Volume 93, Issue 42

Friday, November 12, 1999


Weekend pass

Gryner comes full circle with latest release

Danko doesn't apologize for hardcore narcissism

Maxim just wants you to get laid

Ghetto rising up from the streets

Les Savy Fav keep on the up and up

Ghetto rising up from the streets

By Luke Rundle
Gazette Staff

Apparently, Ghetto Concept hold to the old maxim that slow and steady wins the race.

When the Toronto rap duo received their second straight Juno award for Best Rap Recording in 1995, it was assumed they would finally get the break they so richly deserved – a spot at a major label. However, when no offers came, Kwajo and Dolo decided to take matters into their own hands and create their own label, Seven Bills Entertainment.

Their self-titled full length debut soon followed early in 1999 and the success of its first single, "Precious Metals," leads many to believe Ghetto Concept is poised to rise to higher levels.

Kwajo is only too happy to concur his arena is considered the low man on the Canadian music totem pole, in relation to other genres which seem to receive more media play.

"What it all comes down to is that the art isn't getting the industry support. I mean, everybody's putting out their records independently, on basically their own budget, but there's only so much you can do yourself," Kwajo states. "You can have the hottest product in the world, but if people don't know that it's out there because it's not marketed properly, it's not gonna roll and that's what we lack in Canada – the marketing power."

However, underdog status is nothing new for the duo. Instead, it actually serves as the background for their material. "A ghetto's an area where a so-called minority reside, due to social, economic or political pressure. That's the kind of situation [where] we were brought up – where we grew up," Dolo says. "It's just a montage-collage of what we go through, reality. That's our ghetto concept – just everyday livin' life."

After everything, Ghetto Concept has gone through in their pursuit to bring their music to a widespread audience, one would think a certain amount of bitterness directed at the industry would remain with the duo. While they do concede there was a level of disgruntlement, they insist this adversity has only served to make their resolve stronger.

"Yeah [there was bitterness], but it's really a give-and-take kind of situation," Dolo explains. "I mean, at first, we were bitter because they weren't recognizing the real. C'mon, if an artist in America had won a Grammy, let alone two back-to-back, they're signed. It's a done deal, a no-brainer. What it comes down to is that we got the experience, the know-how out of it and we can't be mad, because nothing good comes if you don't got to struggle for it. Bottom line is that we're gonna get ours, regardless."

The group certainly seems to be on the right track. Having signed two new artists, Seven Bills Entertainment is coming out with a label compilation early next year. "[It's just the] same old struggles, same old hustle, more videos, more music, just keep comin' with it," Kwajo states.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999