While talkative MC Dave Ghetto claims to also be an able beatmaker, he bluntly states that he has a reason to rap. "I have to be heard verbally," says Ghetto, "'cause I got a lot of shit to say."
That he does, especially when he speaks about his hometown of Camden, NJ. This town (seated across from Philly) is now, according to Morgan-Quitno Press' annual rankings, considered the most dangerous city in America. And Dave can't stay silent about this declaration. "They say Camden is the most dangerous city in the country–this shit is not City of God, though," he says. "Let's be honest. It's hard, but it ain't that hard. We got running water and lights. Although the cops is corrupt, we learn to maneuver."
Camden may not be as wild as the slums of Rio de Janeiro, but it shaped Dave Ghetto as a man and an MC. "It has taught me to make the best out of the worst," Dave says of his city.
Coming up with his Nuthouse crew in the late '90s, Dave worked hard at getting his name out and was able to release material on the premier independent labels of the time, like Fondle Em and Goodvibe. Yet Dave admits that he quickly got caught up in an elitist mentality. "You know how we get," he says. "If it ain't underground, it's garbage."
But when this perceptive MC looked around at his immediate environment and saw the people's desire to hear thug-styled rap, it actually helped him expand his horizons...and his subject matter. "All these years I was busy tryin' to find that safe medium between me being a dickhead from time to time and being somebody who's about the culture of hip-hop," he says, illuminating the balance he's achieved between conscious rhyming and real life.
On his solo debut on Miami's Counterflow records, LoveLife?, Dave does talk shit about pseudo thugs and the like. But on songs like "Hey Young World Pt. 2" (featuring Phonte and Mystic) and "Spread The Light," he balances vivid ghetto narratives with an optimistic outlook. "That just all comes from being a father, me being older, me being able to see what I've seen over the years and knowing that the way that we do things in life are not necessarily the right way," Dave explains.
While LoveLife? is often a smooth, even-tempered album, don't expect Dave to come back with a similar sound next time around–the dude won't be pigeonholed. "I'm angry right now," says Dave. "I might do a Public Enemy album one time. You never know."