Dave Ghetto: Spread the Light
By Melanie J. Cornish
When MC’s brag about hailing from tough hoods, Dave Ghetto might take the cake. Famed by a landfill and a prison, Camden, New Jersey attracts trouble from Philadelphia and New York. It also has a crime-wave not unlike scenes from Sin City. But amidst the depression, is a lot of living beauty. Dave Ghetto brings both sides to his debut album, Lovelife?
Equally, Dave Ghetto is outspoken against the status quo of radio rap. However, he’s not throwing pennies at a window he can’t reach. Reportedly, Just Blaze and Fat Joe are checking for Dave, as well as others. With a good heart, a quick pen, and a sharp tongue, Dave Ghetto may be an independent artist that shakes things up a bit.
AllHipHop.com: How much has your environment, you know growing up in the notorious Camden, New Jersey, influenced you in your rhymes?
Dave Ghetto: Well, Camden is part of my personality, my swagger, the way I walk, the way I talk, how I carry myself is all about Camden. My music is what represents all the inner-workings of me which is Camden, the hood, education, some street bulls**t. You know these are all a part of me and I am just presenting it to the world, Camden is just one aspect of that.
AllHipHop.com: When you write your lyrics do you have anyone you are specifically trying to reach out to?
Dave Ghetto: No, I just write. I write about things that affect me, you know push my buttons. You know get me going and it just so happens that there are people that feel the same way I do. You know it is everyday adult s**t: things like bills being paid, the President being a prick, whatever is on your mind as an adult.
AllHipHop.com: You tackle a lot of social issues on your album, in “Hey Young World Part Two” you talk about girls growing up too fast. What do you think that is down to, bad parenting?
Dave Ghetto: I think it is down to a mixture of a lot of things. Systematically, things are set up and then you fall into [traps]. As far as a woman raising multiple children on her own, in order for her to make that happen she has to work extra jobs so she may not be spending as much time in the house or whatever. The father may not be present for whatever reason, you know he may also be working; he may be locked up or may not even be around at all. Me as a father, I do the best I can for my children. I came up in a house where my pops wasn’t necessarily present all the time. I feel that I am doing a pretty good job, based off that. It is all relative; you know what some people see as bad parenting, other people see as I am doing what I can.
AllHipHop.com: With topics like this in your rhymes, what are you trying to bring to the listener?
Dave Ghetto: Balance. A sound that is reminiscent of the better days, when quality music was created. I am not saying that what is going on right now is the worst that Hip-Hop has to offer, but I remember a time when you could hear a variety of music on the radio. Now, it is conveyor belt rap, two three albums a year and all the records start to sound alike. You know there is no real difference between G-Unit, Dip Set and D-Block, it is all the same concept, and there is no variety. I am trying to bring a little change and to solidify the presence of Little Brother, myself, and allow others to be heard that walk along the lines that we walk.
AllHipHop.com: But with the wider audience we have now; do you think there is more room for what we may consider sub-standard Hip-Hop?
Dave Ghetto: That is very true. But that being said, with the way music is set up now a particular region tends to dominate and you don’t get to hear so much the dope music that is being made in the East or in the West. All you are getting is the music from down South and when you hear that there is a lot of nonsense mixed in with that.
AllHipHop.com: Doesn’t the worst of the worst make the best of the best come out in some artists?
Dave Ghetto: Yeah that too, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be played to the rest of the world. [Laughing]
AllHipHop.com: The “Groupie Sex” track you did with Cee-Lo, was that encouraged after Confessions of a Video Vixen or was that something you were working on previous to her expose?
Dave Ghetto: Well, no. Conceptually, “Groupie Sex” was done a minute ago. But the Superhead line in the rhyme came up more so recently. You know I wrote it a while back but when we came up to record I did change a few lines here and there.
AllHipHop.com: As a dude in the industry, do groupies make it that easy for you?
Dave Ghetto: Well see me, personally, I am a people person, so I have never really had problems meeting women. but I really don’t see the difference. It is what it is. We meet people, sometimes they are genuine, sometimes they are not but at the same time, it is like that on an every day basis. When I wrote that track, it was more from a particular view but it was to outshine the entire concept of groupiehood so to speak.
AllHipHop.com: Just Blaze, Fat Joe and Bahamadia have all given you your props. How were you brought to their attention?
Dave Ghetto: Well Bahamadia and I are family. Just Blaze and I, we have people, and where Fat Joe is concerned, the label I work with let him hear the music, and he was pretty happy with what he heard. It feels good to be seen in that manner by the people that you and your peers look up to. Jazzy Jeff, he showed me some love and that is an icon right there. It’s a great feeling and it keeps me on my feet to keep doing what I am doing.
AllHipHop.com: Is there a chance that we can see you working with Blaze at some point?
Dave Ghetto: Definitely. I think he is the best in the game right now, and I look forward to that happening. Everybody is about their business, and when everyone’s business is straight, and we all get to the table, then anything is possible. That is something that I would most definitely push for.
AllHipHop.com: Do you find that East coast artists don’t encourage each other so much?
Dave Ghetto: It is hard as hell to break a new artist from what I am seeing. Philly is a big city, you can move some units, but for some of these artists to come out and not move the units, they are expected to move in their own hood, it is kind of rough. The crazy thing is that there is so much competition up here too. Even in the South, even though they are all in competition, they are all collaborating. Up here, the only time when people come together is when they are dissing someone and ganging up on someone else. I mean that’s what I think is the dope thing about Jazz, you know you had people collaborating, forming trios and quartets and it would be some of the illest people that ever played Jazz in the same quartet, with no egos, not doing it for shine but just trying to make dope music.
AllHipHop.com: But isn’t Hip-Hop an egotistical genre of music?
Dave Ghetto: Oh my God, it has to be the most egotistical. Even behind the rhymes I just look at it sometimes as people are scared for their jobs, you know both artists and people at the record labels. Record companies, A&R’s are scared to take a chance on an artist because they are scared if it doesn’t work out then that’s their job. Other artists are scared to help put other people on because they are worried that that dude might get more shine than him, so that being said you are not going to hear a lot of strong collaborations, you are more than likely going to see a lot of the same collaborations from the same group of people. When somebody says a collabo with Talib Kweli, you expect to hear a Pharaoh Monche, a Mos Def, Black Thought, you hear a Cam’ron you are going to hear the Dip Set or guys that sound like him, there is no variety, no balance, just a whole bunch of people giving that same sound all the time.