The Growing Legacy of Ghetts In ‘Conflict of Interest’

Amanda Da Great

By Amanda Da Great

Amanda Da Great

22 Feb 2021

By definition a conflict of interest‘is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests, financial or otherwise, and serving one could involve working against another.’ 

Characterised by a sound which is ahead of its time, and an MC whose presence dominates the album, ‘Conflict of Interest’ as hinted by title and its artwork – which pictures a smirking Justin Clarke torn between two former versions of himself – will have listeners understanding that this body of work provides an intuitive breakdown of how a bespoke storyteller was his own COI, at a certain point in time. 

From the moment he made it clear that the project rollout was a process he intended to enjoy, by dropping teasers that gave us a taste – but not the full meal; it was clear that this rap veteran was out to revolutionise a genre that many UK rap fans would debate, has died out. However, those who have a real love and appreciation for the chaotic 140bpm productions will acknowledge the cultural shift those beats have brought on. They’ll also tell you how Ghetts has single-handedly proven that Grime is in fact, alive and kicking.

Through ‘COI’ we’ve not only been gifted with a more evolved and contemporary form of the genre, but we’ve also been blessed with a more refined penman whose journey through music has been incredible to follow because he’s constantly developing. Constantly bringing on advancements to the scene; shifting, changing – and he certainly doesn’t plan to stop.  In this project there’s a strong presence of smooth, orchestral transitions which follow a logical order; making tracks impossible to skip and subconsciously increasing the chances of us going back to replay this work of art. Every song also possesses film-scorish, soundtrack-like qualities, because of the emotion they can bring out of a listener taking in the aural waves – whether they’re being unleashed by a set of manic speakers, or from the comfort of our earphones. 

The Newham rapper brought gospel to Grime and has received an incredible reception from the release. He gifted his audience with carefree, spontaneous compositions that enhance his unapologetic style of spitting in tracks such as ‘Fine Wine’, ‘Fire and Brimstone’ and ‘No Mercy’, featuring Pa Salieu and Backroad Gee. Furthermore, he shelled out an in-album trilogy which commenced with the conscious banger ‘IC3’, followed on with the tense ‘Skengman’ and concluded with a mischievous ‘Crud’. All of which feature three of the greats when there’s any mention of UK rap; Skepta, Stormzy and Giggs, respectively. Also, let’s not forget the quality of every other feature, that puts into the perspective the level of artistry we’re talking about here; Jaykae, Moonchild Sanelly, Aida Lae, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sandae, Miraa May as well as the likes of Dave, Wretch 32 and Hamzaa. It’s incredible, really.

He accomplished the above, whilst paying homage to the East side of London; giving credit to a place that has fed into his talent and there’s a beauty to that. Ghetts reached new heights with ‘Conflict of Interest,’  and along with the momentum Justin has successfully built up until this point, his legacy will only continue to grow.