[Album Review] Ghetts stands tall on ‘Conflict of Interest’

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. Ghetts always insists that he is the best there is and after hearing this album, I must say, It will be hard to argue against that. If you are not a Grime lover or even aware of Ghetts’ music, you can listen to this album and understand to a T who Ghetts is, what he stands for and how insanely 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.

4 years ago in a Daily Duppy, Ghetts stated “How many times has a man said I’m shit, just cause he don’t know what I said?…I guess I’m designed to go over your head”. In a recent interview, promoting this album, Ghetts explained that as a result of this, he has had to learn how to make his music a bit more digestible to those who may not have understood it before. It’s clear that within the past few years, he has been putting it into practice and it has definitely been felt on this album. The evolution he has shown from a grime MC to a giant in the UK rap scene has been incredible to witness.

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, present and his future. He also reflects on his mistakes, his successes and most importantly, 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. Ghetts speaks his truth throughout the track 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! After hearing this intro track, it’s hard to stop yourself from replaying it and hearing the rest of the album!!

This leads perfectly into the next track ‘Mozambique’ featuring Jaykae and South African artist Moonchild Sanelly and 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 production on this song is an indication of what to expect for the rest of the album. 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 you were 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. The song is almost 7 minutes and it still does not feel enough! 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 blasting from speakers in the blazing sun! This track also emphasises the versatility of Ghetts. His flow on this song is as flawless as it is on the slowed paced song previously. 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 that can be used 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. 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. 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 a bit 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, also 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 unsurprisingly sounds sensational on this track.

‘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.

While some may argue that sometimes there may be a disconnect between his songs and people actually taking it in, this album will and should eradicate 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. Overall, this album exhibits the growth and maturity of Ghetts.’Fine Wine’ is the perfect analogy to describe 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. He just keeps getting better with time!

This is the definition of an ALBUM. 5/5 Stars without a doubt!

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