London MC Ghetts is gearing up to release his new album Conflict Of Interest, so it's time to get acquainted. Having just released a track with fellow grime rapper Stormzy, Skengman Mode, if you're a fan of grime, then Ghetts will be right up your alley.
Ghetts is known for his complex rhyme schemes, as well as his huge live shows. Get to know Ghetts and what he's all about below, including what makes him a staple of the grime scene.
Who is Ghetts?
Ghetts is a UK rapper that's been making music since the early 2000s. Born on October 9th, 1984 in Pliastow, London, Ghetts (aka Justin Clarke) started making music in 2003. He was originally part of the grime collective The Movement, but he soon branched out on his own. The Movement featured fellow UK rappers Devlin and Wretch 32, so there was some serious talent in the collective.
So far in his career, he's released six mixtapes, two albums and two EPs, with his third album, Conflict Of Interest, on the way. His music covers a range of topics, including love and relationships, as well as his thoughts towards fellow rappers in the UK scene. He's not afraid to let fly on a track, especially on some of his earlier releases, and some of his lyrics have gone on to be classic one-liners.
He's also a father, and speaking to Respect, he says life changed when his daughter was born. "Since the birth of my daughter — she was born in May 2012 — I have been happy. I look at life from a completely different perspective. I love living and when she smiles, I smile. I’ve got nothing to be upset about and I’m grateful for every single thing I have and at this moment I am very content."
He wrote about the feeling of fatherhood on his track Fatherhood, which he says he wrote as it's what he would have wanted to hear when he became a father. I want them to really listen and have or feel some kind of emotional attachment. I’ve got a song called Father on there and if you’d ask me precisely, what I want people to feel when they hear that song, I would say if you’re a father or a mother— I would want it to take you back to that day when you first had your child. I want you to remember that happiness you felt on that day. If you haven’t got children yet, I just want you to feel my joy through what I’m saying on the song."
He's hailed as a pioneer of grime by those in the know, and in recent years he's worked with Stormzy and Skepta, two stars of the UK music scene. He's only growing in popularity, and we're excited to see what the future holds for him.
What makes him so special?
What makes him so special?
Ghetts is a grime staple, and his evolution from the brash Ghetto into the more measured Ghetts is something to behold. Writing about Ghetts in 2017, this VICE article captures the regard he's held in the UK, saying, "If there is such a thing as destiny, and we all indeed truly arrived on the earth with some sort of quest to fulfil, then [Ghetts] is a vessel, blessed with a microphone and a pen, ordained to roam the earth, stirring the human spirit wherever he goes."
Speaking to Loud And Quiet, Ghetts acknowledges his influence on grime and its culture - but he doesn't think he invented a sound, despite what other people might say. "A lot of what I made has influenced the culture, but I don’t think I invented a sound. I know that I changed the dynamic of how people spit or the way they approach grime music, but I still don’t feel like I made this scene. I think I helped clarify what grime is."
What are his most iconic projects?
Ghetts' projects Ghetto Gospel and Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament are considered some of the most important grime albums by fans of the genre. The New Testament was released in 2018, and once again solidified Ghetts' status as someone that understood the nuances of grime, as well as his role as someone who shaped the sounds of the genre.
The evolution of Ghetts can be seen by listening to both Ghetto Gospel and The New Testament. On the former, he's brash, loud and in your face. On the latter, he's measured, considerate and aware of his role as an influence for the new generation of rappers. It's an evolution that most rappers will never experience - but for Ghetts, he's nowhere done writing his story.
What has Ghetts done outside of music?
Ghetts starred in the 2018 film The Intent 2: The Come Up, which was a prequel to The Intent. It's a British crime thriller film, where Ghetts plays Jay, who's up to no good. An ill-fated robbery sees things start to kick off, and from there, it all goes pear-shaped. The film showed another side to Ghetts, and with the people behind the film keen on making a third, we could see Ghetts on the big screen again in the future.