Illinois rapper Ghetty, on the grind | Bleader

Illinois rapper Ghetty, on the grind


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Ghetty in the video for Mike Tyson
  • Ghetty in the video for "Mike Tyson"
It can be pretty tough keeping up with all the rappers making moves locally, so there's a good chance that the name "Ghetty" might not ring a bell. But as this week's Gossip Wolf details, the 25-year-old Rock Island MC is getting a lot of exposure lately, thanks to a little help from some friends in high places.

It's a long time in the making for Ghetty. He says he's been finding his feet in the rap world for five years, and counts his recent mix tape, Illst8 Music Volume 1, as a major step in the right direction. "It's not my first mix tape, but it's definitely at a different level," he says. "I'm making a lot of progress." It took about eight months to put the collection together, and it's a tribute to Ghetty's home state, right down to its name. Ghetty says the tape is about "where we're at every day, our community and our streets and whatnot." That and a love of the 90s Chicago Bulls. Illst8 Music also contains contributions from monster hit maker Wiz Khalifa and rap curiosity/viral sensation Riff Raff.

Ghetty began his relationships with those MCs during the past year: he landed a spot opening for Wiz on a stopover in Rock Island and sent Riff some beats via Twitter. Not only are both on Illst8, but Ghetty worked with them on a recent collaboration, "Dumb Shyt."

Recently Riff Raff signed to Diplo's label, Mad Decent (a pretty smart move, given that the label has a reputation for showcasing eccentric personalities in pop, hip-hop, and electronic music, and Riff is as eccentric as they come), and he may send some of his limelight Ghetty's way. Just last week Riff dropped a video for "Mike Tyson," a collab track with Ghetty and Embassy, a rapper and producer who frequently works with Ghetty. The track also uses one of the first instrumentals Ghetty sent Riff.

The trio filmed the video downtown at the Hotel Sax on March 17. Part of the reason Riff came through town was to work on a collaboration with rising local rapper Chief Keef. (Both Riff and Keef are on Soulja Boy's label, SODMG.) "We did our video and then the next day we went to Chief's grandma's house," Ghetty says. "Me and Embassy took our whole studio over there, and they made the song 'Cuz My Gear' from scratch."

Embassy recorded, mixed, and mastered the tune right there. They made the video for it too; Ghetty and Embassy make a cameo near end of the video, sitting by Keef as he raps into Embassy's microphone setup. All in all, the entire process took a few hours, and after that Ghetty drove Riff to the airport so he could catch a flight back to LA.

From left to right: Embassy, Chief Keef, and Ghetty in the Cuz My Gear video
  • From left to right: Embassy, Chief Keef, and Ghetty in the "Cuz My Gear" video

Next Friday Ghetty will fly to LA to film a few videos, one with Riff and two on his own. He's got more music on the way too; he and Riff Raff have four or five more finished but unreleased collabs, and Ghetty and Embassy are working on a new mix tape for late July or early August. Judging by the number of views "Mike Tyson" has racked up so far, Ghetty's name will be familiar to a lot more people by the time it drops.