Ghetts

INTERVIEW: Ghetts

Ghetts

It would be impossible to have a conversation about grime without mentioning Ghetts – one of the genre’s most influential and prolific MC’s.

Earning his stripes back in grime’s infancy under the moniker Ghetto, ferocious delivery and intricate rhyme schemes became his calling card. With fans having an insatiable appetite for his appearances on pirate radio and in clashes, it wasn’t long before his first mixtape was born in 2005.

2000 & Life saw Ghetts make the pivotal move from being just another spitter to one that was capable of producing a cohesive body of work – a skill that has since been displayed in a slew of mixtapes; culminating in his first studio album Rebel With a Cause released this year.

Finding a home at number 23 in the album charts, you could easily argue RWAC has been the catalyst for the amazing 2014 Ghetts has had. “It’s definitely been a good year. When you think of all the accolades and the opportunities that have come from Rebel With a Cause, some people might say it’s been the best of my career,” Ghetts, real name Justin Clarke says.

Industry nods off the back of the release are stacking up for the Plaistow MC. Three MOBO nominations and a BET best international act nomination join his much deserved AIM hardest working artist win.

RWAC’s commercial success is probably owing to the maturity and honesty it is seeped in. Ghetts says: “It’s very conceptual as an album. I’m rebellious by nature, and then when my daughter was born I had a cause.

“The first half of the album is really rebellious and then half way through you get the track Ghetto No More where I look back on those rebellious days. I wanted to show my growth as an artist and a person and wanted people to feel that too.”

While showcasing his growth as a person, Ghetts has also revealed himself to be an innovator. In January 2014 Ghetts released the official RWAC app intended for exclusive first listens and visuals.

Me and the team at Disrupt came up with the idea because people kept coming up to me saying things like: ‘are you still doing music? I ain’t heard anything from you in a while.’ I found it funny because even with the success I have had this year, some people didn’t know I was still releasing stuff,” Ghetts laughs.

Acknowledging that his music might appeal to a slightly different audience nowadays, he still felt the app was necessary: “The kind of music that I make isn’t always going to get mainstream play. Plus, people are older now and don’t always have the time to be looking at music blogs or staying up late to listen to radio. So when people ask me about my music, I just tell them about the app.”

Getting even more experimental, Ghetts plans to release a collector’s edition of RWAC that includes live instrumentation. Explaining his choice for playing around with the sound he says: “Grime is still a very new genre and it needs to evolve. I love traditional grime, but how will it move forward if we never experiment and push the boundaries?”

Casting his net further afield has not stopped the founding member of The Movement (which includes Scorcher, Devlin, Wretch 32 and Mercston) from paying homage to longstanding fans in the form of a tour in November that included heavy hitters Wretch 32, Kano and Griminal.

“My tour is what I would want to see if I was a fan. I’ve never really done a tour before and when I spoke to everyone they said they were up for it. I’m going to get it filmed in such a way that when people watch it, they’re going to feel like they missed out if they didn’t come,” he says.

Ticket holders were also the first to get their hands on his new mixtape: Momentum 2 (The Return of Ghetto) featuring Giggs, Devlin, Mercston, Wretch 32 and more.

With a new mixtape on the way and the re-release of RWAC early 2015, Ghetts has already cemented his place as a grime hall of famer, and could see his legend continue to grow.

Momentum 2 (The Return of Ghetto) is released digitally on Bandcamp Monday 17 November

 

@Jclarke_Ghetts
www.Ghetts.com

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.