A performance that emphasises his stature as an all-time-great...

The story of grime's unlikely return to the spotlight has been told a thousand times, from Skepta's return to his roots on 'That's Not Me' right through to Stormzy's Glastonbury headline triumph.

Throughout this renaissance though, one legend has been strangely absent. Ghetts, your favourite MC's favourite MC, didn't enjoy the mainstream triumph that many of his contemporaries did. That changed this year with the release of 'Conflict Of Interest', his introspective masterpiece of an album, which hit Number 2 in the charts and was nominated for a slew of awards.

With this in mind, it's no surprise that excitement for his massive homecoming show at London's Roundhouse has reached fever pitch. Add the on stage tank (left over from his album campaign), orchestra and full band, and it's clear its going to be a special night.

Ghetts owns the stage the second he comes on, holding ground solo for several songs before bringing out Dizzee Rascal for his verse on 'Fire and Brimstone' and Emile Sande for her star turn on 'Sonya', a teaser of the avalanche of features to come.

It's a backloaded gig, with hits both old and new saved until the end, but the energy doesn't flag throughout. If 'Conflict of Interest' was Ghetts realising his potential as an artist, this show is him doing the same as a performer. His on stage charisma is bolstered even further by guest appearances from pretty much everyone in music. Shakka and Suspect appear to massive response, and Kano sneaking on to the guest balcony doesn't go unnoticed, with cheers erupting throughout the crowd.

An old school medley breaks up the new cuts, before Ghetts flexes his muscles and brings out Giggs and Kano in quick succession, to a biblical reception.

Ghetts announces the end of the show, leaving a 30 second pause that nobody really believes before leaping back on to prove that he isn't finished yet. A quick outfit change (which mainly involves taking his top off) and he’s ready for his victory lap. The opening of 'Skengman' rings out and Stormzy’s voice echoes throughout the Roundhouse. Even Reading Festival headliners are lining up to pay homage to one of the scenes founders, and the massive grin on both of their faces shows they'd be having just as much fun if nobody had turned up.

Finishing with the sucker punch of 'Mozambique' (of course featuring a swaggering Jaykae), Ghetts has pushed his set to a full two hours in the city he calls home. He leaves stage for the final time, free to bask in well earned adulation. Almost 20 years in the game, and Ghetts once again proves that he's one of the best to ever do it.

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Words: Jake Hawkes


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