Review: Ghetts (@Therealghetts) Celebrates Ghetto Gospel 10 Year Anniversary At The Roundhouse London

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Pho­to Cred­it: John Wil­li­ams

I walked into the Round­house, Cam­den on a chap­pin’ Monday night, Janu­ary 30th 2017. Went in through secur­ity, looked up at the ceil­ing of the icon­ic ven­ue, passed through the doors to the main area, bought a drink, then passed through the isles and…saw nuff seats. I said to my brother OMeza, ‘I swear I didn’t think this was a sit­ting down thing!” Even hav­ing been here before and know­ing that a lot of Hip Hop and Grime artists have per­formed here, it just seemed mad to think that they would fill the stand­ing area with seats for a per­form­ance by a brother who has built his name, career and repu­ta­tion on get­ting first sets, then raves, now fest­ivals hype as fuck. That’s how it went down this time too – people weren’t sit­ting for long…

We were in early and the event filled up slowly. Round­house res­id­ent Awa­te kept the crowd enter­tained with his soul­ful, Cam­den inspired sound along­side DJ Turk­ish. He brought out some more loc­al tal­ent, young emcees Dusty, J-Mal and Sky­lark, who brought some real fire with their cameo– keep an ear out for them. SNE fol­lowed, hand picked by the main event to really set off the Grime vibes. The East Lon­don­er and his people did just that, run­ning in and out of the aisles, holler­in at ladies in the audi­ence with his bars; the stage was set.

Then the lights went down, the band and backup sing­ers were set up, a ‘Ghetto Gos­pel’ choir lined up singing har­mon­ies, then Ghetts hit the stage. The noise level hit full volume. The Round­house was ram, every seat taken, aisles full of people stand­ing, show­ing pure sup­port for one of the pion­eers of a prop­erly homegrown music scene. The crowd was clearly a mix of heads who had clocked on to Ghetts later and the major­ity who had been around from the begin­ning (or near enough), when man was still called Ghetto, mak­ing his name on radio and clash DVDs, from before or around the time he’d dropped ‘Ghetto Gos­pel’ the under­ground clas­sic he was here to cel­eb­rate cre­at­ing 10 years ago. That mix of people, the full band and the loc­a­tion were all evid­ence of how far the brother has come in those 10 years, going from a hype youth nav­ig­at­ing his envir­on­ment, a young Grime scene and a music/media industry that has nev­er fully appre­ci­ated emer­ging Black tal­ent, to a cer­ti­fied vet of that now mature scene, a seasoned per­former who still has that hype energy but who is now cel­eb­rated by a lot of people in that same industry. A lot of that pro­gress is largely thanks to ‘Ghetto Gos­pel’ the ver­sat­il­ity he showed in cre­at­ing and com­pil­ing that body of work, made up of the rid­dims he was per­form­ing tonight.

Ghetts got things mov­ing with char­ac­ter­ist­ic hype tracks like ‘Stage Show Don’. Hold­ing the mic down alone, he com­manded the stage, and the energy he brought was matched by the band and the crowd. Plenty of times through­out the show, on tracks and when spit­ting acapel­la, he stopped and let those ded­ic­ated fans say the bars for him, again show­ing how much sup­port he has. He changed the tone in the middle of the set,performing more heart­felt tracks like ‘Under­stand’ and bring­ing out his aunt to add her vocals on ‘State of Mind’. We’d spoken before the show and Ghetts had said how much ‘Ghetto Gos­pel’ meant to him as a pro­ject and that he was dis­ap­poin­ted he didn’t have the plat­form to prop­erly launch it at the time it was released. You could see that get­ting to cel­eb­rate it now made it an emo­tion­al event for him. This was most clear when he brought the choir back out to per­form ‘Closest Thing to Heav­en’, ded­ic­ated to his mother, who got out of her seat and embraced him as the track ended.

After that, the vibe switched again – to straight Grime. The crowd went nuts when he dropped ‘Hero’ and the seat­ing plan was done! People ran out their seats and from the aisles and made a stand­ing area of their own at the front of the stage, bring­ing the rave to the Round­house. The event hit its peak and prop­erly went off when ‘Top 3 Selec­ted’ dropped. Every­one was on their feet, gun fin­gers in the air before it went up another level higher. Nuff of Ghetts’ man­dem hit the stage and out of that crowd emerged Kano and Scorch­er, rep­res­ent­ing like they did on the ori­gin­al remix. The love they got was crazy. It was the end­ing the event deserved — ‘Ghetto Gos­pel’ had got­ten its deserved cel­eb­ra­tion.

Click here to watch our inter­view with Ghetts. 

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Apex Zero

Apex Zero

Apex Zero is an emcee and beat maker who has been express­ing his anti-polit­ic­al views and extend­ing his work towards defin­ing, inspir­ing and cre­at­ing last­ing change through Hip Hop for over a dec­ade. Apex has been work­ing with grass­roots and mil­it­ant organ­isa­tions, edu­cat­ing him­self and oth­ers, organ­ising and build­ing towards over­turn­ing the oppress­ive mech­an­ism at large since his mid-teens, around the same time that he entered London’s under­ground Hip Hop scene as part of his crew, First and Last with his brother OMeza Omni­scient. Years of earn­ing respect and enhan­cing their repu­ta­tion, which lead to col­lab­or­a­tions and work­ing rela­tion­ships with many of the scenes most prom­in­ent artists and organ­isa­tions, mani­fes­ted in the Octo­ber 2013 release of Apex’s debut solo album ‘Real­ity Pro­vok­ing Lib­er­a­tion’. The 15 tracks of self-described ‘Neo-Hard­core Hip Hop’ gathered inter­na­tion­al acclaim from both fans and crit­ics, fur­ther enhan­cing Apex’s repu­ta­tion as one of the strongest and clearest voices in anti-polit­ic­al, ‘revolu­tion­ary’ Hip Hop in the UK. Based in Beijing, China since 2014, Apex has been trav­el­ling out­side of the UK, seek­ing new per­spect­ives and aim­ing at enhan­cing his out­look, explor­ing dif­fer­ent soci­et­ies, con­nect­ing with Hip Hop heads, act­iv­ists and schol­ars world­wide. Like his music, his writ­ing is often an exten­sion of his ideas and efforts to effect change in the world whil­st enhan­cing and elev­at­ing both the cul­ture of Hip Hop and the people who embody it.

About Apex Zero

Apex Zero
Apex Zero is an emcee and beat maker who has been expressing his anti-political views and extending his work towards defining, inspiring and creating lasting change through Hip Hop for over a decade. Apex has been working with grassroots and militant organisations, educating himself and others, organising and building towards overturning the oppressive mechanism at large since his mid-teens, around the same time that he entered London’s underground Hip Hop scene as part of his crew, First and Last with his brother OMeza Omniscient. Years of earning respect and enhancing their reputation, which lead to collaborations and working relationships with many of the scenes most prominent artists and organisations, manifested in the October 2013 release of Apex’s debut solo album ‘Reality Provoking Liberation’. The 15 tracks of self-described ‘Neo-Hardcore Hip Hop’ gathered international acclaim from both fans and critics, further enhancing Apex’s reputation as one of the strongest and clearest voices in anti-political, ‘revolutionary’ Hip Hop in the UK. Based in Beijing, China since 2014, Apex has been travelling outside of the UK, seeking new perspectives and aiming at enhancing his outlook, exploring different societies, connecting with Hip Hop heads, activists and scholars worldwide. Like his music, his writing is often an extension of his ideas and efforts to effect change in the world whilst enhancing and elevating both the culture of Hip Hop and the people who embody it.