The wait for Ghetts’ highly anticipated new album ‘Conflict of Interest’ is finally over. From the range of his lyrical content to pitch-perfect production, Ghetts delivers with a vengeance on all fronts.
The Plaistow MC sets the tone perfectly on opening cut ‘Fine Wine’; “’Low me please, just crown me please… I love converting the non-believers so go ahead and doubt me please,” With features spanning legends like Skepta, Giggs and Wretch 32, rap heavyweights Stormzy, Dave and Jaykae, newcomers Pa Salieu and BackRoad Gee as well as multi award-winning singers Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sande, Ghetts has pulled out all the stops. This third studio album is a stellar body of work that peels back the layers protecting the rapper’s hard exterior.
Ghetts has teased banger after banger since last July, kicking things off with summer hit ‘Mozambique,’ featuring Jaykae and South African artist Moonchild Sanelly. ‘Mozambique’ is an unexpectedly rich melting pot. with Jaykae’s Brummie accent, Moonchild’s rolling Rs and verse in Xhosa before the break, each sound blends harmoniously, producing a truly unique record. Even Ghetts’ impromptu garage freestyle on No Signal radio a week later hinted that he was in beast mode, gearing up for something serious. With fans on Twitter hounding the rapper for more, Ghetts followed suit with ‘IC3’, ‘Skengman’, ‘Proud Family’ and finally ‘No Mercy’ from the new album, ahead of the drop.
‘Conflict of Interest’ represents the many different sides to Ghetts’ persona; from the wicked ‘Skengman,’ who’s ready to activate “skengman mode” at any point in time, to the family man singing stripped back melodies on ‘Proud Family.’ Over the 16 tracks, he lays bare the experiences that turned Justin into Ghetto, and later Ghetto into Ghetts. On the 7 minute treatise ‘Autobiography’ he warns “If you don’t tell your story, they gone’ tell it for you.” Ghetts claims ultimate authority over his story and openly calls out those who doubted his talent:
“I changed grime sonically, waged war properly
Done the impossible, made ‘em say possibly
All I got in exchange is niggas tryna copy me
And people that don’t really know the culture, running commentary
They didn’t want me here, I had to bob and weave
You ain’t self-made, what kind of odds did you beat?”
Previous album ‘Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament’ saw Ghetts’ lyrics laced with spirituality, and ‘Conflict of Interest’ sees Ghetts reflect on past romantic relationships towards the album’s mid-point on Garage-heavy ‘Good Hearts’, ‘Dead to Me’ and ‘10,000 Tears.’ With this level of introspection and willingness to make himself vulnerable, Ghetts shows that he’s not afraid to dive into his emotions, especially in pursuit of personal growth.
There’s no doubt that the Ghetts’ trajectory as an artist is borne of his consistency, as new documentary series ‘The Evolution of Ghetts’ will attest. The side of Ghetts that’s known for piercing lyricism and limitless flow shines through on tracks like ‘Crud,’ a Giggs collab that’s practically impossible not to wheel up. And still, yet another side of the rapper remains; his delivery on the closing cut, ‘Little Bo Peep’, is crisp, calm and collected over the delicate strings on production. And that’s just it, Ghetts is not to be doubted, he’s an artist who knows no bounds. Stream below on SoundCloud.