The Breakdown | Ghetts - Conflict Of Interest
Not many rappers in Ghetts' generation can claim to be consistent for the last ten years. The Newham rapper has delivered the UK music scene with quality projects over the years, and recently Ghetts has dropped us a new body of work called 'Conflict of Interest'. This album differs from his previous bodies of work such as 'Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament'. Ghetts approaches this album from a personal stance. The London rapper addresses his songs with thrilling storytelling that gives his listeners many accounts of his life.
Artists such as Stormzy, Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran, Skepta and more, feature on the album. Ghetts' project is an absolute masterpiece due to the intriguing stories he shares in this album. His lyricism is impressively breathtaking. The album arrived with high expectations based on the success of the singles released including 'Skengman' featuring Stormzy, 'No Mercy' featuring Pa Salieu and BackRoad Gee and 'Proud Family'.
The introductory track 'Fine Wine' sets the tone of this album. The project starts with Ghetts coherent storytelling, where he shares multiple accounts of his early life. The main aspects of his storytelling are how he had one foot in the music industry, and the other in his criminal lifestyle, and the transition into investing his time and energy solely into music. The Newham rapper makes it clear that he is focused on his pen game. This outpouring of talent allows Ghetts to show how has changed his mindset as he becomes a man with great self-esteem. He portrays himself as an untouchable, GOAT figure in the rap game where no one can come against him. The last point the rapper mentions is that he doesn't want to dwell on the past because the future is bright.
Music producer TJ Amadi provided an instrumental that contributes to the thrilling ambience Ghetts delivers when rapping these stories. The intro itself lives up to the title 'Conflict Of Interest' as it manifests various personas influenced by different stages of his life. These characters have differences, but they still intertwine with each other because they've inspired one another.
Ghetts has come along way to becoming the man he currently is. He started his Grime career while growing up in Plaistow, Newham. The rapper joined forces with many MCs such as Griminal and Devlin. The grittiness in Newham influenced Ghetts to be devoted to the Grime scene. Getting deep into the game encouraged Ghetts to be involved with the deviance in the streets and the music scene. He conveys this in his first couple of songs, 'Mozambique' featuring Jaykae and Moonchild Sanelly, 'Fire And Brimstone', 'Hop Out', 'IC3' featuring Skepta and 'Autobiography'. The music producers did a phenomenal job providing a menacing, dark ambience for these tracks as the instrumentals support the spirit Ghetts lyrics bring forth.
Ghetts exhibits that he has morphed into a hostile individual because of the uncertainties he experienced. 'Fire And Brimstone', 'IC3' and 'Autobiography' differ from the other songs because they introduce an alternative side to this character he initially portrays. Originally Ghetts gives off this proud energy of his wickedness in 'Mozambique'. 'Fire And Brimstone' highlights a man haunted by his violent, unlawful past because he states;
"new life, career too, my girl said, "you're legit now, why do feds still scare you?", i still get flashbacks, mans done bare moves, ran up in houses, filled vans and cleared rooms"
He shies away from his proudness because he finally admits that this has traumatised him meaning he has struggled to move on. Ghetts in 'Autobiography' goes deeper into his life as he displays that he's trying to survive a world where the grime scene intertwined with the streets, which has caused Ghetts to encounter danger in his underground career. He used this opportunity to enable his fans to understand why he's hostile instead of continuing his proudness in being violent. His offensive nature is rooted in his survival mode, which relates to 'IC3 because he gives a snippet of this environment, traumatising his mind. As Ghetts said;
"you think i give a fuck about a loose screw? my brother, my whole brain's gone"
He has become irrational in his thoughts. The trauma has changed him into a belligerent person. 'IC3' and 'Autobiography' end alike as they introduce Ghetts being a man with high self-esteem and a greater purpose. 'IC3' exhibits Ghetts viewing himself as a powerful black man and a King. Ghetts in 'Autobiography' reveals himself as a GOAT figure because of his legacy. The only difference between these songs is Ghetts in 'IC3' continues to have this boastful exuberance in being violent. This energy conflicts with the high-self esteem views he holds.
The next part of the album introduces a gentle side to Ghetts. The rapper conveys this character in the songs 'Good Hearts' featuring Aida Lae, 'Dead To Me', '10,000 Tears' featuring Ed Sheeran and, 'Sonya' featuring Emeli Sande. His lyrics differ in this case because it's about his relationship with women. The music producers wonderfully created this new mood in how they formulated instrumentals that assisted Ghetts with this mellow, sad vibe. This character is similar to the previous persona as Ghetts remains confident about the future. However, his past remains to get the better of him as it continues to haunt him and block out his blessings. The song 'Good Hearts' showcases conflict in the rapper's lyrics. The first part of this track highlights Ghetts being distraught by this mysterious woman from his past life. He asserts that this pain has made him heartless. Then mentions that he has a girlfriend and reassures her that she only matters to him. Later in the song, Ghetts gives a sign that he's cheating on her.
'Dead To Me' showcases Ghetts resenting his girlfriend because he blames her for the relationship's downfall. '10,000 tears' opposes 'Dead To Me' because he has remorse for his girlfriend. Ghetts admits to betraying his woman. He fights for their relationship and reveals his love to her, but she rejects it. His lover mentions he took her good heart for granted because he couldn't get over his past mysterious lover called Sonya. '10,000 Tears' expose his confusion because he reveals his genuine love for his girlfriend after claiming to be cold-hearted. The song 'Sonya' unveils Ghetts thoughts on Sonya from the past.
The album's final stage brings back the grittiness. 'Proud Family' gives a different angle to Ghetts, becoming this rough man. The Newham rapper dwells on the family struggles that led him to crime. Further in the song, Ghetts exhibits growth as he introduces himself as a role model for his children and the kids around him. The Newham rapper acknowledges this lifestyle being a negative influence on their upbringing. Also, he is conscious of his responsibility to be there for them. Ghetts declares that he wants no part in this unlawfulness, so he doesn't have the same destiny as his father. The next songs highlight Ghetts returning to his rough demeanour. These tracks are 'Skengman', 'No Mercy', 'Crud' featuring Giggs and 'Squeeze' featuting Miraa May. Ghetts conveys that he has to be cold-hearted to endure in this destructive street life as he states in Skengman'
"i could be the biggеr man but dem boy dere won't rеspect man's growth"
The reality Ghetts communicates is someone can go through maturity and turn away from that living. Unfortunately, it isn't easy because the dangerous lifestyle haunts your future due to old enemies in the past hanging around like a bad smell. Causing Ghetts to go back on what he said in Proud Family;
"if i let somethin' slide, you ain't worth the twenty-five"
as he continues to go down the violent spiral once again, reflected in Crud and Squeeze.
The last song on Ghetts' album, 'Little Bo Peep' featuring Dave, Wretch 32, and Hamzaa, is similar to the introduction where Ghetts showcases multiple personas. This track portrays the rapper finally being able to accept the past and move on in life. The Newham rapper illustrates that he is like his father as they both took a similar criminal path. However, their endings are different because Ghetts chose not to let crime determine his destiny. He asserts that there are moments that test him to spiral down the path of crime. But he decides to reject temptation so he can enjoy the happiness in his life. Dave and Wretch 32 rap their verses with Hamzaa on the chorus after Ghetts finishes his.
To summarise, Conflict of Interest was a work of art. Ghetts' phenomenal ability in his lyricism was evident in his wordplay and storytelling. This project highlights why Ghetts is a UK music icon and a legend for Newham. Before this album's release, he hoped for his project not being mistaken for a compilation. It shouldn't be because he executed the album incredibly well with his storytelling and the sound he brought forth for his listeners. The story is about Ghetts moving on for future sake, but his past haunts him. Eventually, he breaks those chains and becomes the great man he is today.