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Birth nameJustin Clarke
Also known asGhetto, Ghetts, Reggie
Born (1984-10-09) 9 October 1984 (age 35)
Plaistow, London, England, United Kingdom
  • MC
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
Years active2003–present
Associated actsKano, Devlin, Scorcher, Wretch 32, Dot Rotten, Wiley, Lightning, Mercston, The Movement, Cher Lloyd, Yungen, Ed Sheeran, Chip, Tinchy Stryder

Justin Clarke (born 9 October 1984), better known by his stage name Ghetts (formerly Ghetto)[1] is a British grime MC, rapper and songwriter from Plaistow, East London with Caribbean roots from Jamaica and Grenada. His music has been played on national radio stations such as BBC Radio 1,[2] Kiss 100,[3] BBC Asian Network[4] and BBC Radio 1Xtra.[5] Currently, Ghetts is signed to independent record label Disrupt, and released his debut studio album, Rebel with a Cause, on 9 March 2014. Known for his hard hitting lyrics and intricate rhyme schemes, he is associated and has toured internationally with such acts as Kano and was a member of NASTY Crew.[6]

Musical career[edit]

Ghetto was a member of grime collective NASTY Crew, however he left, saying that things had gone "pear shaped" due to the number of people in the group. He later went on to create the grime collective The Movement, including Devlin, Wretch 32, Scorcher, Mercston, Lightning and DJ Unique. Ghetts has made a number of well-known songs within the UK Grime scene. In 2008 Ghetts was nominated for a BET award for Best UK Act along with Chipmunk, Giggs and Skepta, in the end Giggs took home the award.

2005: 2000 & Life[edit]

After being released from prison in 2003, at the age of nineteen years, Ghetto put out his first release, 2000 & Life in 2005. The mixtape contains 24 tracks and numerous collaborations. 2000 & Life is widely regarded as pioneering within the context of grime music.[7]

Initially after his release from prison, Ghetto was using the artist name "Freedom", however the name "wasn't catching on". His friends used to say he was "ghetto" and did "ghetto things", which began to catch on. Stormin, a fellow Plaistow-based MC, released a song called "Day By Day" which contained the lyric, "Back in the day me and my bredrin Ghetto". Following the release, he took on the name "Ghetto".[8][9]

Ghetto featured on Kano's album Home Sweet Home. In 2004, they filmed the video for "Typical Me" together, and Ghetto accompanied Kano on touring with Mike Skinner.[8][10]

2007: Ghetto Gospel[edit]

In 2007 Ghetto released his second pre-album mixtape Ghetto Gospel. The mixtape was a departure from his previous release, 2000 & Life, being more mellow and featuring tracks about his female relationships: girlfriends, sister, and mother. In interviews, he has stated that the mixtape's calmer tone is to "prove people wrong", as he does not want to be typecast as an aggressive and angry rapper.

"Ghetto Gospel" was considered Ghetts' breakthrough of that year and era, with 'Top 3 Selected' becoming an underground hit in its own right. He personally names this mixtape as his best body of work in many interviews.

The album is titled Ghetto Gospel to demonstrate that Ghetts has put his soul into creating it.

On 27 October 2007 Ghetts performed with Kano at the BBC Electric Proms,[11] performing alongside a violinist.[12]

Hypothetically, Ghetto Gospel was Ghetts' debut album in which he mislabelled it as a mixtape; due to a recent interview with Link Up TV where he described Ghetto Gospel being his first studio album, but became unsure as to what to label it due to industry influences and a lack of resources at that time to have called it a full LP. This means his debut album "Rebel With A Cause" (2014) is his second studio album.

2008: Freedom of Speech, Boy Better Know beef[edit]

On 10 March 2008, released Freedom of Speech. It is predominantly a solo mixtape, and features no other producers aside Lewi White and Smasher (The pair responsible for "Back in the Day").

Many grime fans say that "Freedom Of Speech" is considered Ghetto's best body of work, especially with how dark and aggressive this mixtape was. Unknown to many, he also had 'beef' with Boy Better Know (3 members from the crew that he had clashed previously in consecutive years) and two of the mixtape's songs were centered on each member of the crew. This type of promotion was what helped him increase record sales in famous retail stores. Some of the mixtape's content was banned from legal radio at the time, however, some of the songs' one-liners have go on to become famous trademarks in grime events.

It includes collaborations with Smasher, Griminal, Brutal, Chipmunk & Devlin. Ghetto stated that the mixtape is more akin to 2000 & Life than Ghetto Gospel.[citation needed]

Ten years later, "Freedom Of Speech" is still widely considered as a classic grime mixtape and most of the one-liners still get used for reloads in famous grime events such as Eskimo Dance.

2010: The Calm Before the Storm[edit]

On 12 July 2010, Ghetto release his fourth mixtape under the alias Ghetts, entitled "The Calm Before the Storm". This was a highly anticipated release fusing the best elements of UK hip-hop and grime into this pre-album massacre. Ghetts immediately gives the people what they want; pure Grime bangers with Ghetts' ridiculous word play and flow in full effect. The opening track "Intro" provides a trademark murky riddim which Ghetts unleashes – schooling listeners on everything from collabos to his take on Grime guys dominating the charts with watered down material. Pure 140bpm vibes make up CBTS, with production provided by the likes of Z Dot, Rude Kid and Nocturnal as well as bringing along a number of guests including fellow east Londoners Griminal, Devlin and Maxsta among others to help out. On 13 March Ghetts won an OMA(Official Mixtape Award)for his mixtape, The Calm Before The Storm. He also featured on a track called "On A Mission" with Dot Rotten and Opium on Mumzy Stranger's mixtape "No Stranger To This"

2011–2012: Non-album projects[edit]

Ghetto's "Sing For Me (Electro Remix)"; produced by Rude Kid had attention from the mainstream market. The single was signed by All Around the World Productions, who specialise in electronic dance music and were home to acts such as N-Dubz and Cascada. On 21 February 2011, GrimeDaily uploaded the official video of a song titled "Who's on the Panel". The song is directed at the MTV Base panel who presented the "Best of the Best: UK MCs 2010" show on Sunday, 20 February 2011.[13] Ghetts wasn't in the list, and "vowed to make a track sending for the panel who cast the list and also vowed to shoot a video and have it on YouTube in the morning."[14] The song and video was finished the next day, premiering on Kiss 100 the day before the video upload. On 25 February 2011, the song was made available to download on iTunes, along with another song titled "I Told Ya" featuring Rapid – which also had a video shot and uploaded by GrimeDaily on 24 February 2011.[15] Ghetts collaborated with Cher Lloyd on her record "Dub on the Track" in 2011. He featured on Clement Marfo & The Frontline's single "Overtime". He released the single "On A Level" in late 2011. The official remix features Scorcher, Kano & Wretch 32.

2010–2014: Rebel with a Cause[edit]

Ghetts' long-awaited debut album Rebel with a Cause was released on 10 March 2014 on the independent label Disrupt.[16] The album campaign started with a spoken word video "Definition of a rebel", followed by the non-album single "The Cypher" which was released on 28 July 2013 and features all personas and elements of Ghetts' personality. The track peaked at number 9 in the iTunes hip hop charts. The album's lead single "Rebel" became available to download when you pre-order the album from 2 February onwards.[17]

On 19 September US singer Chris Brown co-signed East London MC Ghetts and shared the video for his track 'Feel Inside' declaring "What Ya'll Think?'.[18]

Ghetts had reportedly recorded more than 150 songs for the album (with some footage of his demos found on YouTube). Release dates for "Rebel With A Cause" dated back from 2010; reportedly it was meant to have been released after his mixtape 'The Calm Before The Storm'. Unknown to many, the album was originally called 'The Justifications of J. Clarke', but in a 2010 interview with SBTV, he stated that he wasn't ready to have made an album of that manner.

2018: Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament[edit]

On 30 August 2018, Ghetts officially announced the follow-up to his 2007 release Ghetto Gospel, titled Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament, was due for release on 14 September 2018.[19] Along with the album announcement, Ghetts shared the first single from the album, "Black Rose" featuring Kojey Radical.[20]

Political views[edit]

In November 2019, along with 34 other musicians, Ghetts signed a letter endorsing the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2019 UK general election with a call to end austerity.[21][22]


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
Rebel with a Cause 23
Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament
  • Released: September 14, 2018
  • Label: GIIG
  • Formats: CD, digital download


  • 2005: 2000 & Life
  • 2007: Ghetto Gospel
  • 2008: Freedom of Speech
  • 2010: The Calm Before the Storm
  • 2011: Momentum [Hosted by DJ Whoo Kid]
  • 2014: Momentum 2 (The Return of Ghetto)


  • 2010: Merry Christmas EP
  • 2015: 653 - EP (with Rude Kid)


Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Top 3 Selected" 2008 Ghetto Gospel
"Sing for Me" Non-album singles
"Sing 4 Me (Remix)" 2009
"Don't Phone Me"
(featuring Griminal)
"Don't Phone Me (Remix)"
(featuring Fumin & Lil Nasty)
(featuring Maxsta & Dollar Da Dustman)
2010 The Calm Before the Storm
"Trained to Kill"
(featuring Dot Rotten)
"Grime Daily"
"Who's on the Panel" 2011 Non-album singles
"I Told Ya"
(featuring Rapid)
"Rebel" 2014 5 Rebel with a Cause



  1. ^ "BBC - Music - Introducing - Artist - Ghetts".
  2. ^ "BBC – Radio 1 – Ras Kwame – Tracklisting".
  3. ^ " - UK Music. » Blog Archive". Archived from the original on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
  4. ^ BBC. "BBC - Asian Network - Mic Check".
  5. ^ BBC. "BBC - 1Xtra - DJ Cameo".
  6. ^ Hyperfrank. "Interview with Ghetto Hyperfrank Hyperfrank - Hyper About Grime".
  7. ^ Online Mixtape Review: Ghetto – 2000 & Life: RWD Magazine[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b ‘THE TRANSITION’ FEATURING GHETTS - FOR THE CULTURE EP 35, retrieved 23 November 2019
  9. ^ Dummy. "The 10 most underrated vocal grime tracks, according to Ghetts". DummyMag. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  10. ^ Rasiah, by Janine. "Do you Ghetts me? Rapper reflects on Plaistow roots". Newham Recorder. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  11. ^ "BBC ELECTRIC PROMS: Kano + Ghetto at Jazz Café – Rock, pop & dance – Music – Time Out London". Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2007.
  12. ^ "BBC - Electric Proms 2007 - Ghetto".
  13. ^ MTV Presents Best Of The Best: UK MCs 2010 on
  14. ^ Ghetts – ‘Who’s on the Panel?’ Archived 15 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine on
  15. ^ GHETTS FEAT RAPID – I TOLD YA [OFFICIAL VIDEO] by GrimeDaily's official YouTube.
  16. ^ "Rebel with a Cause". 10 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Track Premiere: Ghetts – Rebel". SoundCloud. 2 February 2014.
  18. ^ "Chris Brown is a fan of Ghetts!?". GRM Daily.
  19. ^ "Ghetts Announces 'Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament' With Kojey Radical-Assisted "Black Rose"". Complex. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  20. ^ "Ghetts Focusses On Fatherhood With 'Black Rose'". Clash Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Musicians backing Jeremy Corbyn's Labour". The Guardian. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  22. ^ Gayle, Damien (25 November 2019). "Stormzy backs Labour in election with call to end austerity". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  23. ^ "GHETTS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company".