The Roundhouse’s “In the Round” season allows slightly less prominent acts to perform in the iconic space by reconfiguring it into an all-seater format. That suits soft singer-songwriters, but for grime veteran Justin “Ghetts” Clarke it was an invitation to disruption. By the time an army of pals had piled onto the stage for a climactic Top 3 Selected, including his fellow rappers Kano and Scorcher, there wasn’t one seat in use and the security guards were looking decidedly flustered.
The man who taught himself to rap as a teenager in prison is now a 32-year-old elder statesman of grime who is more versatile than most. Here he marked 10 years since the release of his mixtape Ghetto Gospel by performing its many highlights with a full band and occasionally, a small choir. The collection showed him as both a fiery rhymer, shooting out words with machine gun velocity, and a sensitive soul who rapped about his fear of dying on Just Don’t Know and his admiration for his mother on Closest Thing to Heaven.
Mrs Clarke rose from her seat for a hug while her son directed his lyrics towards her. Auntie Angela also came on to sing at this heartwarming celebration of a career that is far from over.