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Ghetts: We shouldn’t blame drill artists for reflecting their environment

Grime rapper Ghetts at the Ivor Novello Songwriting Awards in London (Ian West/PA)
Grime rapper Ghetts at the Ivor Novello Songwriting Awards in London (Ian West/PA)

Ghetts has said that drill artists should not be blamed for using violent lyrics because they are only “reflecting their environment”.

The grime artist and Ivor Novello award nominee said the controversial style of music, often associated with knife crime and youth violence, offered an insight into deprived areas of Britain.

However, he warned that drill’s lyrics had become a scapegoat to distract from the social issues behind the music.

The London artist has previously predicted that drill would become a vehicle for UK talent, as grime did a decade ago.

He told the Press Association: “If you are a true reflection of your environment and you are a true artist, and you are reflecting your environment, you couldn’t really be judged for that.

“All these people who feel like these kids are inciting all of this stuff, let’s help change their environment. As older people, I feel the media always uses the music as a scapegoat.

“It’s the easiest thing to do but nobody’s really willing to get on the ground level and do some groundwork to change the environment.”

Great Escape Festival 2017
Ghetts performs at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton (Victoria Jones/PA)

The rapper, real name Justin Clarke, will play at the inaugural The Ends festival in Lloyd Park in Croydon, south London, alongside acts including Nas, Damian Marley, Kojo Funds and J Balvin.

He admitted to using lyrics as a young man that he would not use now but accepted that they reflected his reality at the time.

He added: “I guarantee if you make some of these areas (better) these lyrics won’t exist. It’s impossible.

“Even when I listen back to some of my old music, and this is why I could never ever be judgmental, listening to my earlier music I’m like, ‘Ooft, I said that?’

“And I’m realising, you know what, that’s where I was at that time. That was a reflection of my reality.

“Do I sound like that now? I don’t because luckily for me, I survived a lot of stuff that was going on around me.

“Now I’ve got to see things from a different perspective so my music sounds different because it is a true reflection of my life.”

IAMDBB, Nao, Wizkid, Donae’o, De La Soul and Kojey Radical will also appear at the three-day event.

The Ends festival runs from Friday May 31 until Sunday June 2.

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