought it was that, but it was just that me and Rae was choppin’ one time. I had this shirt and we was slang masters. Our slang was just off the meat rack.

“So, once I put that shirt on, I just came with Tony Starks. The shirt made me say somethin’ like, ‘This shirt is Tony Starks right here.’ So, since everything became so much Tony Starks, Iron Man was right there because they’re the same thing. So, that’s what it was. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh shit!’ Like, I was just a comic book fanatic, and then I just took my name and ran with it. Nah, it wasn’t like that.”

Wu-Tang is about to embark on the Gods Of Rap Tour with Public Enemy Radio and De La Soul. The Europe-only run kicks off in London on May 10.

DX wishes Ghostface a very happy birthday! Now stream some of his signature albums!