Posted in music

Album Review: Why I believe Ghetts’ – ‘Conflict of Interest’ is a masterpice!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When you hear the word Ghetts in the UK, you automatically think of “Witty wordplays”, Grime Legend” or even “Storyteller”. All of these phrases are demonstrated to the highest degree on this third album.. If you are not a Grime lover or even aware of Ghetts’ music (Where have you been?) you can listen to this album and understand to a T who Ghetts is, what he stands for and how talented he is. Surprisingly despite his nearly 20-year career and with 3 studio albums, this is his first album released from a major label.

I am a Ghetts fan and have been for a while but I find with Ghetts, so much of his music and bars are overlooked due to the fact his talent is beyond many peoples understanding. In a recent interview, Ghetts stated that he had to learn how to make his music a bit more digestible to those who may not have understood before and it’s clear he put that into practice on this album. The evolution he has shown from a grime MC to a giant in the UK rap scene is incredible to witness.

When it comes to wordplay, Ghetts is without a doubt one of the best storytellers of our time. Every song he releases makes you think and want to know more. This album feels like an autobiography of his life as he reflects on his past, his present and his future. He reflects on his past via some mistakes, his successes and his growth. The maturity on this album is evident and is felt throughout. Here are some of the tracks that stood out to me;

‘Fine Wine’, the intro track of the album is the perfect startup and prep for the album. From the first line “Rudeboy, I’m the certiest“, you hear Ghetts making a mark and inserting his dominance. On this song, Ghetts speaks his truth and talks about the times he has struggled, where he came from and where he plans to be. He also admits that he is the best and a legend in the game. Quite rightly!

This leads perfectly into the next track ‘Mozambique’ featuring Jaykae and South African artist Moonchild Sanelly, where Ghetts samples himself with his previous song ‘Top 3 Selected’. I wasn’t a huge fan of the song when Ghetts released it before the album drop but the strings used on the album version of this song are sensational!!! The transition from the intro track to this song is also top tier. For me, Jaykae steals the show on this song, his verse is so smooth!

‘Fire and Brimstone‘ features a more mellow and calmed down Ghetts while maintaining his greaze. I liked the Dizzee Rascal samples featured too. The song touches on the realities of Ghetts’ life. Despite his success, he still faces regular troubles with the police and is constantly discriminated against due to the fact he is a black man.

If I was asked to play ONE song to explain Ghetts to someone that didn’t know him or his story, “Autobiography” would be the song from this album. Ghetts even slowed down his flow, still keeping it clear and precise. I recently listened in on a Ghetts interview about this album and he stated that with this song, he was trying to find different ways to say things about himself. After the decades Ghetts has been in the game, the fact it’s still interesting to hear someone’s life story is amazing. This is credit to Ghetts incredible storytelling ability.

Good Hearts‘ featuring Aida Lae is definitely one of my favourite tracks from the album. I was surprised at the change in pace for this track, being a Ghetts album but I loved how refreshing it felt. This song feels like an old school garage track, the kind of song you would have blazing from speakers in the blazing sun! This track also emphasises the versatility of Ghetts. His flow on this song is as flawless as the slowed paced song previously. I can’t wait for summer to really take advantage of this song! Nice to also point out there is a great message too “A good heart don’t come around often, if you’ve got one, then cherish that organ” FACTS!

The only word I can use to describe Dead To Me‘ is POETIC. On this track Ghetts pours his heart out “Next time I see cupid cock back I’m shooting right back. Dat’s bang bang bang loves dead to me. Bang there’s no love left in me” indicating he’s been hurt in love (Something I’m sure we can all relate to). I love when rappers like Ghetts who are known for their greaze, power and fire provide us with songs that show their vulnerable side. In terms of storytelling, this is why Ghetts is one of the best. The imagery in this song is conveyed so well through Ghetts’ bars. This may be one of my favourite Ghetts songs in a while. I love how the beat also slows down during the verses when Ghetts gets deeper and picks up again for the chorus. It’s almost as if he uses the verses to reminisce and recount and the chorus to pick himself back up.

I was so surprised when I saw the tracklist for this album and saw that ‘10,000 Tears‘ featured Ed Sheeran. I know they have collaborated before on Ed’s No. 5 Collaborations Project but I wouldn’t have originally thought to put Ed on a Ghetts album. Unlike the last song, this track is more mellow and calm but I also want to note that Ghetts is actually singing on this song and it works!!! Yet again, another track on the album that demonstrates Ghetts’ versatility, loved his patois on this song. I really enjoyed Ed’s flow too, it was as if both of them switched up their usual styles and swapped it a bit. It’s also great to hear Ed on a song again! I can imagine this song being a chart hit and really hope they bring out visuals to this song!

Sonya’ featuring Emeli Sandé is another beautiful laid back song. The song samples Bone Thugs N-Harmony’s “Foe Tha Love of $” and Brian McKnight’s “Anytime”. On this track, Ghetts reflects on a lady named ‘Sonya’ with who he holds a strong bond as she held him down throughout his struggles. The story ends on a cliffhanger and Ghetts stated that there may possibly be a part 2 to follow the story. Emeli sounds sensational on this track unsurprisingly.

No Mercy‘ was already released and features Pa Salieu and Backroad Gee. I already was a fan of the song when it came out. Each featured artist carried their weight which is hard when you are on the song of a legend like Ghetts. The beat production is my favourite part of the song. It’s insanely catchy and a great greaze Ghetts song. Ghetts pointed out that this is one of the songs he created to provide a connection between his audience. The chorus would be great for him to perform at a live show.

Crud‘ featuring Giggs doesn’t even need too many words to describe it. All I will say is it is a blessing to hear two pioneers back to back on a track doing what they do best.

‘Little Bo Peep‘ featuring Dave, Hamzaa and Wretch 32 was the perfect track to round off the album. I liked the subdued sound of Ghetts, Hamzaa and Wretch leading into the lessons Dave starts to speak about. The song which is six minutes long serves as an overview of where Ghetts is now in terms of his life and career. The arrangement of the song is even more important as it seems like Dave’s verse is an answer to all of Ghetts’ questions in his verse and throughout the album as a whole. The song gives lullaby vibes while providing a strong ending to a journey of an album. Even with the ending of an album, he still maintains the high quality.

Overall, this album exhibits the growth and maturity of Ghetts. It almost feels like a rebirth of Ghetts and shows he has no desire to slow down anytime soon. For an artist to describe his life with nearly 20 years in music and still make it sound authentic and refreshing is a talent in itself. While some may argue that sometimes there may be a disconnect between his songs and people actually taking it in, this album eradicates all fears. In the words of Ghetts, he will convert all non-believers with this album. Ghetts always provides a new insight with his music and that’s what keeps it exciting and keeps him in the top tier of UK rap. This album is the perfect example of what an album should be.

I have personally had the album on repeat since its release and I truly believe it’s an album that will linger in our minds for a very very long time. The best albums always do.

Album Tracklist

Check out his interview on the album here:

Posted in music, Music videos

Video Pick: Ghetts – Mad About Bars Freestyle

This week’s video pick is the new freestyle from UK rapper Ghetts! It’s crazy to think this is only his first ‘Mad About Bars’ freestyle. Ghetts is one of the best in the grime scene and his witty punchlines and wordplay was evident throughout this whole freestyle. For me, Ghetts, Kano, Chip and Wretch 32 are some of the best when it comes to wordplay in the UK rap scene.

There are so many quotables in this but my favourite lines have to be;

“How can I talk about killing my ops and in the same breath say black lives matter”

“Fill up the lorry with G’s Units…you know what the payola says, the mandem got yayo for days. & I got alot of money in Lloyds Bank, I’m real cakey I’m way overweight. That’s 50 in the rucksack”

“Bar after bar after bar after bar…right now I’m in a drunken state”

“I know Rona’s lurking somewhere, all I can do is pray she don’t come this way”

Posted in music

Mid Week Update…New Music: What I’ve been listening to…

Hello everyone! It’s that time of week where I bombard you all with a list of what I’ve been listening to the past week! It’s been a while since I have updated you, have a look below of all the music that’s been on rotation.!

Stormzy – Wiley Flow

There has been a lot of noise and controversy in the UK grime scene surrounding Wiley. If I’m going to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what started Wiley’s frustration. With this track Stormzy paves homage to one of the grime pioneers Wiley. The beginning of the song starts with a snippet of a clip where Wiley refers to the fact that everyone else in the scene are his “youngers”. Stormzy uses this to flip and relate to his song by referring to his own success. I feel that this is the Stormzy I prefer in comparison to his more commercial songs like “Vossi Bop”. Stormzy when he is raw for me is when he’s at his best, listen to his freestyles like “Standard” and “Scary” for examples.

Shaybo – Ya Dun Know

This song has blown up thanks to the power of the internet. I came across the song and video on twitter and have been playing the song ever since! I love the fact there are more female rappers coming up and even better them being British. There are a few really good British rappers in comparison to the men. Shaybo brings a uniqueness to her rapping as she spits in the Yoruba dialect too in this song. Yoruba is one of the many languages spoken in Nigeria and it is great she is able to incorporate both her British and Nigerian identity in the song. For those that aren’t aware, “Ya Dun Know” is a common slang used a lot in London and is a term usually used when someone is bigging something up. The accompanying video is good too, simple and fitting to the song. I also liked how she referenced her old video where she was much younger so we could see the growth in her music.

Mahalia Ft. Ella Mai – What You Did

I’m a big fan of this collaboration, women are really taking centre stage in all genres nowadays, rap and r&b are just examples. In this song we hear samples from Cam’ron and Juelz Santana’s hit song “Oh Boy” as well as Norman Whitfield’s “I’m Going Down”. The song exudes female solidarity in the face of a lover ho has wronged them. One of the lyrics that stand out for me are from Ella Mai’s verse where she sings “Oh, it’s funny how right when I let my guard down you play around”, I’m sure many women can relate to this line. I like in the chorus that they flip the scenario; ‘Cause I would not expect someone to stay around If I let them down, oh” insinuating that if they had wronged their lover they would expect them to be reacting in the exact same way. I hope this is the first of more collaborations between this two, their singing styles compliment each other very well.

Myers – Common Kid

I’m sure everyone is now aware of the Netflix series “Top Boy” that was released on the 13th of September. The original soundtrack has been released and while the album is great and filled with the finest UK talent, there was 1 song I feel should have been on there. While watching the series, this song in particular stood out to me. I had to shazam the song as I had no idea who was rapping. Since discovering, I have had this song on repeat. The song touches on the gritty street life which evidently was very relevant for the episode. Have a listen below; ( Also check out Bugzy Malone – Die By The Gun)

Normani – Motivation

“I’ma break you off, let me be your motivation” is what I’ve been singing since I heard this song. Normani who is famous for being a apart of the group ‘Fifth Harmony’ finally spreads her solo wings with this debut single. I have a feeling she is one to watch. The song is great and the video is absolutely mind blowing. Her talent spreads from vocals to dancing and it is clear she is finally showing the world her talents. I am here for any success she has in the future!!!

Dave – Professor X

This is one of the standout tracks on the Top Boy soundtrack for me. Dave outdoes himself with his witty wordplay in this song. I loved the Terminator “Not around no more” reference as that fir perfectly with the line he was spitting. I could be here all day picking out the talent behind some of the bars in this song. Have a listen below;

Gambimi – Picture

UK artist Gambimi caused a storm last week with a video on his Instagram that went viral showing him pleading a lover to forgive him for his wrongdoing. All of this was the lead up to the release of this single. The famous words “Can we fix, can we blend, can we contour” are possibly what stand out in the whole song. Personally I have been listening to Gambimi’s music for a while. He used to release songs regularly on SoundCloud. I feel his voice is a mixture of Trey Songz and UK singer Angel. A soothing R&B sound with the right kind of rifts and harmonies. Have a listen below;

Quality Control Ft. City Girls, Stefflon Don, Renni Rucci & Mustard – Like That

Quality Control have released a new album entitled; Quality Control: Control the Streets Volume 2. One of the things I like about QC as a label is their appreciation and support of female rappers. This song features their female Queens City Girls as well as new signee UK rapper Stefflon Don. We also are treated with an addition from Renni Rucci and Mustard.

Posted in music

Album Review: Kano – Hoodies All Summer

Kano is back with another album! In terms of UK greats when it comes to grime, Kano is considered one of the best we have. Personally, Kano is one of my favourite MC’s, he has a unique personality he lets out with his raps that make some of his lyrics unforgettable. Kano has been consistent with his hits and for someone who has literally been around for most of my childhood, to continuously release high quality music is a talent in itself. His delivery is so clear cut and for me, his clarity is one of the best things about him. I’ve picked some songs from the album that really stood out to me. Overall, the album for me is one of the best to come out of the UK this year. The replay value on this album is definitely high and I’m so happy Kano is back showing us how great he is. Have a read below.

Free Years Later:

The first track on the album is called “Free Years Later” and what an intro it is. The song gives us an insight on how Kano has felt in his life and how he has dealt with his success. He uses a lot of juxta positioning; “Waking from dreams, chasing my fears” and hints to the struggle he may have faced being successful; “Success brings more stress”. Another topic Kano talks about in this song is the effects of racism among black people. Kano even makes a mention to British rapper Stormzy in the second verse; “Babylon boy, look how they raided Stormzy”, referring to the time the British Police raided Stormzy’s house. Kano makes it known that even though some black artists have escaped their hardships and tough upbringings, they are still the topic of discrimination and racism. For me one of the standout lines in this song is when Kano says, “Lethal laughing to the Coutts account, now you approve of Pow”. It’s only now that Lethal B is making enough money to open a prestigious account that some people are starting to take him seriously. This is the idea that Black people must work twice as hard just to be treated like anyone else. Kano ends the verse with; “What D Double did for me, I just do for the youts” demonstrating the passing of the baton that is very evident in music. Kano is paying respect and homage to those before him and is aware that he has to carry on the torch for those after him.

Good Youtes Walk Amongst Evil

From the first few second of this song I could hear the grime straight away. The grime beat is crazy on this song and the pace matched Kano perfectly!!! On the chorus he says “Work so hard, we’re dying for a living for clothes and the cars” and that couldn’t be a realer statement. I feel this song relates to life. Everyone is just going along with the flow. For me the beat is what sells this record.

Trouble

This was one of the songs Kano had previously released as a single. The video is so creative too. Kano also takes on a softer approach as he sings a bit of the verses in this song. In this song, he explains to people the consequences of living in the “hood”. The interlude of the 999 call breaks up the song and makes it more real. For me I fee it is a direct example of life. When you think everything is going smoothly, something can just throw you off. In the hood, Kano is trying to show that life is not straight forward and nothing is safe. After this break, Kano begins to rap about the success from making it out of the hood, he mentions his friends and some well known fellow rappers; “Ghetts ain’t looked back since we blessed them stages”. I like the rawness of this track and it’s one of those songs you can vibe to as it’s slower paced. Kano gets out his message very clearly and you are almost reminded of the hardships he has had to face earlier on in his life.

Can’t Hold We Down Ft. Popcaan

This song brings out Kano’s Caribbean side out and I like that. I personally liked this song as it was a little different feel to the usual Kano song while still keeping his uniqueness. For me the line “All black Range Rover, all black women, I bet the Daily Mail wan’ photoshop a spliff in” made me laugh. This is a reference to the fact stereotypically Black stars are usually portrayed negatively in the UK newspaper publication especially in the Daily Mail online. Popcaan offers a nice relief and a dancehall sound to this song which is refreshing. Kano references his rapper friends again showing the genuine friendship they all have which goes deeper than music. I particularly like the outro as Popcaan and Kano vibes off eachother. Kano is so good at going back and forth with other artists as we see him regularly do with Ghetts and Giggs. Kano raps; “Fly guys summer (Hey) sent the kids out the ends (Hey, hey), but you can’t take the ends out the kid” reminding us that he remembers where he comes from and will always rep. I will definitely be replaying this song.

Got My Brandy, Got My Beats Ft. Lil Silva

This is the most emotional song on the album and I like the fact it’s towards the end. This song is definitely a love/heartbreak song. I get the impression it’s the facing of reality when you’re no longer with someone and trying to adjust with them not being in you’re life anymore. The beat on this song is minimalistic but somehow you can feel the exact pain and passion exuding from the lyrics. One of the lyrics that stand out for me; “So many lessons in love can’t be taught without the breaking of hearts“. For me this means that sometimes you have to suffer or go through pain in order to learn the most important lessons. Kano does sing “Don’t be sad for me, still got my brandy and my beats“, I like vulnerability of these lines. Kano is able to fine solace in the simplest pleasures despite all his wealth and freedom.

Class of Deja Ft. D Double E & Ghetts

Another song from the album that bad been previously been released as a single. This song is literally a combination of some of the UK’s BEST grime MC’S. This is one of those songs that would be amazing to watch live. The song reminds me of the old battle raps/cyphers people used to do. The wordplay in this song from the MC’S is incredible, there are too many bars to even pin point.

SYM

Another one of my favourite songs on the album and the perfect outro to a wonderful and memorable album. The song for me is aimed at everyone. It’s aimed at the ignorant people that believe that some Black men enjoy crime; “If you think niggas just love these drugs and crime“. It is also aimed at those black men that are getting money to never forget to give back; “Get your paper but you don’t get complacent, If we don’t hold each other down, we won’t make it”. This serves as a reminder that we are all in this together.