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Grime MC Ghetts brings a sinister intensity to even his most pop-friendly tracks. After participating in several grime collectives, he chose to focus on his solo output in 2005. In addition to prolifically releasing mixtapes, Ghetts brought his slithering vocal presence and shadowy flows to studio albums like 2021's Conflict of Interest (which reached number two in the U.K. charts), as well as to featured appearances on tracks and collaborations with Stormzy, Skepta, and others. Ghetts was born Justin Clarke in Plaistow, East London, in 1984. He originally started out in the grime collective NASTY Crew before leaving to set up the Movement, which also featured Devlin, Wretch 32, and Schorcher. After a stint in prison at the age of 18, Clarke released his first mixtape as Ghetto, 2005's 2000 & Life, and returned two years later with the calmer, laid-back Ghetto Gospel. The more aggressive follow-up Freedom of Speech, which featured spots by Devlin, Chipmunk, and Wretch 32, came a year later in 2008. Clarke released his fourth mixtape, The Calm Before the Storm, in 2010, and this was the first to be issued under his Ghetts moniker. The album elevated Clarke's position in the grime scene and also gained him mainstream exposure when a dance remix of the single "Sing 4 Me" was picked up by U.K.-based label All Around the World. Continuing to release singles through various grime blogs and websites -- including the MTV diss track "Who's on the Panel" -- Clarke returned in 2014 with his full-fledged debut album proper, Rebel with a Cause, which saw him take inspiration from his previous mixtapes and singles to deliver a collection of aggressive, crossover grime tracks, all in his quick-fire, biting style. In between Rebel with a Cause and his next studio album, Ghetts released several stand-alone tracks and projects like 2015's 653, a collaboration with Rude Kid. In 2018, sophomore album Ghetto Gospel 2: The New Testament appeared, featuring guest spots from President T, Suspect OTB, Stefflon Don, and many others. Over the next few years, Ghetts appeared as a featured artist on tracks from peers like Jacob Banks and Che Lingo. In 2020, he released the songs "Proud Family" and "IC3" (featuring Skepta), and in January 2021, he issued "Skengman," a collaboration with Stormzy that quickly amassed over a million streams. The rapper's third studio album, Conflict of Interest, arrived in February 2021. Taking the rapper into a wider array of the rap spectrum, the project featured contributions from artists including Giggs, Dave, and Ed Sheeran.
© Rich Wilson & Fred Thomas /TiVo
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