In the midst of the Wu-Tang Clan's reunion tour and forthcoming 20th anniversary album, Ghostface Killah released "Twelve Reasons to Die," which debuts at No. 27 on this week’s Billboard 200.
Seven Months Ago
After Wu-Tang mastermindthe RZA officially launched Soul Temple Records last August, Ghostface announced in September that "Twelve Reasons to Die" would be issued through the label in November, his first independent release outside of Def Jam. According to Soul Temple co-owner Bob Perry, the RZA shifted the original soundtrack to his directorial debut, “The Man With the Iron Fists,” to the new label shortly after Ghostface’s announcement, which prompted Soul Temple to change its focus and "Twelve Reasons to Die" to be delayed until April. “We had a lot of time to think about marketing,” Perry says of Ghostface’s Soul Temple debut.
Two Months Ago
In mid-February, Ghostface revealed the album’s release date and artwork, floated the single “Rise of the Ghostface Killah” as a free download and set up pre-orders for the album in CD, vinyl, digital and cassette formats. (The lattermost featuring an alternate version of the album produced by Apollo Brown.) Soul Temple’s Bandcamp page offered a variety of bundles to choose from, many including a Twelve Reasons to Die T-shirt with an exclusive graphic from the upcoming accompanying comic book series. “Bandcamp allowed us to have a user-friendly platform to distribute music via social networks, while also collecting e-mails and pre-orders for the album,” Perry says.
The Adrian Younge-directed video for “Rise of the Ghostface Killah,” unveiled April 16, plays out like a ‘70s horror film, as a cult splatters a church in blood while a masked Ghostface spits rhymes. Perry says the video was supposed to come out earlier, but “Adrian’s a control freak and wouldn’t let anyone finish the video” while he and Ghostface went on tour in March. It was completed right before Ghostface joined a reunited Wu-Tang Clan at the Coachella festival on April 14 — a raucous performance that ended with the group urging its audience to grab "Twelve Reasons to Die "when it hit stores. The album sold 15,000 in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
'The Twelve Reasons to Die' tour will run through May 22, and another string of Wu-Tang Clan reunion dates begins May 26. The debut issue of the “Twelve Reasons to Die” comic will hit stores May 29 as the first in a six issue monthly series, and new music and remixes will coincide with the release of each issue. “The comic book and the monthly issues were a way for me to say, ‘There’s a reason for people to be talking about this Ghostface album for the next six months,’” Perry says, adding that Soul Temple hopes to bundle all "Twelve Reasons to Die"-related material into one collectible item by the end of the year.