Its been almost 16 years since 2000 & Life hit the streets, and for those of us not lucky enough to procure an original copy, we flouted the risk of infecting our computers with all manner of viruses and malware, or if you were like me, bought bootlegged versions of it at Wembley market. Ghetto, as Ghetts was more commonly known back then, was an electric presence on the mic. Whether it was dominating radio sets, or using his signature flow to sculpt some of the most intricate rhyme patterns we’d ever heard. His name might have changed slightly, but his MO has remained much the same.
Ghetts, like the opening track of the album suggests, has aged like a fine wine, and after 15 years in the game, he’s finally making his major label debut with Conflict of Interest. The album boasts a plethora of heavyweight features, from Stormzy, to Pa Salieu to the mighty Ed Sheeran. Despite the impressive supporting cast, its mostly Ghetts that we’re interested in. The task might be insurmountable, but we’ve attempted to compile 11 of our favourite lyrics from Conflict of Interest, any fan of Ghetts will tell you this is no mean feat.
“Lets talk about legacy, I dont care about nostalgia, my best years are ahead of me. When I signed to Warner my brudda I was already me. Thats 15 years hard work no breaks or therapy, acapella on DVDs no beats no bass or melodies.
“What the fuck you telling me? Most of my peers in the cemetery, cant do an album, putting out mixtapes, cant do a thousand. Whatever they do does terribly. Can’t do a show, can’t do a tour, same lyrics from 2004, and these are the bruddas that you rate heavily?”
“Fine Wine” is one hell of an opener. I challenge anyone to get through the first listen without wheeling it up at least once. Ghetts is in his natural habitat here, making a mockery of what we thought we knew about flows, swapping effortlessly between his calm measured delivery, to the unhinged maniacal brilliance of Ghetto that is constantly bubbling beneath the surface. It’s difficult to pick just a single line to quote, we had to go with one where we find him asserting his longevity in the game.
“Mozambique” Feat Jaykae & Moonchild Sanelly
“What could they tell me about chef, like I aint made food out of human? Like man aint looked in my grill and I aint had to barbecue them.”
The first single we were treated to from the new album. The eye catching visuals are only surpassed by Ghetts’ and Jaykae’s sparring session. The two had gone at it years earlier over a Sir Spyro production on “Hell To The Liars”. The dark shift in the “Mozambique” instrumental summons Ghetto, and he comes out firing.
“IC3” Feat Skepta
“Dont tell me go back where I came from while the Queen sits there in stolen jewels. Cool, I’ll go back with a chain on and light up the place like Akon.”
A collaboration that the old heads amongst us have been waiting on for over a decade. Theres plenty of nods to the musical history of these two, and hearing them go back to back is a thing of beauty. Ghetts’ lyric above is most definitely standout from the track.
“By the Time Risky rung my phone, I was a different being, taking less risks on road even in the PM. Outside my yard, chipped tooth, who set the levels? Mouth full of bars, true stories, check the records.”
It’s difficult to sum up a career as illustrious as Ghetts’ in a single track, but the almost seven minute “Autobiography” attempts just that. The reference above is of course referring to the now iconic freestyle of Ghetts tirelessly spitting lyrics outside his house, captured by the lens of one of grime’s first cameraman, Risky Roadz.
“Good Hearts” Feat Aida Lae
“Last time man got hit by cupid he definitely had a machine gun. Pull out game Billy the Kid, I don’t leave nuttin babe not even the pre-cum, the only pre man a deal wit is Preeya Kalidas or rassclart prenup.”
Similar to Ghetts and Rude Kid, hearing Ghetts on a Sir Spyro production is a match made in heaven. Ghetts deftly glides over the instrumental and smoothly delivers one of the hardest/funniest bars on the album. This is certainly set to be a favourite amongst the “purist” Ghetts fans.
“Dead To Me”
“Obstacles or not, I gotta treat you like an opp, just cause I’m not what you opted for. Even though I feel like I could offer more, I’m still not allowed in, I’m in the corridor. I thought we were bonding to live and let die, for your eyes only, you know me I’m Roger Moore.”
Ghetts’ ability to diversify is uncanny. Ever since his first release, Ghetts has been able to try his hand at many things, he’s never been one dimensional. Here he is talking about a relationship that has broken down, and somehow weaving in a James Bond reference!
“10,000 Tears” Feat Ed Sheeran
“Oh I think this is my calling, but Bae aint saying good morning, I’m just here trying to fix it, got a toolbox full of no tools in, anything I say gets twisted, cool off until the morning”
It’s no secret that Ghetts comes from a musical family. His aunt famously features on his game changing second mixtape Ghetto Gospel. Little did we know that the musical talent extended far beyond his song writing, here we see the true extent of this: Ghetts singing alongside Ed Sheeran.
Purists will no doubt have something to say about it, but no one can deny Ghetts certainly holds his own on a track none of us expected. It’s been almost a decade since the two first collaborated on Ed Sheeran’s “Drown me out”, which featured on No.5 Collaborations Project.
“Gotta lead by example, show the yout dem what I’m on. Mic on, let bygones be bygones, I told you I’m blessed my guy, I replaced that ex with an I, thats why they call me an icon.”
Ghetts covers so many topics on his major label debut, “Proud Family” is one of the highlights. Ghetts now an elder, is refreshingly open on his life experiences thus far, and delivers some real heartfelt food for thought for us. Irrespective of the subject matter, Ghetts is always lyrically on point.
“Crud” Feat Giggs
“True Don Dada, cant tell man about bruise and batter, cant tell man about boom and scatter, cant tell man about shoot like Kaka, cant tell man about who’s that rapper, them type a ting make human parra, cant tell man about food and trapper, been out here since FUBU and Kappa. Baby nine man goo goo gaga, sting man like Buju and Shabba”
This entire scheme was so good Ghetts had to give us an encore to close the track. Ghetts’ delivery of this toasting esque flow is immaculate, and packed full of all the things we love about Ghetts’ distinctive lyricism.
“Little Bo Peep” Feat Dave, Hamzaa and Wretch 32
“I’m just an outsider inside, outlining things I’m, surrounded by this time, the outcomers insight to how some live life. The shoe doesn’t fit me anymore and thats for sure, but the trousers still fit fine.
“We just follow fashion, follow trends, follow enemies and follow friends, being followed by the feds, and follow women on the gram, and then we follow them again. Everybody’s following but where are they being led?”
When we first laid eyes on the track list, this line up left us awestruck. The prospect of hearing three of the countries best lyricists on the same track is something we don’t get very often. We can’t forget Hamzaa providing soulful vocals, alongside Wretch on the chorus. That would probably be my only complaint about this track, that 32 didn’t get an actual verse.
“I went back to the essence, its not only bars my brudda, I’m a man with the message, its much more than slappings and cheffings, what about family settings? What about actual blessings, that new year new me talk, what about January lessons? The Mic is my therapist I’m just having a session.”
One of the many questions that people have been asking, is how did Ghetts get into this headspace that he’s in now. The run that he’s been on before dropping this album has been crazy, Ghetts gives us an insight with this lyric right here.
There’s so many great lyrics throughout the album, that must be listened to from front to back, something which has been forgotten in the age of the playlist. Let us know what your favourite lyrics are on the socials!