Ghetty, born and raised in Rock Island, IL just west of Chicago, knew since age 8 that rapping was his passion; his first mixtape Illst8 Music Volume 1 features collaborations with Wiz Khalifa, Riff Raff, Lil Wyte and Emba$$y. Since 2011 Ghetty has been on his grind; traveling to expand his network, recording videos that have piled up over 2 million views and most recently released his first album Illst8 Music Volume 2 on iTunes and other online music stores.
Mechanical Dummy: Who are you and what do you create?
Ghetty: I am Ghetty and I create Illst8 music! I got my own sound that sounds like East, West, South, and Midwest rap all in one. 99% of my music is produced by Emba$$y, who I have been working with for seven years. We got real good chemistry and are always on the same page; we came from the same place so everything is just 100.
MD: Born and raised in Rock Island, IL, how did living there influence your music?
G: Living in Rock Island made me who I am. It’s a crazy area where anything can happen. The influence from the streets is crazy. A lot of us got caught up in that when were young and it heavily influenced who we are now. Luckily I was clever enough to make that influence into something productive. My older brothers introduced me to rap music when I was 7 years old so I had a head start on everyone else. I didn’t have a TV in my room, all I had was a stereo and my Walkman. When I was 8 years old I was listening to 8ball & MJG Comin’ Out Hard tape, Bone Thugs N’ Harmony’s first album, all that old shit for hours in my room all day. Now that I look back on it, I think I was studying that shit even at that young age because that’s just how my mind works. I study everything that intrigues me until I master it.
MD: What are the most exciting aspects of creating and releasing your music?
G: Man, there is so much.. From the moment I’m in the studio with Emba$$y in Illinois, he just makes a beat from scratch that’s just crazy and I know Ima kill it, to the moments when your on stage in other states and people know your lyrics better than you do, it’s all very exciting. But I also like the traveling. Spending a lot of time out in L.A. is something that I would’ve never been able to do if I didn’t rap. It was just a place we dream about going to and see in movies. It’s crazy what you can do with this shit. The sky is really the limit but it all comes down to your mind and your grind.
MD: Describe your sound in three words and why do you feel those words portray your music.
G: Unique — My music is unique because I formulated my own style and mastered it. I studied this music shit more than anyone. I can do this shit in my sleep.
Entertaining — I think music has to be entertaining because that’s what it really is anyways, a form of entertainment. People love to hear what sports references I make in my verses and how Ima flip it on ’em all crazy. I get mad feedback from my fans so I know what entertains them.
Raw — I say that because I don’t try to make my shit for the radio or try to make my shit sound like mainstream music. I make it how I like it. I drop one take and thats it on every track. I don’t go in and try touch everything up and make it perfect. I write my verse in 10 minutes and drop one take and murder it. It gives it that sort of freestyle energy where you can tell I’m basically comin’ off the top of the dome with it. Which I found out, people like.
MD: You’ve collaborated with Riff Raff, Wiz Khalifa, and Emba$$y. How did you meet them?
G: Me and Emba$$y grew up in the same area probably only lived 10 miles away from each other, my first day I ever recorded with a group of dudes that already were rapping. He was the engineer they had come through with the studio equipment and all that. He was the first person to ever record me. So right then I knew that he was the best in my area at what he does. I knew if we could combine talents it would be over with. 4 years later we teamed up officially and been moving forward ever since.
Wiz Khalifa and I met in Rock Island when a friend of mine at the time had booked him for a show, I was one of the opening acts. They hit me up to come through and hook Wiz up with some smoke and whatnot because he was staying in town for a couple nights. On the next day some features they had set up fell through, Wiz offered to throw me a feature for the super super low. Me, being a hustler, couldn’t pass that up. We dropped the track “Whip It Around” in the studio together with the producer of the track and Wiz’s boy. Later I took that verse and remixed it on “Dumb Shyt” and also threw my boy Riff Raff on the track. I was in the right place at the right time and took advantage of it.
I saw Riff Raff on YouTube rapping “ICU” video and I remembered him from MTV. When I heard his bars and his style I thought this was the most awesome thing I have ever seen. The way he was breakin’ fools off was crazy, he didn’t care what people would think. I immediately looked him up on twitter, sent him a direct message with a link to one of my songs where he replied saying he liked the song a lot (Mike Tyson) and that he would like to hop on it. Ever since then we been making songs and shooting videos all over LA and Chicago. We got like 15 videos or some shit. He has kept it real with me and even though he is getting real big right now he still finds time to fuck with me.
MD: Growing up, what and/or who inspired your music? What inspires you now?
G: My brothers showed me everything they liked, I was introduced to E40, The Click, 8ball & MJG, Dogg Pound and all that shit there’s too much to name. But there was just something inside of me that I knew, whatever I ended up doing when I grew up, I knew it would be rap music related, I was a master of this shit by 10. Now what inspires me is the competition, I am a competition fiend. I will bet you money on anything and I will beat you. I know that boys can’t do it like me and I won’t quit until I prove it to the whole world. I’m just getting started in this industry and it’s only a matter of time before I master the independent hustle.
MD: What do you think sets you apart from other rappers?
G: My grind and my intelligence. I have the business mentality, it’s not even funny it’s just in my blood. I know how to hustle and I know how to do business. I know how to make a product that consumers want to buy and I know how to market and distribute it to them easily. So the business side of my brain capitalizes on that. But obviously, the key is being able to make the product, without that A1 product it doesn’t matter how good of a grind you got, you won’t get nowhere.
MD: Name the top three things that motivate you to stay focused.
G: Money , money, and money! I don’t want to have to hustle everyday and go work a job that consumes my life. That shit is for the birds man I can only do so much of that. I’m an independent soul who has to create my own business. I guess it’s choice of lifestyle that keeps me focused and the nightmare of becoming a slave to society where I am like everyone else who works 9 to 5 still barely getting by. Fuck that, I’m not goin’. I want to have millions, be able to make sure my people I care about are taken care of. I got people depending on me. I got friends struggling with life and I always tell them “Man, just wait till I get paid we gon’ be straight and we gon’ be eating real good”. The people I grew up with are like brothers to me, they knew me as a young kid before I started rapping and I will look out for them until I die.
MD: What steps do you hope to take going forward with your music?
G: Sky is the limit man.. For now just to keep expanding my fan base like I do everyday. I have many more videos to shoot and the next step is to start booking tours from city to city. That way I can get that show money and broadcast my talents. With the music sales being down since the internet and illegal downloading took over, artists make the big money on shows and merchandise now. I have tons of fans in all states that ask me everyday when I’m coming to do a show. I’m in the process of doing that now with my manager Sean Kaiser with QC Nightlife Ent. he is working hard trying to get me booked in all these cities.
MD: What would you tell your fans as well as other people aspiring to have a career in the music industry?
G: Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t be whatever it is you want to be. If you are determined and work hard at your goals, then you will achieve them. Do what YOU want to do, not what society expects you to. Failing is a big part of learning and building character so even when you fail you are gaining something. Just keep your head up and keep pushin’. If this shit was easy everyone would be rich. Pursue whatever you are passionate about because you only have one life so you got to make the best out of it. And even though all that shit sounds cliche and corny or whatever, it is 100% true.