True Ghetto Story
Cham: â€œIf you check Boyz N Da Hood, ah the same way L.A. run. That's every ghetto. And that won't end unless we deal with it. It's a part of our history and the story have to be told for us to know where we are and where we're going."
The last 12 months have been incredibly hectic for Cham.
After scoring a hit song with â€œGhetto story,â€? last summer, everybody has wanted a peace of him. From collaborations with Alicia Keys and Mario amongst other artists, to appearances on BETâ€™s Rap city and Hot97, Cham has constantly been on the move. He also made a special appearance in Londonâ€™s Nottinghill gate carnival.
Drawing inspiration from daily life in their troubled homeland, Jamaican artist Cham and The Stranger created a dancehall masterpiece called "Ghetto Story" which hit the streets like a bomb at the end of 2005, Jamaica's bloodiest year on record with over 1,600 slain.
Blending the vivid street narrative with trenchant political analysis and Cham's emotional delivery, "Ghetto Story" became an instant classic, summing up all the pain and loss. "You can't say we're inciting violence," says Cham. "It's just a memory. If I grow up any different I would have a nicer memory." Every street dance, country bus, and radio seemed to be blasting Madhouse's nasty new digital throwback riddim, the "85," and the number-one tune for this year and next was Cham's "survival story."
Neither glorifying nor preaching against violence, "Ghetto Story" coldly examines the root causes behind the chronic brutality that has plagued Jamaica for the last 30 years. "And when you check it," says Cham, "it's not just Jamaica. If you check the movie City of God, ah the same way Brazil run. If you check New Jack City, ah the same way New York run.
If you check Boyz N Da Hood, ah the same way L.A. run. That's every ghetto. And that won't end unless we deal with it. It's a part of our history and the story have to be told for us to know where we are and where we're going."
Born and raised in Kingston Jamaica, young Damian Beckett survived his share of rough times along the way from Sherlock Crescent to Waterhouse. Cham began working with Madhouse Productions in the nineties and created their fare share of hardcore classics like "Many Many," "Boom Tune," and "Man and Man," which were collected on his impeccable 2000 debut album Wow: The Story.
But at the time, so little was expected from dancehall and they struggled to cross over.Â But any such doubts were laid to rest in 2003 by Cham's crossover hit "Vitamin S," a boisterous bedroom boast bouncing to the beat of Madhouse's irresistible "Fiesta" riddim.Â
If you look at any ghetto you will find lots of different stories. Those of loss and triumph, happiness and sadness. Cham recognizes how important it is that the Ghetto Story be heard. "You have so many kids in the ghetto who want to tell their stories," says the DJ. "And we have a medium, so it's our point of duty to tell that story and let that story be heard."
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