Sitting in Relentless' studio on Denmark Street, one thing is perfectly clear: Ghetts and Rude Kid aren't concerned about time constraints or going over every nook and cranny to make the perfect track. It's not because they can't be bothered, it's because the confidence they have in their ability as MC and producer remains at an all-time high. That's pretty evident when discussing their upcoming #SixFiveThree EP, which is essentially six tracks recorded in the space of five days, accompanied by three music videos. Buzzing off his own energy, Rude Kid's zipping about the tiny confines of the studio on his Swegway, whilst a chilled Ghetts is egging me on to try out the motorized hoverboard. Honest as always, he admits: "I just wanna see you drop on your face [laughs]."
Amongst those shenanigans, you'd think that they didn't have a deadline to keep. But, by all accounts, this isn't the first time these two have worked together—we were first properly introduced to Rude Kid on Ghetts' "Sing For Me" single (2008) and then his Calm Before The Storm mixape (2010). Since then, they've had an excellent understanding of each other in the studio. As a producer, Rudes is now among the scene's elite, and everyone and their mother knows Ghetts is a top-quality lyricist. Taking a break from their studio session, the friends-in-grime run Complex through the process of making a five-day EP, how they bring out the best in each other, and the impact of the mainstream's recent awareness of the grime scene.
This isn't the first time you two have worked together. Most notably, you [Rude Kid] produced "Sing For Me" for Ghetts in 2008. What keeps bringing you two back together?
Rude Kid: We haven't really worked together in ages, since "Sing For Me". I was working on a tune for his album and when he was in my house, I was playing him some other tunes and he liked the style of them so it made sense to do a project. My tunes, they just make him write.
Ghetts: There's not many people who can do the dark-side production well in grime. I don't really like all that happy, bubbly stuff—I like it mad dark, and Rude Kid does that well. He makes beats that provoke my writing so, for me, he's easy to work with.
Run through the #SixFiveThree concept for us. From what I know, you guys are making six tracks in just five days?
RK: Yeah, that, and we'll be making three music videos as well. Ghetts is the real genius here, though, I'm not even gonna lie [laughs]. We've had a few mad arguments, but when it comes to him to deliver on the job, not many people can do write sick tunes in such a short amount of time. For me, as a producer, I can give you beats on the day—that's just 50% of the job. This EP, a lot of people are gonna be singing along to them lyrics. It's just mad how he wrote it bare quick!
G: In one day, fam.
That's pretty insane. If time wasn't an issue, how long would you normally take on a track?
RK: It might take long because, you have to remember, I'm working on an album and he's working on a new Fuck Radio series and a new album as well. We've had to put everything on hold for this project, otherwise we wouldn't have been as focused. It would've taken ages. I'll be honest.
G: It's better with the deadline. Also, we didn't wanna do that whole thing where we get people excited and say we're working on something and not have it ready for them. We just wanted to be on point—from the time you get the news that we're working on something, the gap between is literally a week.
Due to the limited timeframe, is there a fear that the end product might not reflect the usual high standards?
RK: We know that this project is gonna be hype, and we know that we don't need any special promotion. Sometimes, people hype their own project so much that, when it comes out, they end up being disappointed and the fan might like one or two tunes. We're so confident that every tune is sick and it doesn't need that six-week push. We're just like, "Look! Here you go. We've done a project." If you're a Rude Kid or Ghetts fan, you're gonna like this.
When you see a middle-class mum like Myleene Klass talking about grime, how does it make you feel?
G: She's saying she likes grime because it's the cool thing to do right now, but we all know she doesn't really listen to grime.
RK: She probably thinks Calvin Harris is grime [laughs].
G: But at the same time, it's like, awareness is a great thing. So when you're saying you listen to grime, I know me and you aren't talking about the same thing. But awareness is a great thing and a powerful tool, so it's weird—it's a double-edged sword. If you say that, and someone who really listens to grime asks, "Yeah, what grime?" and you say "Tinie Tempah"—and you're talking to a real grime fan—that conversation is going to get very political [laughs].
Ghetts, as someone who's been in so many clashes, is there one where you thought: "That was worth the hassle"?
G: The Boy Better Know one. It's legendary. Looking back at it now, we were really going at it.
What was it that compelled you to just throw yourself out there and take them on?
G: I'm a person who understands characteristics very well. I look at the scene and I see different characters and people who work hard. Some people don't have to work as hard as others, and that's not a problem. But for me, to thrive in this culture and get my just dos and the respect that I deserve, I have to stand next to an MC that everyone likes and say: "Look! I'm better than him—can you hear the difference now? Safe. Now give me what I deserve."
You seem to have a me against the world mentality—where do you think that comes from?
G: It comes from a genuine frustration. Most MCs think like that as well, though. There's always someone sitting there with plans for someone. They're just looking at the chessboard and thinking, "What's the right move?" Or, an emcee's thinking: "I don't really like my man."
As an artist, is it better to be feared or respected?
G: To play the business game, I would say respected. It would be smarter to know that you have everyone onside, and that would be cool. But I just know when you get to a certain age, you just know who you are. Imagine if you know who you are and you know who everyone else is? So bearing that in mind, you know what do, when to do it, and how to do it. I could be cool if I wanted to be, but everyone's gonna be pushing buttons based on the character they think that I am, so then what actually happens is I just get drawn out. But it's been calm these days [laughs].
Ghetts and Rude Kid's #SixFiveThree EP hits iTunes on Nov. 20.