Ghostface KillahKey Club, February 21

Straight outta Staten Island, Ghostface showed nothing but love for the West Coast Wednesday night at the Key Club: Tupac’s face could clearly be seen poking out of Ironman’s red Celts jacket. “I got songs for days,” he assured fans repeatedly, pulling from his arsenal of songs from the two albums he dropped last year, Fishscale and More Fish. Flanked by Trife Da God, Shawn Wigs (the lone white rapper in the crew) and other members of his homegrown Theodore Unit, Ghost seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself — minus one tense moment when he admonished an audience member for putting up his middle finger, and even threatened to jump into the crowd after him. The Unit ran through the radio singles “Back Like That” and “Cherchez Laghost,” the Wu-Tang classics “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’ Wit,” and the Fishscale/More Fish ditties “Shakey Dog,” “Grew Up Hard” and “Greedy Bi*ches.” After baring his soul on the J. Dilla–produced “Whip You With a Strap,” Ghost paid homage to another recent R.I.P. and Wu brother, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, with an amped version of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.”

But most of the night’s highlights occurred when Ghost stopped spitting in favor of speaking. “You facing real music,” he bellowed. “Real hip-hop. I bleed this shit. I live it. I fuck off this shit.” Ghost relayed that the last time he was at the venue was for a Brandy party in ’97, where he’d met up with Notorious B.I.G. at the bar. (The next day, Biggie was murdered, and Ghost never had a chance to record with him as he had hoped.) The low point of the evening came courtesy of Ghost’s invitation to a handful of ladies to jump onstage, transforming it into a Girls Gone Wrong snapshot. Yet, all was redeemed with Ghost’s parting verbal shots: “This rap shit is like the WWF. We need to learn to love each other.” Wu-tang: The saga continues . . .

LA Weekly