Ghetts maintains his position as one of the most compelling, visceral UK rappers on Conflict of Interest, but falls short in beat selection and creative selectiveness.
After 16 years on the scene, Ghetts has been present for many of the leaps and bounds within the grime and UK hip-hop scenes. Within this time, few have unleashed verses as explosive and raw. In 2021, he is still on form, offering diverse flows and styles from track to track.
While Ghetts does a lot of things right, it feels like a lot of things outside of his own performance could be improved upon. The production, aside from on a couple of standouts, is generally forgettable; with bland trap-esque hi-hats often layered over a simplistic beat. The features that appear across the LP also vary wildly in quality.
It could also be said that Ghetts sacrificed some of his appeal throughout the album by opting for a higher quantity of introspective, stripped-back tracks. He may well be at his best when he is absolutely thrashing a verse out on stage, and so his slow, emotional songs feel a bit lacklustre in comparison.
The final pitfall of Conflict of Interest is its length. The middling quality of a lot of the tracks makes it hard to justify a 70-minute tracklist, but that is what it comes to. When paired with the frequent interludes, the album is a slow listen.
With all that being said, there are no inherently poor tracks on offer here. Ghetts is consistently lyrically interesting and never feels stale in terms of flow and delivery. Ultimately, he himself is by far the best thing about Conflict of Interest, and he is arguably let down by the record’s other components.
As with his other mainstream album releases, Ghetts feels somewhat subdued. If he could unleash himself as he does in his live performances, or on many of his feature appearances, he could take his discography to the next level. However, despite my criticisms of the record, it is still one of the more enjoyable UK hip-hop releases of the year so far.