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

#MusicMondays – NEW MUSIC: Nico M – Damage

Hello All! It’s been a while I know! Today’s post is a quick continuation of my Instagram Post. It’s a debut song called ‘DAMAGE’ from UK newcomer Nico M. Very catchy song! Looking forward to seeing where the music takes Nico! I think he has a future in the scene! The single is out now!

Check it out below and stay tuned for more posts this week!

Posted in Album Reviews, music, UK Music

Mixtape Review: Unknown T – ‘Rise Above Hate’. – Collab with ‘Shahna Says’

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hey everyone! Another week, another EP review! Today’s post is extra special as I collab with the hottest journalist on the scene ‘Shahna Says’! We were both excited for the launch of this tape so figured it would be the perfect time to collaborate together.

UK Drill rapper Unknown T blew onto the scene with his smash hit ‘Homerton B’ back in 2018. Instantly, his infamous deep voice and unique flow became a household name. It can definitely be argued that he was one of the most important figures that contributed to the recent success of the drill genre. There was a setback with a recent jail stint but luckily, he was able to overcome and has finally got the time to shine. Straight in at the deep end, Unknown T releases his debut mixtape ‘Rise Above Hate’ and it’s clear from this tape that he is here to stay. One thing you can be guaranteed with an Unknown T project is that you will get unlimited hits. Having released many freestyles in between it was clear that Unknown T was more than just a ‘Drill” rapper. (One of my favourite live lounges from him has to be the Busta Rhymes cover).  He has proven himself to be an artist and more importantly a versatile one. For me, this was one of the reasons I highly anticipated this mixtape launch.

The tape starts off quite calmly as if Unknown T is preparing us for a big journey to come. Throughout the tape however, we are taken on a fun ride with all kinds of surprises along the way. Here are some of the tracks that we loved:

Deh Deh

For me the intro track was just a preparation for what was to come. ‘Deh, Deh’ is really where it all begins. Unknown T’s signature emphasis on the pronunciation of words is so evident on this track too! In this song Unknown T reminds us that he raps about his personal experiences. The accompanying video is great too as we are able to witness Unknown T executing his signature dance moves!

Addicts

M&L: I like the switch up from this song. The song starts off melodic with the voice of M Huncho along a trap type beat. The breakup allows us to have a bit of a break from the known greaze of Unknown T. It takes a talented artist to have songs with different sounds and still make it work. Unknown T is the king of this. When his verse comes in, it works so well without having to change the tone of the song. There are a few real messages I picked up in this song such as “It’s kinda sad that kids are killing kids” as M Huncho and Unknown T both touch on how the environment some kids are brought up is a key factor on how they turn out.

Shahna Says: Addicts’ with M Huncho has got to be one of my favourites and not because I’m an M Huncho super fan but because of the vibe they have together. We see Unknown T slow down his flow and sound a bit to compliment Huncho allowing him to take the first verse and chorus before we hear Unknown T. ‘I’m trapped in the ends with skengs, drug addicts and drillers, ballies and dingers’ lyrics like this give a nod to the artwork of the block of flats he grew up in and the whole projects theme. Other songs such as ‘Prison’ and ‘Fresh Home’ deal with the same openness with listeners appreciating the fact that he is out and all that he has been through.

Main Squeeze Ft. Young T & Bugsey

M&L: This song features the UK duo who have owned this quarantine period after the success of their song ‘Don’t Rush’. They provide their signature sound on this song and provide us with a memorable chorus and hook. This is not to take away the way Unknown T did his thing on his verse. His delivery and entrance on the song was just a prime example of how effortlessly talented he is. This song is also a great indication of how the UK scene is on top right now with both artists showcasing their individual talents in one track. It will be extremely hard to convince me that there is a genre Unknown T cannot make his own. I can see this being a commercial single.

Shahna Says: Main Squeeze’ has already hit the radio playlists, easily becoming the UK’s fave alongside his promo single ‘Deh Deh’. Main Squeeze is a girl song you could say and we hear Unknown T singing to a potential love interest and the placement of the song allows the listener to move away from the drill lyrics to a vibe that can be played while driving or in the club. Balance. Young T and Bugsey always bring their own vibe giving the song that afro swing feel. I look forward to a video for this one.

My thoughts on some other tracks I loved:

  • SS Interlude – This was a pleasant surprise on the tape. It’s clear that Unknown T enjoys switching up within his music. This may be a short track, but I feel he uses this interlude as a diary and a way to be vulnerable. He sings “Sometimes I struggle mentally”, a juxtapose from all the rough and tumble he is used to rapping about. It also seems like he is directing this at a love interest. I liked the change in pace at this point on the tape.
  • LV Ft. Young Adz –  I really enjoyed this collaboration. Since the release, this is one of the songs I’ve had on repeat. I love the production on this song, it reminds me of the type of sound you would hear on a game.
  • Leave Dat Ft. AJ Tracey – I don’t know where I was when this song was originally released a year ago but wow! I’m not usually a fan of AJ Tracey’s style but I feel this is the sound for him. We are all used to hearing Grime AJ but maybe he should consider more drill. His rapping style compliments the fast pace of the drill beats so well. These two could easily make a joint tape! What a track! A year later or not!

Ambition

M&L: The final track on this tape and wow what an outro! The stripped back production and slow pace prepares us for what feels like a heartfelt response from Unknown T. He uses the track to look back on how far he has come and how much of it has paid off. He also lets us know that he is not done yet; “I’m coming for the game, that’s my main ambition”; hinting that he is only beginning. This is exciting to hear as I truly believe Unknown T is one of the most talented artists in the UK right now. It’s clear that there are no limits to where his talent can go, and it is promising to hear that he is just getting started.

Shahna Says: The final song ‘Ambition’ feels very heartfelt and reminds me of other rappers such as Skrapz, Blade Brown, Asco and Nines when it comes to rapping about your previous life and what you’ve been through. The pain and drive is felt and heard in Unknown T’s voice as he explains he’s coming for the game that’s his main ambition. Touching on now being able to have designer clothes, dealing with relationships and his dream and vision overall. A perfect way to end the project.

Overall, this tape for me has been everything I expected and more. Unknown T constantly proves his talent and it is such a pleasure to hear his constant growth. I really hope there is more to hear from him in the future and it will be such a joy to see and hear how he expands his already growing fanbase.

Don’t forget to pop over to Shahna Says’ page to read more of her views on the project. The great thing about music is that it hits everyone differently! Hopefully this is the first of many more collabs with her!

Link for her page is also: https://shahnasayss.wordpress.com/

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”